The next morning, Jake wishes he could sleep for days and avoid all decisions, but the time to leave has come. Lorie looks beautiful; Jake thinks that if they do make it to San Francisco, wealthy men might pay for her. He takes some of her money to buy her a horse and muses that the joke will be on Gus when he discovers Lorie’s independent spirit. As Lorie packs her few belongings, Xavier knocks on the door. He weeps and says that if she leaves, he will burn the Dry Bean down. He promises her everything he can think of, but she refuses him. So he begs her for sex one last time, crying during the act, and she hides the large amount of money he pays her from Jake.
Late in the afternoon, Jake and Lorie ride into the camp by the Hat Creek outfit. Gus is amazed because Lorie is wearing pants—Jake’s idea. Her presence upsets the men right away. Call is furious, Gus amused. Lorie sees how uneasy Jake is around Call. Gus helps Lorie dismount, which reminds Jake that Gus is still his rival.
Bol still has not decided whether to join the drive. He does not care for travel, but his daughters will soon be married, and then there will be nothing but his bitter wife at home. He might end up killing her.
The crew eats, but Jake has no taste for the food. He is unhappy with how things are turning out. Sean sings sad songs, and Newt looks with longing toward Lorie, who feels the men watching her. Jake tells Gus that they will travel with the herd till Denver, making their own camp. Pea makes plans to sleep with his unsheathed knife as they travel; his fears of Indians trouble his dreams. Call announces that the drive will begin in the morning, and Newt wonders: How far is north?
Analysis, Chapters 20–22
In these chapters readers see Lorena’s personality begin to emerge. Before, she has been the tool of men; now she begins to try to shape her own destiny, to the amusement of Gus, the annoyance of Call, and the alarm of Jake. Lorie’s profound effect on men is on full display: Xavier weeps when she leaves, and her mere presence near the crew disturbs everyone. Yet despite how easily Gus’s courtesy to Lorie upstages Jake’s treatment of her, Jake pretends mightily that he is still in charge, making the decisions about where they will go and what they will do.
Another hand has arrived—Soupy Jones, from Bastrop, an old buddy of Jake. Now that the departure is upon them, Gus experiences a nostalgic longing for Lonesome Dove. The well is not finished; he will have to leave his sourdough behind. Bol, too, worries—if he leaves Texas, will he ever see Mexico again?
On the way to town for supplies, Gus comes across Lorie cooking over a meager fire and Jake, out of sorts, picking a thorn out of his thumb. Gus is amused that Jake has finally been caught by “a young whore from Alabama”; he admires Lorie’s determination to get to San Francisco.
Gus pries his sign off the Hat Creek outfit’s gate and goes to the saloon to say goodbye to Xavier; he advises the depressed, unshaven Xavier to ride to San Antonio and bring back another whore. But Xavier is inconsolable. He was certain that Lorena’s intelligence would one day have turned to him. He should have left his business behind and taken her to California. He asks Gus to tell Lorena that he will come for her should Jake die.
When Gus leaves the saloon, he finds Lippy in the wagon, ready to hire on, though not without misgivings. One never knows when one leaves, he points out, when one will return.
Call puts Lippy in charge of the remuda and assigns Deets the role of scout as the crew checks gear and prepares to leave. Dish fantasizes saving Lorie from dangers on the trail and thus winning her love. Call seeks solitude to think about the trip, and Gus, used to his friend’s habits, points out the irony of two lawmen driving a stolen herd north. He wryly predicts that Call will one day be governor of Montana.
As they leave, Call puts Dish and Soupy on point, irritating Bert and Needle, and assigns the Spettles to help Lippy with the remuda. The rest of the crew rides behind the herd of about 2,600 cattle, and the blue pigs decide to trot alongside. The cattle are wild and not used to herds yet; strung out over a mile, they require constant supervision. On the first day of the drive, such dense dust plagues the crew that Newt almost loses a group of cattle in it. They ride through thorny mesquite because the route is shorter and keeps them away from the mosquito-ridden coast.
Having planned and begun the drive, Call now feels uncertain why he did so. Gus says that he hopes the drive is challenging enough to keep Call happy. Call, he claims, should have died in the line of duty because he does not know how to live.
Analysis, Chapters 23–25
The final chapters of Part 1 describe the crew assignments that Call makes, provoking pride in some men and jealousy in others and setting the stage for interpersonal conflicts during the drive. It also reveals the crew’s thoughts on the eve of the drive, in particular those of Call and Gus. Readers see Call’s doubts about the undertaking and Gus’s fondness for the home he has in Texas. The fact that each man is aware of the other’s thoughts indicates how close their friendship is, despite the outward show of disagreement that the crew witnesses daily.