30 Lonesome Dove Quotes From This Epic Western Narrative

Whether you’re a fan of the miniseries or the novel, there’s no doubt you’ll find your favorites in this collection of Lonesome Dove quotes.

Lonesome Dove is the first novel of a series written by Larry McMurtry. It was later adapted into a miniseries starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, portraying Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

They are two famous former Texas Rangers who couldn’t be any more opposite from each other. Gus is a widower and a womanizer, while Call is a workaholic with a strict work ethic.

On their journey to herd cattle from Texas to Montana, they learn valuable life lessons applicable to people of any gender and age. They teach us about living life fully, embracing the present, and honoring our words.

Let’s join their journey and learn the same lessons they did! We’ve got the best quotes from Gus McCrae, Woodrow Call, and even the novel’s author himself, so read on!

And don’t forget to check out these Yellowstone quotes.

Best Lonesome Dove Quotes

1. “What’s good for me may not be good for the weak-minded.” – Augustus McCrae

2. “Woodrow, you just don’t ever get the point. It’s not dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” – Augustus McCrae

3. ”Better to have that and not need it than need it and not have it.” – Captain Woodrow F. Call

4. “Yesterday’s gone on down the river, and you can’t get it back.” – Augustus McCrae

5. “I guess this’ll teach me to be careful about what I promise in the future.” – Captain Woodrow F. Call

6. “They don’t know it, but the wrath of the Lord is about to descend on ‘em.” – Augustus McCrae

7. “You see, life in San Francisco is still just life. If you want any one thing too badly, it’s likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things—like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.” – Lorena Wood

8. “The older the violin, the sweeter the music.” – Augustus McCrae

9. “Besides a whiskey, I think we will require a little respect. If you care to turn around, you will see what we looked like when we was younger, and the people around her wanted to make us senators. What we didn’t put up with back then was doddlin’ service, and as you can see, we still don’t put up with it.” – Augustus McCrae

Famous Lonesome Dove Quotes

10. “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” – Captain Woodrow F. Call

11. “It’s been quite a party, ain’t it?” – Augustus McCrae

12. “Here’s to the sunny slopes of long ago.” – Augustus McCrae

13. “What are you talkin’ about? You don’t even like money. You like money even less than you like fun, if that’s possible.” – Augustus McCrae

14. “You know how it works, Jake. You ride with the outlaw, you die with the outlaw. Sorry, you crossed the line.” – Augustus McCrae

15. “I won’t say I did, and I won’t say I didn’t, but I will say that a man who wouldn’t cheat for a poke don’t want one bad enough.” – Augustus McCrae

Deep Lonesome Dove Lines on Life and Death

16. “Live through it; that’s all we can do.” – Captain Woodrow F. Call

17. “The best thing you can do for death is ride off from it.” – Captain Woodrow F. Call

18. “Talk’s the way to kill it. Anything gets boring if you talk about it enough, even death.” – Augustus McCrae

Funny Lonesome Dove Quotes

19. “Men who didn’t know how to get on and off a horse would not be much use around a cow outfit.” – Augustus McCrae

20. “I’m just tryin’ to keep everything in balance, Woodrow. You do more work than you got to, so it’s my obligation to do less.” – Augustus McCrae

21. Captain Woodrow F. Call: “‘I’m as American as the next.”

Augustus McCrae: “You were born in Scotland.”

Lonesome Dove Quotes About Love From the Novel

22. “Occasionally, the very youngness of the young moved him to charity—they had no sense of the swiftness of life nor of its limits. The years would pass like weeks, and love would pass too, or else grow sour.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

23. “Gus felt such love for Lorie that even speaking her name caused him to feel weak sometimes.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

24. “I think it’s a sickness to grieve too much for those who never cared a fig for you.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

More Lonesome Dove Quotes From the Book

25. “It’s a fine world, though rich in hardships at times.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

26. “The whole point of loyalty was not to change: stick with those who stuck with you.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

27. “Better by far never to have known the pleasure than to have the pain that followed.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

28. “The other men were easy to talk to, but they didn’t know anything. If one stopped to think about it, it was depressing how little most men learned in their lifetimes.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

29. “From him to the stars—in all directions—there was only silence and emptiness.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

30. “If you only come face to face with your own mistakes once or twice in your life, it’s bound to be extra painful. I face mine every day—that way, they ain’t usually much worse than a dry shave.” – Larry McMurtry, Author

What Did You Pick Up From Gus and Call’s Journey?

Lonesome Dove incorporates everything that the West has to offer. It tells a tale of heroes, legends, outlaws, Indians, and more.

However, beyond these things, there are also lots to learn from Gus and Call’s contrasting personalities. On the one hand, we have Gus, a grown man who has yet to settle down, and on the other, we have Call, a serious and stoic man who’s opposed to recalling his past mistakes.

From Gus McCrae’s standpoint, it’s all about living life to the fullest, quenching your thirst for adventure, and following your heart. While this mindset is admirable, we must keep ourselves in check and be mindful of how our actions affect others.

We should also live by Woodrow Call’s example in some way. He was determined, was a man of his word, and never let himself wallow too much in the past.

Though too much of anything could be harmful, his values are still life lessons we should all keep in mind as we journey through life. All in all, both Gus and Call have some relevant nuggets of wisdom we can all live by.

Whether you prefer the novel or the miniseries, there’s no doubt the story and its lessons are worth remembering. Watch out for them when you revisit Lonesome Dove’s novel, miniseries, or quotes!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.