Special Sub-Topic: Comanche Moon
|The book opens in a place familiar to us from "Dead Man's Walk". Where is it?|
The edge of the Palo Duro Canyon. The Rangers, commanded by Inish Scull, are on the trail of Kicking Wolf, who had run off twenty horses from a ranch near Albany.
"'Kicking Wolf's never been caught, and the Captain's never been run off from,' Gus said. 'That's going to change, for one of them. Who would you bet on, Woodrow, if we were to wager - Old Nails, or Kicking Wolf?'"
|What is the Comanche, Kicking Wolf's, claim to fame?|
He is the best horse thief. Kicking Wolf would prepare for days before raiding a horse herd, emptying his body of smells, and studying the herd to see which horse to approach first.
"He prepared carefully, but mainly it was his grace, his ability to move without sound, that enabled him to go into a herd of strange horses at night and not alarm them. He wanted to be able to move close to the horses and stroke them - he wanted the stroking to begin before the horse was even aware that a man was there."
|From what tribe is the scout, Famous Shoes?|
Kickapoo. Famous Shoes is one of my favorite McMurtry characters.
"He moved fast, and yet no one ever saw him moving fast, a thing Call marvelled at. Sometimes he responded to questions and sometimes he didn't - but even if he chose to answer a given question, the answer would usually lay a little sideways to the question as it had been phrased."
|In this book we meet the villain of "Lonesome Dove", Blue Duck. Who are Blue Duck's parents?|
Buffalo Hump and a Mexican captive. "Buffalo Hump had fathered the boy on a Mexican captive named Rosa, a beautiful but troublesome woman who persisted in trying to escape....The winter after the boy was born she escaped again, taking the young baby with her."
Buffalo Hump pursued her, but by the time he found her, she had frozen to death. The boy, however, was still alive.
|Maudy Clark is a white woman, who was stolen, along with her children, by the Comanche when her husband was away. She knows what her husband's reaction will be. How will he react?|
He will be outraged, and not accept her back if she is rescued. Maudy knows her husband will not come after them. "William barely had the competence to raise a small crop and gather a few livestock; he would never be able to follow their trail from the brush country to the empty plains."
She also knows that if she IS rescued, it will make no difference. "Many men on the frontier made it clear to their wives that they would not be accepted back, if they were taken and allowed themselves to survive. Of course, some men wavered and took their wives back anyway, but William Clark had nothing but scorn for such men. A woman who had lain with a Comanche, or any Indian, could not again hope to be a respectable wife.
"So Maudy knew she was lost - she had been nursing little Sal when the braves burst in. It was a moment of deep peace, her last. She was caught before she could reach the pistol. That night, when Tana began his outraging, Maudy knew that her life with William Clark was lost and gone. William would not think her worth recovery."
The Rangers rescue Maudy and her remaining children, but she has lost her wits, (no wonder!) and never recovers them.
|When the Rangers return to Austin from the Northern Expedition, Gus has news for Clara. When Scull decided to follow the Buffalo Horse into Mexico, he promoted both Gus and Call to Captain. Clara also has news for Gus. What is it?|
She has decided to marry Bob Allen. "'I wasn't meant for waiting and wondering, Gus,' she said. 'It was making me an old woman before my time. Bob Allen's no cavalier. He'll never have your dash - I know that. But I'll always know where he is - I won't have to be wondering'".
|What happens to Pearl Coleman, Long Bill's wife, in the Comanche raid on Austin?|
She is raped, and shot with arrows. "(Maggie) heard sobbing from up the street, and saw Pearl Coleman, completely naked and with four arrows sticking out of her, walking around in circles, sobbing....'Oh, Mag,' Pearl said. 'They got me down before I could run. They got me down. My Bill, he won't want me now...if he gets back alive he'll be ashamed of me and put me out.'"
Although Long Bill does not put her out, his shame and confusion and unhappiness at what happened to her eventually leads him to take his own life.
|Three Birds is given a choice at Ahumado's camp - the pit or the cage. Which does he choose?|
Neither - he steps off the edge of the cliff. "'You are stupid men,'(Three Birds) said. 'A child could fool you. Now Big Horse Scull is coming, and he is not a child. I imagine he will kill you both, and then you will not be skinning people and putting them in cages.'
"Three Birds saw, out of the corner of his eye, one of the dark men sneaking toward him along the cliff edge....(he) decided he had lectured the two bandits long enough - somewhere behind him in the air, the spirits hovered, like doves. He began to cry out his death song and stepped backward off the cliff."
Another favorite character of mine, this quiet man came along to Mexico with Kicking Wolf, to certain death. He never lost his dignity, though.
|Is Kicking Wolf killed by Ahumado and his men?|
no. When Kicking Wolf and Three Birds get to Ahumado's country, they offer the Buffalo Horse to him. He accepts, dismissively, and takes Three Birds captive. Kicking Wolf, however, is dragged behind a horse, until Scull finds him and sets him free.
|When Scull is first put into the cage by Tudwal, he tries to fool him into making a mistake. It works - he manages to kill Tudwal, and escape, briefly. In what way does Scull fool Tudwal?|
He sings to him. Tudwal indeed proves "susceptible to Harvard charm" - Scull sings "Barbara Allen" to him, and Tudwal lets his guard down for just that fatal second.
|The Rangers are on their way to Mexico, to rescue Scull. They know nothing of the great Camanche raid that is taking place behind them, in the settled areas. How do they find out about the raid?
From a bear hunter. Ben Lily ("he's deadly on bears") with his dog, Howler, gives them some bear meat, and tells them of the raid.
"'Go east, ' he told them. 'See how many dead you find. There's dead along ever creek. I don't know how many men he came with but he struck Austin and nearly burned it down. This wasn't just a few scalp hunters. Buffalo Hump came for war, and he made it.'"
|Who goes with Buffalo Hump all the way to the Great Water?|
Worm. Buffalo Hump sends the main party of warriors back to their homes in small parties, so the whites won't know which party to chase. He goes on to the Big Water (the Gulf of Mexico) with only Worm, the old Medicine Man. Worm does not like the water, though - "'I like the land - it doesn't move,' Worm said. 'This water sighs like a woman who is sad.'"
|Scull worries Ahumado by scratching something on the cliff wall, through the bars of his cage. Ahumado thinks that this may be the behaviour of a witch. What does Scull scratch on the cliff wall?|
Quotes from Homer. "He had put the words of a Greek on the face of a cliff in Mexico. It was a victory, of sorts, over the high air and the old dark man. The words had calmed him - the fowl of the air had come back to perch on his cage. Another night or two, maybe he would file through the rawhide bindings and climb the rope. This night, though, he curled up against the chill and slept, while, far below, the Mexican campfires glittered, bright as the campfires of old Troy."
|As the Rangers head south to round up a thousand cattle to ransom Scull, they approach the town of Lonesome Dove. Gus sees something blue in the river. What is it?|
A pig. "'But Captain," Gus said, appalled by his mistake. 'Whoever heard of a blue pig? I ain't.'
...'That's a French pig, sir,' he said. 'She's silvery in the main, though I suppose she does look bluish in certain lights. She comes from the region of the Dordogne, I believe. In France they use pigs to root up truffles, but you'll find very few damn truffles in this part of the world - so mainly she roots up snakes.'"
These, of course, are the blue pigs that follow the herd north, in "Lonesome Dove".
|When Ahumado sees the bite in his leg from "the spider who hides", he feels that he is getting a message. From whom?
Parrot. "It was hard to know why Parrot would have the Spider Who Hides bite him - but the evidence was there. When Ahumado bent over he could smell the rot, and he knew it would get worse. Soon he might have no leg; he might merely have a bone where the leg had been. The flesh of his leg would rot and turn black. Parrot liked to joke - what had happened might only be Parrot's joke. Parrot was older than humans, and had no respect for them. He was capable of complicated jokes, too. The whites had always called Ahumado the Black Vaquero ... so now Parrot had sent Spider Who Hides to make his leg black. It was one of Parrot's jokes, probably. The Black Vaquero would at least have a black leg."
|Years have passed, Buffalo Hump is now old and sick. The young men no longer respect him, and he is thinking of going away. There is one young man, however, whom Buffalo Hump has much respect for. Who is it?|
Quanah. Quanah, the leader of the Antelope band, is of course a historical figure. He was the son of Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a white captive. She had lived with the Comanche for 24 years. When recaptured and taken back into white society, she never adapted to it.
Quanah Parker led the last band of free Comanche.
|Idahi is a Comanche who does not want to go in to the reservation. He decides to join Blue Duck's band of renegades, instead. However, once he gets there, he sees something that makes him realize he cannot join these men. What is it?
They are treating a bear disrespectfully. Idahi can't stand to see the bear tied and taunted, and kept as a pet. He decides he must kill it, and leave the renegade camp. "It seemed to him that he ought to do what he could to see that a great animal such as a bear was treated in a dignified manner, even if it meant his own death."
The torturing of the captives doesn't bother him at all!
|How does Buffalo Hump die?|
Blue Duck kills him. Buffalo Hump has gone off to the place of the Black Rocks to die, when Blue Duck and two of his renegades catch up to him. They wake him up from his death sleep, and thrust his lance through his hump. In this way, the old prediction, that he will be killed by a lance through the hump, comes true.
|Gus, Call, Pea Eye and Deets have followed Blue Duck far out onto the llano, when Call is shot by a buffalo gun. Where is he hit?|
He isn't, it just hits his boot heel. Call thinks that he is badly hit, as his leg has no feeling. Upon investigation, however, they find that his boot heel was hit by the bullet and blown to pieces; it was the shock that numbed his leg.
|When Kicking Wolf comes upon the four Rangers limping home, he sees that they have only one mule left for him to steal. Does he take it?|
no. Dancing Rabbit pesters Kicking Wolf to steal the mule, just so he can see how it's done. Kicking Wolf goes up to the mule in the night, to show the young man, and himself, that he's still 'got it'. However, he disdains stealing a mule only a few miles from the place where he once stole the Buffalo Horse.
When they wake in the morning, the Rangers see Kicking Wolf's tracks and know he could have stolen the mule, and killed them all.
"'How's this for a scandal, Woodrow?' (Gus) said. 'We didn't get our man, and now we've sunk so low that a Comanche won't even steal our mule. I guess that means the fun's over.'
'It may be over, but it wasn't fun,' Call said, looking at the long dry distance that still waited to be crossed."
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