(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In Streets of Laredo, Larry McMurtry completes the story of Captain Woodrow Call. As he is dying, Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove warns his friend Call that their time has passed. In Streets of Laredo, McMurtry takes up Call’s story some twenty years later. Captain Call is a legend in the West, a hero honored for helping make the border region of Texas and Mexico safe for settlers. The legend hides the reality that Call is now a bounty hunter, hired by the wealthy capitalists that he once despised. The legend also obscures the fact that Call is a small, frail, old man who removes the trigger guard from his rifle so that he can get his swollen, arthritic fingers on the trigger.

The story opens in San Antonio, when Call is hired by a railroad owner to hunt down Joey Garza, a train robber and psychopathic killer. Calls summons his old comrade, Pea Eye Parker, who farms in the Texas Panhandle and who is married to Lorena Wood. Pea Eye refuses to join Call. After thirty years of responding to Call’s every order, Pea Eye stuns Call by placing his family ahead of his loyalty to the captain.

Word quickly spreads through the Rio Grande valley that Captain Call is hunting Garza. Tension mounts along the border as people wonder where the killer will strike next. Pea Eye Parker feels guilty for leaving Call to face Garza. He moves south to join Call. Shortly after this, Lorena learns that Call is not only chasing Garza but also...

(The entire section is 476 words.)