Lonesome Dove by Shannon Stirnweis

Name: Lonesome Dove | Artist: Shannon Stirnweis Media: Oil on canvas mounted on wood panel | Year(s): 1985
Shannon Stirnweis | Lonesome Dove | 1985 | Oil on canvas mounted on wood panel | The Wittliff Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University

About the Work

Commissioned by the book publisher Simon & Schuster, Shannon Stirnweis’ painting graced the original cover of the 1985 publication of Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove. Having produced several book covers for Western literary authors like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour, Stirnweis was familiar with the process of drawing inspiration from the novel for his imagery. In this painting, Stirnweis illustrates the tent and campsite Gus assembled for Lorie after she was abandoned by her travel partner, Jake Spoon. Crouched in the far left corner of the composition is Blue Duck, the notorious bandit from Gus and Call’s Texas Ranger days. The scene foreshadows the impending danger of Lorie’s kidnapping and the ensuing hardships Gus will endure to rescue her. Trailing in the background is the ongoing adventure of Captain Call and his cattle drive as they remain steadfast in their journey to Montana.