Production designer Cary White writes, “Physical space describes character,” and he tried to give all the characters some special place of their own. The spring house, a small lumpy adobe building, offers a little cool relief from the heat if one is willing to fight the black widow spiders, yellow jackets and centipedes living there. The moisture from a former spring makes only enough mud to cool a jug Gus shares with Jake.
Jake, Gus’s drinking companion, triggers the action of the story when he returns to Lonesome Dove after accidently shooting a man and is running from the law. He proposes they make money running cattle to Montana. Later, Jake Spoon falls in with the Suggs brothers who steal horses and kill their farmer owners for sport. Caught by Call and Gus, the former Rangers prepare to hang them including Jake. When Jake objects and tries to recall their friendship, Gus tells him, “Ride with an outlaw, die with him . . . I’m sorry you crossed the line . . . .” Jake responds, “I never seen no line, Gus. I was just trying to get to Kansas, without getting scalped . . . .”