Jake Spoon


Jake Spoon

Jake Spoon is a fictional Texas Ranger appearing in two books of the Lonesome Dove series.

Comanche Moon

Jake's first chronological appearance in the books is in Comanche Moon, which was actually the last book published. Though Jake is a member of the Rangers as the book begins, he is not on the mission that begins the book. While his friends Augustus "Gus" McCrae, Woodrow F. Call, Pea Eye Parker and Joshua Deets are with their captain, Inish Scull, Jake is left behind to take care of his wife, Inez Scull. Inez subjects him to her usual treatment for local men while her husband is away, making him a sex slave. After cutting his hair, however, she suddenly finds him less attractive, and loses all interest in him. Sadly, her initial interest ruined any chances Jake has of a relationship with her maid, who had developed an interest in him.

He subsequently signs on, when Gus and Call return, to be part of their mission to find Inish Scull; who had set off with Famous Shoes to find his captured horse, Hector; and bring him back to Austin at the behest of his wife and of Governor Elisha Pease. However, when their quest takes them to the small border town of Lonesome Dove, Gus and Woodrow decide to leave him, Pea Eye Parker and Joshua Deets behind and find Scull themselves.

Jake continues to serve with the Rangers for several more years. Soon after their return to Austin, Maggie Tilton gives birth to Newt, her illegitimate son by Cpt. Woodrow F. Call. His birth puts a severe strain on her relationship with Call, as he refuses to acknowledge the boy as his own. Though he treats the boy well, he does not act like a father to him. Jake ends up taking that role, going so far as to spend most of his nights in Maggie's room. This ends up straining his relationship with Woodrow, who begins to resent him for moving in with Maggie, despite his own unwillingness to take responsibility for her or Newt. This eventually becomes too much for Jake, who quits the Rangers and sets off on his own, shortly before the other Rangers are sent on one last mission to catch Buffalo Hump.

Jake Spoon is played in the film by Ryan Merriman.

Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove, the first book in the series, is also Jake's first appearance, though his second chronologically. Several years have passed since Comanche Moon. Jake himself has left Lonesome Dove behind, and has spent much of his time spending money, riding horses, and socializing with his companeros. Due to his being a regular customer of Maggie Tilton, there is some argument that he could be the father of her son, Newt Dobbs, though Gus and Maggie both know Call is the boy's biological father.

During his travels, Jake makes a stop in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In a game of poker, he gets in a fight with another gambler, and grabs a 50 caliber buffalo rifle. Unfortunately, he misfires, and the bullet pierces the wall and kills a man outside, who happens to be both the Mayor and dentist of the town. Most people in town agree it was an accident, all except the man's wife, who puts pressure on her brother-in-law July Johnson, also the town sheriff, to arrest Jake. Fortunately for Jake, July is hesitant, which gives him enough time to escape to Texas.

In San Antonio, Jake is reunited with Deets, who brings him home to Gus and Call. He tells them about traveling through Montana, which he calls a cattleman's paradise. Call decides he would enjoy the challenge of driving a herd of cattle up to Montana. Jake, despite having given him the idea, will not commit to being part of the drive. He quickly becomes romantically involved with the local whore, Lorena Wood, and she expects him to take her to San Francisco, which he also won't commit too. Nonetheless, he and Lorena leave Lonesome Dove together. On the trail, he decides that he wants to travel through San Antonio to gamble before heading west. Lorena, having once served a pimp in San Antonio, refuses to go with him. He leaves her behind, and while he is gone, she is captured by Blue Duck, until Gus rescues her. In San Antonio, Jake falls in with some cattle rustlers who persuade him to accompany them. Unfortunately, they commit several murders while riding, and Jake, reluctantly, is forced to take part as well.

Deets, who is out scouting a path for the cattle drive, comes along the gang's track, and immediately recognizes Jake's horse's track as well. Gus, Call, Deets and Pea Eye track them down and arrest them, and sentence them to death by hanging, including Jake. Though they don't hesitate to hang the three brothers from a nearby tree, none of them can bring themselves to send off Jake's horse. Seeing their reluctance, Jake spurs his own horse, which rides off, leaving him hanging. Gus and Woodrow bury Jake and the two younger brothers, but leave the eldest hanging, with a sign around his neck identifying him as a man-burner and horse thief.

Jake is played in the film by the late Robert Urich.


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