Thoughts on: Rhino Ranch by Larry McMurtry

September 8, 2011


“Rhino Ranch” by Larry McMurtry is a fictional book set in Texas. The book follows familiar characters from previous McMurtry Books.


“Rhino Ranch” by Larry McMurtry is is easy to read, with lots and lots of white space, some of the chapters are half a page and none longer then two pages. Strangely enough, some of the chapters are split, or so it seemed to me, without any rhyme or reason.

I found the rhinos a very intriguing and interesting part of the story, however slowly the rhinos fade out, which is too bad because they were more believable than the quirky, and not-so-quirky, characters who pop in and out of the pages of this book. The author writes about Duane as if the reader is familiar with the series of books, but even though I haven’t read the previous books I liked Duane, his friends and even his grandson which seemed to be the only sane character in the book.

McMurtry can sure write cowboys, but the women lacked depth, each one was promiscuous on some level and wanted to lay one of the three elderly (late 60’s early 70’s) cowboys who the story mostly revolved around. That being said, I thought the dialog was wonderful and the character development through mostly just talk was superb storytelling.

As mentioned, the rhinos all but disappear half way through the story. Rhinoceros are animals which has many symbolism attached to them such as freedom, stability, judgment and peace of mind among others. It seemed to me (maybe it was intentional, maybe not) that Duane’s outlook is changing once the rhino he perceived to be his friend disappeared. At first, when his young wife left him, Duane is sad, but now he has his freedom to go fishing or spend nights in his cabin, as well as peace of mind (since his wife was cheating on him openly) all while looking forward to his daily walk to his cabin, through the rhino ranch, accompanied by his rhino friend. Once the rhinos disappeared he started questioning himself, losing his confidence, developing conspiracy theories, etc.

When I started this book I didn’t realize it was part of a series – so please keep that in mind as well.


The book follows Duane Moore, a hardworking and successful man in Thalia, TX. After his wife leaves him, Duane meets up with a billionaires named K.K. Slater who is importing endangered black rhinos into town in an effort to save them.
This is the backdrop to introduce us to the zany characters of a small Texas town as well as the melancholy and loneliness Duane feels in his old age.

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Zohar – Man of La Book
Disclaimer:I borrowed this book from the local library.

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