Volume 78, Number 4

October 2003

Confessions of an Ambivalent Originalist

Jack N. Rakove

One of my favorite moments in Larry McMurtry’s wonderful novel, Lonesome Dove, comes when Augustus has to hang Jake Spoon, his feckless former Texas Ranger buddy who has gone bad by throwing in his lot with the murderous Suggs brothers. Gus half apologetically says to Jake, “I’m sorry you crossed the line,” and Jake distractedly replies, “I never seen no line, Gus. I was just trying to get to Kansas without getting scalped.” And soon justice is done.’