Although millions have read Larry McMurtry's novels, few really understand the subtle underlying themes that characterize his fiction. In this intriguing study of the popular author, Roger Walton Jones examines McMurtry's lifelong interest in Victorian authors and their influence on his novels. Emphasizing the common sense of displacement McMurtry shared with the Victorians, Jones identifies three Victorian themes by which McMurtry reconciles the reader to experience and gives his art a religious function: the individual's importance to society, the conflict between civilization and nature in an industrial age, and the attempt to find a basis for spirituality in a world without God or faith in organized religion. Jones explores these themes as they are played out in all of McMurtry's fiction, paying particular attention to The Last Picture Show and Lonesome Dove. Unpublished letters and an early, unpublished short story shed light on the interpretation. For example, Jones traces the way McMurtry's early alienation from his hometown, Archer City, determined the style of The Last Picture Show, and he identifies a telling moment when McMurtry overcame past tensions and found a balance between society and the individual. In this thought-provoking analysis, Jones helps correct the injustice done McMurtry when his work has been ignored or treated with condescension by literary critics charmed by the convolutions of postmodernism. Readers seeking a fuller understanding of McMurtry and his fiction, as well as students of Victorian literature, will find Jones's treatment stimulating, insightful, and perhaps unexpectedly positive and will benefit from seeing a new moral and spiritual dimension inthe work of one of the most interesting contemporary authors.