Moving on to Lonesome Dove, I was delighted with the book as it stands by itself, but even further disappointed in the connections with the first two books. In some cases, (such as the history of location and timing of the relationship between Call and Newt's mom), it was downright distracting. Not only was there not good character evolution from book to book, it's almost as though different characters with the same names were being developed. Not in all cases, but enough of the time to be distracting to me.
Having said all that, I admit that I'm a bit of a detail weenie when it comes to things like character development, consistency, and evolution. It may be that many readers are not as distracted as I am.
Bottom line: I heartily recommend Lonesome Dove as a stand-alone book. It's a great story, well-written, with excellent characters that were easy and delightful for me to connect with. However, I can only barely recommend Comanche Moon, and really there's no reason to try and read it "before" you read Lonesome Dove. As for Dead Man's Walk, it's one I'd only recommend to a western and Comanche enthusiast like myself, and then just.