Today, I want to share a fantastic TV miniseries from 1989 starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall called Lonesome Dove. This miniseries was based on a novel by American western writer, Larry McMurtry. The book was the first published in his Lonesome Dove series but was chronologically third. The miniseries the book inspired was shown on CBS from February 5th through the 8th in 1989. The miniseries was broken into four parts, each being about an hour and a half long.
The book, Lonesome Dove, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1986. It deals with intense life issues ranging from how people cope with unrequited love, friendship, growing older, and even death. Jones and Duvall both won critical and popular acclaim for their portrayals in the miniseries.
Other members of the main cast include such well-known actors as Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Angelica Houston, Robert Urich, Frederic Forrest, D. B. Sweeney, Ricky Schroder, Chris Cooper, Tim Scott, Glenne Headly, Barry Corbin, William Sanderson, Barry Tubb, Gavan O'Herlihy, Steve Buscemi, Fredierick Coffin, Travis Swords and many more are in the supporting cast. If a few of the names do not stand out, I am sure their faces will. Many of the actors in the main and supporting casts are well known character actors who have extensive filmographies and are quite recognizable to most movie and TV fans.
This tale is centers on the relationship between famous retired Texas Rangers, Captain Augustus "Gus" McCrae (Duvall) and Captain Woodrow F. Call (Jones) as they drive a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana during the final years of the "old west". It begins in the Texas border town of Lonesome Dove. Gus and Call are spending their retirement running a livery. Gus has outlived two wives but still has a reputation for enjoying female company, while Call is more focused on his work.
Working with the Rangers is a tracker and scout, Joshua Deets (Glover), who worked with them during their active Ranger days, and another former Ranger, Pea Eye Parker (Scott). Parker has a earned a reputation for being a hard worker but is not considered to be too bright. They also have a retired Mexican bandit, Bolívar (played by León Singer), working as their cook and also living with this motley crew is a 17-year-old boy, Newt Dobbs (Schroder). The Dobbs' mother was a prostitute and it is suspected the father might be Call.
This miniseries is broken up into four parts: Part I: Leaving, Part II: On the Trail, Part III: The Plains, and Part IV: Return. Each part runs about an hour and a half. There are some interesting facts behind the making of this miniseries, including the fact that the original novel was actually based on a screenplay McMurtry had co-written with Peter Bogdanovich. That film was supposed to star John Wayne as Call, James Stewart as Gus, and Henry Fonda as Jake Spoon. Unfortunately, project was scraped when John Ford told Wayne to reject it.
Later, four actors, Robert Duvall, James Garner, Charles Bronson, and Jon Voight were all offered the role of Woodrow Call but declined for various reasons. Duvall asked to play Gus instead, saying he had already played Call's type of character. Garner had apparently been set to play one of the lead roles, but dropped out due to ill health. Bronson was under contract to Cannon Films and unable to accept the role. I found no references to why Voight declined the role.
Lonesome Dove was partially shot on the movie set that was originally created for the John Wayne movie,The Alamo, with the majority of the miniseries being filmed at the Moody Ranch, south of Del Rio, Texas. The miniseries was shot over the span of just 90 days. Production used real ranch horses for authenticity with Duvall and Jones doing their own stunts, except for a scene where Gus (Duvall) rides into a herd of bison.
Below I have linked the video of the first episode of the Lonesome Dove miniseries. So go pop your corn, get a drink, and settle in for a great show. If you need a recipe for a new movie snack, head on over to my Facebook page where I posted a great popcorn recipe that would go perfect with this movie. I plan to post different movie snack ideas on my Facebook page on Mondays so you just might want to follow me there if you don't already.
Settle in and enjoy the show!
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