In early 1989, television received a big boost in content and ratings when Lonesome Dove swept its viewers up and put them into a world which was only imagined in the books of the finest writers. Sure, there were other western films, but nothing like this had ever been achieved — especially on broadcast television. Running over 6-hours in length, Lonesome Dove became a Western Soap, having a large selection of great actors. Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston, Chris Cooper, Danny Glover, just to name a few. Initially, Lonesome Dove (although it was going to be called The Streets of Laredo) was going to provide an iconic cast of characters such as John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, and directed by Larry McMurtry himself. John Wayne apparently was advised by John Ford to not accept the role and this had a domino affect. James Stewart also backed out and the film's potential start in 1972, came to a full-stop. John Ford's reason behind the negative advice is not entirely known.
2-Disc Collector's Edition
Features: A brand new HD transfer, providing never before seen footage in some scenes. Over an hour of extras.
Codec / Resolution: VC-1 / 1080p
Movie File Size: 71 GB (2 discs)
Average Bitrate: 20 Mbps
Distributor: Genius Entertainment / RHI
Movie Release: February 5, 1989
This Release: August 5, 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 6 hrs 13 mins
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase (Blu-ray)
Lonesome Dove, Texas is a hot and dusty hell. Two-legged creatures generally don't embrace the geographic area, but Captain Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall), known to friends as Gus, and Captain Woodrow F. Call (Tommy Lee Jones), seem to have an attraction to it. What exactly is it about Lonesome Dove which makes two former Texas Rangers having no second-doubts about calling this home? It's what they know.
Snakes, lizards, wasps, and black widows find Lonesome Dove a paradise. Basically, life is tough and unforgiving here. Failure to have a sense of survival gets you a cool and cozy dirt nap. Gus and Call have a lot of experience in this area of the country. They've hunted and tracked criminals for days and up to several months, living in the most inhumane conditions imaginable.
As we focus on Lonesome Dove and the two ex-Texas Rangers, they have a pretty good thing going on, considering how others fair. The Hat Creek Cattle Company is the creation of both Gus and Call, and they make a living selling cattle and horses. Of course, even this isn't easy. Being in southern Texas, their home is positioned close to the Mexico border. Their ranch is often vulnerable to horse and cattle thieves, and it is not uncommon for the seasoned Rangers to conduct a raid across the border to retrieve their financial security.
Gus and Call might seem like two peas in a pod, but they have stark differences. Gus views himself as more of the thinker and planner, while Call is the man who gets things done. Call needs to stay busy, and manages to find something to do even when there is nothing to be done. On the other hand Gus is content with just sitting back and enjoying the sunset, watching the pigs pull a snake apart.
With such contrasting ways of viewing life, you'd have to wonder how Gus and Call became Texas Ranger partners. It comes down to being resourceful when there are no resources. Surviving when there is virtually no chance for survival. Acting when no one will act.
Jake Spoon (Robert Urich), a friend of Gus and Call, shows up at the ranch after a 10-year absence. He's on the run from the law, which is interesting, considering he's an ex-Texas Ranger himself. He had the bad luck of accidentally killing the brother of Sheriff July Johnson (Chris Cooper), and knows he will be pursued soon, if not already. Gus and Call listen to his story, but more importantly, to a proposition. Jake says Montana is ripe for cattle herding and the scenery is to die for. Gus and Call argue back and forth for a while about heading a massive cattle and horse drive to Montana, because after all, they are in Texas, and it's a hell of a ways away. But after some time, it is agreed they should try it, and thus, Lonesome Dove begins the journey of the many characters involved in this epic journey.