Lonesome Dove ---BONUS TV Mini-Series---
1989. 20th Century Fox/CBS, Rhi Entertainment, Color, Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1, 6 hours, 24 minutes, Not Rated
First Aired: February 5, 1989
Lonesome Dove is available at Amazon.com on DVD and Blue Ray.
Movie Synopsis: A heart-warming, tear-jerking Old West saga, from the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by Larry McMurtry. The story centers around two retired Texas Rangers, who embark on their last cattle drive from West Texas to Montana.
Cast: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Robert Urich, Rick Schroeder, Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston, Frederic Forrest, Chris Cooper, Timothy Scott, Glenne Headly, Barry Corbin
Director: Simon Wincer
Thoughts on the Movie:
Dont get me started on this... too late, Ive started. Larry McMurtrys Pulitzer Prize winning novel (on which this Mini-Series is based) is one of the two books that I have read in my entire life that has made me cry (and Ive read quite few). At certain parts of the story, I would have to stop and wipe my eyes before I could continue reading. So, it came as no surprise to me that the film version of this epic tale turned out so wonderfully. You fall in love with Gus and Captain Call right off the bat, and thats the key to the whole thing. It keeps you going till you reach the sad, yet honest, end... and thats what good moviemaking, and good storytelling, is all about. With a master of the story, like McMurtry, and two of the best actors of their generation, like Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, how could you go wrong? You couldnt. Its not possible.
Larry McMurtry is my favorite novelist. Ive read most of his books, and heres the deal: I have never known anyone with the ability to capture the absolute truth about life and the human condition as deeply as McMurtry. The man is just tapped in. He gets it, and he somehow manages to put it into words in a way that is unsurpassed, allowing us to get it, too. He understands that life and death equal yin and yang, and no story can be told without intertwining those two elements, no matter how poignant that may be. His stories truly haunt me for days, and sometimes weeks, but not in a bad way: I feel enriched, and reminded about what life is truly about. It urges me to contemplate my own existence, and allows me to reflect upon and actually accept the richness of the overall personal history that comprises me. I clearly realize that I am a part of the colorful fabric of humanity that these beloved fictional characters also inhabit; and I no longer feel quite so small and insignificant in this big ole world.
If you think Ive gone off the philosophical deep end here, I offer you this challenge: watch the following three filmsHud, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearmentalso based on novels by Larry McMurtry, and try to convince that me you didnt learn a whole lot about the human experience by doing so. P.S. I told you not to get me started... ~Jean
Wyman's Black Lake Ranch, near Angel Fire, New Mexico (see Map)
Interesting enough, the scenes in the Mini-Series that are supposed to be the ranch that is established once the cattle drive reaches Montana, were actually shot on a private ranch near Angel Fire. Thats the kind of beautiful scenery that is found in this area of Northern New Mexico; it truly rivals Montanas Big Sky Country.
Right: Wymans Black Lake Ranch was an important location in the award-winning 1989 TV mini-series, Lonesome Dove.
You probably cant locate the actual ranch that was used in Lonesome Dove, because it has been sold off for vacation home development, but you can certainly cruise around the Angel Fire area and enjoy its amazing ranch-style scenery. Wymans Black Lake Ranch is on Route 434, about 10 miles south of Angel Fire.
About Angel Fire, New Mexico:
Angel Fire, New Mexico (population 1,048; elevation 8,406 feet; 36° 22 44 N, 105° 17 8 W) is a relatively new resort town, 27 miles east of Taos, on US 64. Originally built as a ski area, it now attracts the summer outdoor crowd, as well. Located in the Moreno Valley, Angel Fire was given its name by the Ute Indians because of the glow of the mountain tops at sunrise and sunset. The Valley is 30 miles long and three miles wide: Agua Fria Peak stands at 12,441 feet and Bandy Peak is 13,161 feet high.
Angel Fire offers skiing, snowboarding, fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, tennis, and golf. There are also special events throughout the year, such as hot air balloon festivals, arts & crafts shows, and off-road bike races. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, part of the Southern Rockies, receives an abundance of snowfall.
Right: The beautiful country in the Angel Fire, New Mexico area, that served as the Montana Ranch location in Lonesome Dove.
Poor Boys Country Club
Poor Boys Country Club was a bar and dance hall located just off Wymans Black Lake Ranch (see above) at the intersection of NM 434 and NM 120. After shooting, the Lonesome Dove cast and crew members headed over there to enjoy some well deserved R & R.
Poor Boys was owned by Arthur Martinez, who built the octagonal wooden building and ran the business until his death in 2008. The building still stands and is surrounded by rusting trucks and antique farm implements. The family has maintained the business and liquor licenses so that Poor Boys can re-open in the future under new management. You can still visit the site of Poor Boys Country Club to enjoy a magnificent view of the ranch location and take advantage of some great photo opportunities. Just keep in mind that Wymans Black Lake Ranch is private property. Views of the ranch can be enjoyed from the road and the site of Poor Boys.
DAV Vietnam Veterans National Memorial. 35 Country Road, Angel Fire, New Mexico
Once in Taos, take US 64, 26 miles to County Road B4. Turn left and veer to the right for one-half mile to the Memorial parking area. This amazing structure was the first memorial built to honor the men and women who served in Vietnam. The Visitor Center is open May-September, Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; October-April, Wednesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Chapel is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Lodging & Dining:
For Recommended Hotels, Motels and Lodges in Taos and/or Angel Fire see: Taos and Angel Fire Lodging
Lonesome Dove won seven Emmy Awards and received 12 other Emmy nominations.
Lonesome Dove won the Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.
Robert Duvall won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.
Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.
Anjelica Huston was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.
Right: Robert Duvall relaxes on the set of Lonesome Dove. Notice the perspective on those boots!
Principal photography lasted for 16 weeks (six days a week) and encompassed 89 speaking parts, 1,000 extras, 30 wranglers, 100 horses, 90 crew members, and 1,400 head of cattle. Some scenes were so complex that they were shot from six different cameras at once.
Lonesome Dove was originally written by Larry McMurtry in 1971 as a movie script. He intended John Wayne to play Woodrow Call, James Stewart to play Gus McCrae, and Henry Fonda to play Jake Spoon, with Peter Bogdanovich directing. Wayne turned it down, and the project was shelved. Ten years later, McMurtry bought the script back and wrote the book (on which the series was based). It won the Pulitzer Prize.
After the novel Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer Prize, both John Milius and John Huston attempted to adapt it into a feature film, before Suzanne De Passe and Larry McMurtry decided to do it as a mini-series.
This $20-million saga was the fifth-highest rated mini-series in television history.
Right: Robert Duvall during his wardrobe test for Lonesome Dove. He played Augustus McCrae in the popular mini-series.
Most actors playing a major role in this mini-series have also appeared in one of its sequels, and almost all of them have been recast, sometimes several times. Timothy Scott (Pea) reprised his role in the unofficial sequel Return to Lonesome Dove (1993), but died before production began on the official sequel, Streets of Laredo (1995). He was replaced by Sam Shepard. Tommy Lee Jones was replaced in Streets of Laredo by James Garner. And Danny Glover was replaced in the prequel Comanche Moon (2008) by Keith Robinson.
The set of the sleepy village of Lonesome Dove was built just outside Del Rio, Texas.
Two scenes in the mini-series are based on actual incidents that occurred during a cattle drive from Texas to Montana: 1. Some cowboys asked, "How far is it to Up-North? believing it to be place, not a direction. 2. During one of the river crossings, the cowboys stripped off their clothes and rode the horses naked. Both episodes are related by Teddy Blue Abbott, a 19th-century Texas cowboy. Once up north, Abbott remained in Montana, married the daughter of cattle baron Granville Stuart, and became a relatively prosperous rancher. He wrote a book based on his memories called, We Pointed Them North.
Left: Tommy Lee Jones played Captain Woodrow Call in the award-winning mini-series, Lonesome Dove.
Character Quote: I hate rude behavior in a man. I wont tolerate it. ~Woodrow F. Call (Tommy Lee Jones)