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Midnight Movie: Lonesome Dove #1/4 (1989) – Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones

20/01/2019

Epic TV Western mini-series, good cast and highly regarded

From Wikipedia

Lonesome Dove received an overwhelmingly positive reception with critics and audience alike.

The New York Times commented that:

This six-hour miniseries, based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurtry, revitalized both the miniseries and Western genres, both of which had been considered dead for several years…. Lonesome Dove earned 18 Emmy nominations and inspired a pair of miniseries sequel as well as two attempts at an ongoing television series

Part 1 Leaving

The story begins in the small south Texas town of Lonesome Dove, on the Rio Grande, as Jake Spoon, a former Texas Ranger and comrade of Gus and Call’s, shows up after an absence of more than ten years. He reveals that he is a fugitive after having accidentally shot the dentist and mayor of Fort Smith, Arkansas, in a bar-room gunfight. The dentist/mayor’s brother happens to be the sheriff, July Johnson.

Reunited with Gus and Call, Jake’s glowing description of Montana inspires Call to gather a herd of cattle and drive them there, attracted by the notion of settling pristine country. Gus is less enthusiastic, pointing out that they are getting old and that they are Rangers and traders, not cowboys. But he changes his mind when he realises Lonesome Dove has little left to offer him by way of excitement, now that much of the land has been “civilized”.

At the continued insistence of the dentist’s widow, Sheriff Johnson sets off in pursuit of Spoon, accompanied by his young stepson Joe who travels at the request of Joe’s mother and Sheriff Johnson’s wife Elmira. Once her son and husband have left for Texas, Elmira leaves Fort Smith for Ogallala, Nebraska, to meet up with her first husband and Joe’s father, Dee Boot. Sailing up the Arkansas River on a whiskey boat, she falls in with a group of buffalo hunters.

Meanwhile, the men of Lonesome Dove make preparations for their adventure north, including stealing 2,500 horses and cattle from across the Rio Grande in Mexico, befriending two lost Irish immigrants, Allan and Sean O’Brien, and being joined by nearly all of the male citizens of the town. Before leaving, Gus returns to fetch his livery sign and say farewell to his pigs, who end up following him anyway.

Back in Fort Smith, Peach (widowed from Jake’s shooting) insists that Roscoe Brown, July’s timid deputy, has to find July not only to inform him that his wife’s run off, but also that she is pregnant.

Jake decides not to travel with the herd, mainly because he promises to take the town’s only prostitute, Lorena “Lorie” Wood, to San Francisco via Denver. Some time later the group survive a huge dust storm, but Sean, one of the Irishmen, is attacked by water moccasins while crossing the Nueces River.

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