I just finished watching the six-hour miniseries ‘Lonesome Dove’ and, if it’s possible, I enjoyed it even more than the first time. I loved the book by Larry McMurtry, of course, and this series really does it justice.
It’s visually beautiful, more so than anyone thought television could be; the music is great; and the costumes, the sets, the scenery, and the animals provide dramatic panoramas that show what the Old West was really like.
But most engaging of all are McMurtry’s characters, which give the all-star cast the chance to shine. Robert Duvall and Diane Lane give what may be the finest performances of their stellar careers. Heck, everyone in the cast gives the performance of a lifetime, even Steve Buscemi as a whiskey boatman.
Angelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Ricky Schroeder and dozens of others all bring their characters to life in a way that makes you care what happens to them.
I was curious to see how they would handle the scene in which the old Texas Ranger Augustus McCrae, played by Duvall, shoots six outlaws before the inexperienced sheriff from Arkansas even gets his gun out. It’s done perfectly, not too fast, calmly and deliberately, like Clint Eastwood’s famous scene in ‘Unforgiven’, another great realistic western.
But possibly the most moving scene in the series comes after McCrae has rescued Lorena Wood (Diane Lane) from the outlaw camp. She has been gang-raped and tortured and she’s in a complete state of shock, and McCrae tenderly and lovingly nurses her back to the land of the living by playing poker with a bag of buttons.
I enjoyed every minute of this six-hour series, so much so that I just might watch it again.
Don’t bother with the sequels; they’re terrible.