Based on a book of the same name, Lonesome Dove was an epic, award winning mini-series. Playing for 8 hours over 4 nights amassing a total of 6 hours of screen time (commercials excluded.)
The series was a hit and inspired a saga that just wont die. With the recent announcement of a new Lonesome Dove mini-series in production I thought it was a good time to revisit the stories of Lonesome Dove. So I went to Best Buy, abused my credit card, and came away with 20 hours of Lonesome Dove.
The is the original, and clearly the best. This one features amazing performances by Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Duvall, Danny Glover, Robert Urich, Ricky Schroeder and a bunch of other familiar faces. The story weaves the lives of a few dozen folks in the late 1800's around the story of a cattle drive to Montana.
Running six hours, I can't really do a full review. So instead I will just make the following stupid (but true) comment.
Robert Urich plays Jake Spoon. D.B. Sweeney plays Dish Boggett.
There is a scene where Dish wants to chase after Spoon. I wish there was a guy named Frank Cow and he jumped over a guy named Dirk Moon.
-Return to Lonesome Dove
This follow up was made right away because of the massive success of Lonesome Dove. Lonesome Dove scribe Larry McMurtry was not involved in this picture (it's the only one he isn't involved in) and that has made it the outcast of the bunch. McMurtry supposedly hated this film.
But I didn't.
It certainly plays like a Xerox copy of the original. It's not as good as the first, but since Lonesome Dove was so great, even a rip off is pretty good. In this film John Voight takes over for Tommy Lee Jones and Ricky Schroeder returns as do most of the actors who played the ranch hands. Instead of driving cattle, in this one they drive horses.
A young Reese Witherspoon also appears causing me to spend most of the movie staring at the golf ball she has hidden in her chin.
Don't get me wrong, I think Reese is adorable, AND her name makes me think of candy. But all her chin does is make me want to play the 18th hole and shoot her chin through the windmill.
-Streets of Laredo
Unlike the two previous adventures (which ran 6 hours each on DVD) this one runs a comparably shorter. Clocking in under 4 hours, this tells a new story about the Tommy Lee Jones/John Voight character who is now played by James Garner.
In this adventure Garner hunts after a Mexican outlaw.
Interestingly, the tales of some actual historic characters are woven into the picture.
Ned Beatty plays Judge Roy Bean and Randy Quaid plays John Wesley Hardin. I wish that they had also hired Carrot Top to play Billy the Kid and then Robert E. Lee could have been played by the Quaker Oats man.
This film feels much less epic than the other two. This is mostly due to it covering a single story. The other two took a single plot and wove dozens of smaller plots into it.
Also, it is important to note that McMurtry ignored the events of Return to Lonesome dove in this sequel. He even changed a few of the events from the first film to fit this story. It can get a little confusing.
Remember that movie Sliding Doors where Gweneth Paltrow saw how her life would change due to one single event?
Neither do I.
-Dead Man's Walk
This 4 hour prequel features Johnny Lee Miller in the part that every old guy with a SAG card had played in the other flicks. Miller is joined by David Arquette who fills the role of a younger Robert Duvall.
This time they are young Texas Rangers and Arquette is in love with Jennifer Garner.
By that I mean that Garner appears in the film in the role of Clara, not that Arquette is a big "Alias" fan and has her picture pasted in her locker.
I really had a fun time watching all these films real close together and I realized a few things.
1. If you get shot with an arrow, odds are you will lose your leg.
2. Cowboys love beef jerky.
3. Uh, I guess that was it.