Lonesome Dove: Season 1, Episode 1

Leaving (5 Feb. 1989)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Western
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 110 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 3 critic

In Lonesome Dove, Texas former Texas Rangers Augustus 'Gus' McCrae and Woodrow F. Call are spending their time not doing much of anything. They have something of a reunion when old friends ... See full summary »



(novel), (teleplay) (as Bill Wittliff)
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Title: Leaving (05 Feb 1989)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Blue Duck (credit only)
Clara Allen (credit only)
Timothy Scott ...
Pea Eye Parker (as Tim Scott)
Elmira Boot Johnson


In Lonesome Dove, Texas former Texas Rangers Augustus 'Gus' McCrae and Woodrow F. Call are spending their time not doing much of anything. They have something of a reunion when old friends Jake Spoon and Joshua Deets arrive. They've not seen each other for something going on 10 years. Jake has an idea: they should round up a herd of cattle and drive them north where they could make their fortune. McCrae is a bit slow to come around the idea but they're soon crossing the border rustling horses and cattle that have been stolen by a Mexican bandit. By the time they're ready to set out, Jake Spoon has had a change of heart. He's been carrying on with Lonesome Dove's only saloon girl, Lorena Wood, and he's promised to take her to San Francisco. They're traveling more or less in the same direction so they're all going to be seeing each other quite a bit. The men on the cattle drive face long days and bad weather. One of them will not survive the first river crossing. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

5 February 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


As originally broadcast in 1989, this episode included two partial scenes that have since been edited out of the DVD release. 1) How Dish got his name: apparently, at some point, he drank from a pail of dishwater; and 2) the amendment of Deets' name on the Hat Creek sign: everyone always just called him Deets. His first name, Joshua, was added later, which is why it appears after Deets, and in smaller letters. Together, these two scenes took up about a minute of screen time. See more »


As Gus is ladling out dinner, when Newt reaches out his plate the plate is empty, but when the camera angle changes there are now two large slices of bread that he pours the beans over. See more »


[first lines]
Gus McCrae: [to fighting pigs] Go down to the river to eat that snake. Now go on, get outa here. Go on! Go on, git!
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User Reviews

They don't rent pigs
20 December 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Two grizzled former Texas Rangers rustle up a herd—horses, cows, a bunch of addle-brained cowboys who need as much herding as they're paid to do—and make north where is money and adventure. Western fans have long known about this, I was late myself. This first episode is all of it setup, getting to know who's who, who's going to be trouble, who's going to have demons to chase after..

And gosh darnit, what clean storytelling we have, pure American western, no-nonsense filmmaking. If smooth transition is the essence of classicism, then surely this is in the classic vein of Hawks—they've all been rascals at one point or other, and tease each other about it, but they're close as a group, as guys who work with their hands tend to. Women haunt every one of the guys, including a sheriff who we assume is going to be on their trail in coming episodes.

The purpose of the journey as stated by Woodrow, is to see one last piece of the West before the lawyers and bankers roll in.

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