Lonesome Dove (1989)
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Still on the trail, the men face ever increasing danger. They have an 80 mile stretch without water and the weather has turned with the onset of winter. Joshua Deets' encounter with a group... See full summary »



(novel), (teleplay) (as Bill Wittliff)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Spoon (credit only)
Pea Eye Parker (as Tim Scott)
Elmira Boot Johnson (credit only)
Roscoe Brown (credit only)


Still on the trail, the men face ever increasing danger. They have an 80 mile stretch without water and the weather has turned with the onset of winter. Joshua Deets' encounter with a group of young Indians leads to tragedy. Similarly, Gus is severely wounded in an encounter with Indian warriors. He is rescued by mountain man but has to have his right leg amputated. By the time Call catches up with him, it's too late as Gus refused to let the doctor amputate his other infected leg. His dying wish is to be buried in Texas and Call promises to take him home. Newt knows that Call is his father but that's something Call has never acknowledged. He does began to test the boy and leaves him in charge after he proves his mettle. In the spring, Call begins his 3,000 mile journey home, keeping his promise to his friend. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

8 February 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Woodrow gives the Hell Bitch to Newt, when the horse is shown from the side it is clearly a gelding. See more »


Miles City is shown to have large mountains surrounding it, with a landscape similar to western Montana. In reality, Miles City is nowhere near any mountains but is in fact in the middle of the great plains in the valley along the Yellowstone river in eastern Montana. See more »


[Gus refuses to have his leg amputated knowing he will die if he doesn't]
Woodrow Call: What do you want legs for anyway? You don't like to do nothing but sit on the porch and drink whiskey!
Gus McCrae: I like to kick a pig every once in a while. How would I do that?
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User Reviews

"There ain't nothing better than riding a fine horse into a new country."
18 January 2017 | by (Florida, New York) – See all my reviews

The final episode of this mini-series ends on a somber note for both of the main principals, Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall), and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones). In some ways, this closing episode might be considered the best of the series, or alternatively the least satisfying. For those who like their movies to have a happy ending, you certainly won't find it here. The fate of Gus is determined by a set of circumstances he had no control over, while Call's dogged refusal to own up to his parentage concludes the story on a pensive note.

The scenes of Call hauling Gus's coffin around on his way back home to Lonesome Dove is actually pretty gruesome if you think about it. Even more gruesome perhaps than having a look at the bloody stump the doctor left Gus with when he completed the amputation. If Call hadn't been so pig-headed about keeping Gus's promise, he would have taken Clara Allen's (Anjelica Huston) advice and buried him in her private cemetery. But then, Call wouldn't have been Call, stubborn to the point of obsessiveness to honor a man's dying wish.

This final entry of the series also deals a final hand to the fate of outlaw Indian Blue Duck (Frederic Forrest). Arrested and jailed for yet another family butchery, Blue Duck vows that his final fate would be sealed by an old woman who taught him how to fly. With Blue Duck's dying plunge out the jail window, witnessed by Call, I thought it would have been appropriate for Call's final comment to mention something about the old woman's skipping the part on how to land.

Since it came up a number of times in the story, I was intrigued by the seeming Latin phrase inscribed on the Hat Creek Company sign that traveled with the cattle herd to Montana and back again with McCrae's body. Written as 'uva-uvam vivendo varia fit', turns out it's a corrupted version of a Latin phrase that literally means 'a grape changes color when it sees another grape'. On the face of it, that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the "Lonesome Dove" story, but on a deeper level, may be author Larry McMurtry's way of interpreting the characters in the story who went through many personal changes during the course of the picture.

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