"Lonesome Dove" The Plains (TV Episode 1989) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)

(1989)

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8/10
"You know how it works..., you ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw."
classicsoncall17 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Western code of honor, defiantly held by men like former Texas Rangers Gus McCrae (Robert Duvall) and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones), is honed to razor sharp perfection here as they track a murderous band of outlaws led by the vicious Dan Suggs (Gavan O'Herlihy). To do it, they have to leave their herd for a time, as they track the Suggs bunch knowing that their former confederate Jake Spoon (Robert Urich) is riding with them. To his credit, Spoon spurs his own horse to initiate his hanging, leaving some doubt as to whether Gus would have done it for real. It's one of those scenes that could have worked either way, though Gus's comments following the event make it certain that he has no regrets about seeing justice served. That's the cool thing about Augustus McCrae, he's constantly serving as the conscience of the group, insisting that sometimes things happen without rationale, and worrying what one might have done otherwise relegated to a moot exercise.

Following her rescue from the Kiowas holding her captive, Lorena Wood (Diane Lane) gradually begins falling in love with Gus, even while he's heading off in search of his former love Clara (Anjelica Huston). Their moments together are insightful and tender, as she's still recovering from capture by Blue Duck's band, sustaining vicious beatings and presumably rape by her captors.

The seminal moment in this story occurs when a military detachment tries to conscript Dish Boggett's (D.B. Sweeney) horse, and Newt (Ricky Schroder) tries to intervene on his friend's behalf. Seeing what's happening, Woodrow Call comes close to beating Army scout Dixon to death before getting hauled off by Gus. It took this event for Gus to reveal to Newt that Call was his father, a fact that's not thoroughly absorbed by the young man just yet.

The side story of July Johnson and the baby left behind by his wife with Clara Allen is dealt with here as well. Despairing of his loss, Johnson decides to stay behind as a ranch hand, as does Lorena at the invitation of Clara. It's a bittersweet departure for Gus, leaving behind the two women he loves, each in their own way. Bittersweet for the both of them as well, left to contemplate on the way things might have been in another time and place.
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A prairie home companion
chaos-rampant21 December 2012
This is the best episode so far for my money, a little gem of western film. There is once more a lot of heartbreak and separation, and typically for the series, the ending is sentimentally abrasive—the only note off so far in Lonesome Dove, proof that the script and actors are great, but the filmmaker, when he has to dramatically engage with the camera, is average. Duvall is once again his rascally self. Jones broods. These guys are great together, they have a knack for the life, Hemingway men that they are at heart.

In this episode, however, they finally reach Ogallala, drifters docking for a while. The resonance between dusty, weather-beaten wanderers and the clean prairie home in the cosmic middle is something to watch.

Everything about this is so rich.

Anjelica above all. Diane Lane is great, great but too fragile to support this world of dreams. It's Huston who has been the center— the hearth, the bosom—pulling us in her orbit all this time.

Memories. Love. Regret. She binds all.
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