Notes on Watching Lonesome Dove

Gus & Call

By Loretta

My brother-in-law loves the film Lonesome Dove  –  so much so, in fact, that my sister planned his birthday celebration around it once.  He invited over a gaggle of his friends, they had a special birthday breakfast, and then watched the movie until lunchtime.  They stopped for the big birthday feast and then spent the afternoon watching the rest of it.

That kind of dedication from an obviously intelligent man (he married my sister, didn’t he?) started me wondering. What was so special about this movie?  How can a mere movie illicit such loyalty?

So one night, I took it home and watched it.  I made notes.

* If you watch it all in one night, you’ll go blind.
* If you watch it in two nights, it lasts about a month.
* It’s a lucky thing for cows that all the rivers in the West are very shallow.
* It’s a lucky thing for cowboys that all the rivers in the West are very shallow.

A typical trail drive (Crossing the Chikaskia River by Jim Gray)

* I love Robert Duvall and that will never change.
* I love Tommy Lee Jones, but he skirts the borders sometimes.
* It’s a lucky thing for cowboys that the cows knew the trails so well.
* It’s a funny thing to me that a good guy can be listening and watching for trouble and still not see it coming.  One of the bad guys could be singing in a Mariachi band and still get the drop on them.
* Men wouldn’t ask directions, even in the Old West.
* There were always the right number of glasses sitting out ready for the next drink, no matter how many might show up for it.
* I’m pretty sure I lost a crop in the last two weeks of the film.
* It was a little hard to imagine someone hanging all over that coffin after it had been on the trail for about a week.
* What was that thing hanging off the back of Angelica Huston?  A papoose? Don’t they usually wear those a little higher?
* In hundreds of miles of wide-open country with Indians and cowboys riding back and forth all day, a tracker could still follow a trail from Point A to Point B without missing a step.  And they never used a dog.  I think this one takes the cake, though.  How Tommy Lee found that little indentation in the bank on the side of that creek will always remain a mystery to me.

Despite these unfortunate inconsistencies, I enjoyed the movie.  You should check it out – now, before you get any older!

If your taste runs more to the printed word, we have that, too. But I gotta tell you, you won’t be saving any time, if that’s what you think.

And for those who gave up entirely and left town under cover of darkness, we have Return to Lonesome Dove.


6 thoughts on “Notes on Watching Lonesome Dove

  1. Oh, Loretta — this is a classic! Some day I’d like to join you on one of your movie/miniseries marathons. I’ll bet you’re a non-stop party.

    I’m with your brother-in-law on this one — I watch Lonesome Dove every couple of years. Maybe it’s one of those things that women just can’t understand.

    You may want to remind your brother-in-law how fortunate he is to have such an understanding wife. The former Mrs. Osteen got pretty cranky about me plopping down on the couch to watch TV whenever there was anything she wanted to do (like go into labor).


  2. How did I know you would be the devil’s advocate on this? I still say the ex-Mrs. Osteen is an astute observer of human folly. Come on down; the party’s at my house! Up next, Enchanted April.


  3. Loretta, you inspired me to put a hold on this DVD. I haven’t watched it in years! Also, I loved the book a whole bunch and should re-read it … that too has been years.

    Okay, ‘Enchanted April’ is next on your list?! What shall I bring to the party and what time do I need to be there?? 🙂 In all seriousness, though, that’s one of my favorite movies ever. (psst: the book is great, too!)


    • I hope you’ve set aside a lot of TIME! I may try the book sometime – when I’m icebound on a ship in the Arctic waiting for spring thaw. And I love Enchanted April, too. One of my favorites! Don’t you think Luke would enjoy it, too! 🙂


  4. Loretta

    I don’t want to watch LD with you & Luke & Abby; but I would like to be a “fly on the wall” and record yours & Luke’s repartee for when I need entertainment that brings on such laughter that it gives one a stomach ache and sore ribs! I really enjoy your writing (also Luke’s) and I look forward to each new posting. Thanks to you and all who contribute to OBOS!


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