Lonesome Dove Intriguing Factoids!

Below are a few factoids that a true Lonesome Dove aficionado should know. How many of the intriguing tidbits below do you already know? If not, well you read it here first!


Lonesome Dove aired on CBS. The first part was optimistically set to rate 23 shares. When it first aired, Lonesome Dove snatched 38 shares! CBS swears they could hear other network execs kicking their behinds for failing to pick up the series.


If you are interested in firearms, here is a treat for you. Below are some of the famous guns used by the main characters (and then some):

  • Gus used a Colt Walker in the miniseries. Strangely enough, in the novel, Gus was carrying a more modern Colt Dragoon.
  • Call’s firearm of choice was an 1860 Henry rifle.
  • Jake Spoon carried a pearl gripped 1875 Remington rifle
  • Roscoe belted an 1851 Colt Navy
  • Dog Face used an 1859 Sharps buffalo rifle
  • Jim (the one who jumped Roscoe) was carrying a bad ass Buntline Special Peacemaker with a 12.5 inch barrel. To most of you, this seemed too unwieldy to actually draw. But some gun fanatics have this wild notion that the same gun was 1 of 5 that Ned Buntline, special ordered to give to Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson (among others).

Over Praised Under Rated

Critics widely consider Lonesome Dove to be the best miniseries of its era. However, the Emmy Award was given to “War and Remembrance” (1989). This was to the surprise of many fans and critics, who thought Lonesome Dove was a lock.

Based on Real Life Accounts

Historians believe that Gus, Call and their scout were characters based on Oliver Loving, Charles goodnight, and Bose Ikard respectively. Bose died and Goodnight carved the grave marker. Loving was killed by a poisoned Indian arrow and Goodnight carried his remains to Texas to be buried.

The scene where travellers thought that “north” was a place and not a general direction, also has some basis. The scenes where the cowboys stripped naked to cross the river was also contained in the memoires of Teddy “Blue” Abbott. If you are curious to read the full accounts of Teddy Abbott, you might want to look up the book he wrote entitled “We Pointed Them North”.

Quotable Quotes

There are numerous forums about the most famous line in Lonesome Dove. Arguably, one of the most memorable was the final line that Call spoke “Hell of a vision”. But did you know that the same line was first mentioned in an earlier literally work by J. Frank Dobie entitled “Cow People”. Dobie credits Charles Goodnight as the source. Hence, another connection between Goodnight and Loving for Call and Gus.

Director Who

Originally, it was Peter Bogdanovich who was slated to be the director. This was 10 years before it actually got made, and when Lonesome Dove was still a movie script. John Wayne turned down the part, the project got shelved, and Larry had the bright idea to buy back the rights and turn it into a book.

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