Everybody wants to know more about the miniseries Lonesome Dove. This is especially true when it comes to the main characters and/central pieces to the storyline. Below is your regular fix!
Captain Woodrow F. Call “Call”
Tommy Lee Jones was the bad ass Call. And if you are a Lonesome Dove aficionado, you already know that he was not the first, nor the second, third, fourth, or fifth choice. The first choice was John Wayne; second was Charles Bronson; third was Robert Duvall; fourth was James Garner; and fifth was Jon Voight. Garner and Voight would eventually play Call on the sequels. But to most diehard fans, Tommy Lee Jones is the one and only Call.
Ain’t No Stunt Double!
Tommy Lee does all his own stunts. This needs a little more confirmation. But based on the footage, he did 100% of his stunts when it came to riding and getting unhorsed. He owns a horse ranch in Texas so he knows his horses.
Captain Augustus McCrae “Gus”
Robert Duvall actually auditioned for the part of Call. But the producers saw him as a better fit for Gus. At the very least, Tommy Lee Jones was a more intense silent type.
Nice Stunt There
The scene where Gus got thrown by his horse was the real deal. A bullet shot near the underbelly of the farm horse and frightened the poor beast. This resulted in the unintentional but too good to cut Lonesome Dove moment.
The Real Call and Gus
Some experts say Larry patterned Call after a man named Charles Goodnight. He was a cattle baron based in Texas. Gus was also patterned after Oliver Loving. This is because some historical accounts say that Loving died after being poisoned by an Indian arrow. Thereafter Goodnight carried the body of Loving back to Texas for burial. It is important to note that Larry has contradicting statements regarding the same. At the very least Goodnight and Loving served as an inspiration and a very nice plot center piece.
Guns, Guns & Guns
There has been many a debate about the modification of Gus’s Colt Walker 1847 revolver. Some say it was percussion while others insist it used a metallic cartridge. Well it was the latter. Kudos to the props guy for not making it too obvious. Metallic cartridges were preferred because they are safer and easier to reload.
The Legend of the Buntline Special
There is very little to support this, but Lonesome Dove cum gun enthusiasts have been abuzz like crazy over this. Remember the outlaw in the woods by the name of Jim? Yup, the one that jumped Roscoe. He was carrying a Buntline Special” Colt Peacemaker. The barrel was 12.5 inches long. Standard colt barrels were 7.5 inches long for quick draw and belt holstering. Legend has it that Ned Buntline special ordered 5 of these colts. Two were given to Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson for exemplary service under fire (no pun intended).
Here’s the thing. Not surprisingly, records regarding this special order are no longer available. What the folks at Colt can say is that while a 12.5 inch barrel may seem too cumbersome to draw. It was a possibility. This was given the fact that records show 12 to 16 inch pacemakers being special ordered within or near the same era. These monsters were mainly mounted on horses for cavalry.