Lonesome Dove Tidbits

If you are reading this, then you are not your run of the mill Lonesome Dove researcher. You’re probably a fan who wants to know more about the show, the cast, the comings and goings. Good news, you’ve hit pay dirt!

Principal Cast

Everybody praised the acting of Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. Heck, you probably can’t picture anybody else playing the part. The thing is, they (and then some) weren’t the first choice of Larry McMurtry. Back then Lonesome Dove was just a script.  And if Larry had his way:

  • John Wayne would be Call
  • James Stewart would be Gus
  • Henry Fonda would be Jake

I know what you’re thinking. Yes John Wayne would have been more than perfect. BUT, by that time, he would have been too old. This leads us to the second piece of info you might not have known.

10 Years Gathering Dust

John Wayne turned down the movie script. This was around 10 years before shooting actually took place. The project was shelved. Larry had this great idea to buy the script back. Heck, might as well make a book!  The book got a cult following, a Pulitzer, and eventually led to the miniseries.

Lonesome Dove is Actually a Phoenix!

If you think about it, Lonesome Dove was not really a bestselling book turned miniseries! It was a movie script turned book, turned mini-series script. Funny how things happen right!

Hollywood Hated Westerns (at the time)

Had Larry McMurtry not written the book, it is highly likely that the miniseries would have never been made. This is especially true given the fact that the script called for a Western and a miniseries to boot. Both subjects were not a particular Hollywood favourite at the time.

Hey Ain’t that the Alamo?!

Yes, you are right! The same set was used by Lonesome Dove and the Alamo. To be more specific, the set that was designed by Roger Ragland for the Alamo was used by Lonesome Dove.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… Nope, It’s Robert Duvall!

Do you remember the scene where a firefight erupted and Robert Duvall got bucked off? Some of the viewers said it looked so real. Some say it was overacting on both the horse and Robert’s part.

To set the story straight: Robert was in fact bucked off, and yes, he landed heavy and it hurt like hell. For authenticity, the producers didn’t want set trained horses. They wanted real farm animals that frighten easy. So when the bullet hit below the horse, the poor thing bucked!

The official statement was, it looked so good they kept on rolling. In reality, they were too shocked to move. Heck, this is Robert Duvall you are talking about. You can almost imagine the director thinking, “F*ck I killed Robert Duvall!”

What Was Suzanne De Passe’s Number Again!!!

When the novel was yet to be published, Suzanne De Passe bought the rights to the same. She then begged every network to shoot a movie. They all turned her down. Westerns were on the decline at the time.

When Lonesome Dove got published, won accolades and the Pulitzer…a lot of heads rolled that year! To date some, networks are still fuming at how they let that opportunity pass; except CBS of course. They were whistling their way to the bank.

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