Lonesome Dove (1989)

 

 

 

Director:     Simon Wincer. 

Starring:    Robert Duvall (Augustus 'Gus' McCrae),  Tommy Lee Jones (Woodrow F. Call),  Danny Glover (Joshua Deets),  Diane Lane (Lorena Wood),  Robert Urich (Jake Spoon),  Frederic Forrest (Blue Duck),  D.B. Sweeney (Dish Boggett),  Rick Schroder (Newt Dobbs),  Anjelica Huston (Clara Allen),  Chris Cooper (July Johnson),  Timothy Scott (Pea Eye Parker),  Glenne Headly (Elmira),  Barry Corbin (Roscoe Brown),  William Sanderson (Lippy Jones),  Barry Tubb (Jasper Fant).

c. 1866, based on cattle drivers Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight

 

Part I.  Leaving. 

Lonesome Dove, South Texas on the Rio Grande. 

Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium.  Captain Augustus "Gus" McCrae and Captain Woodrow F. Call. 

A group of men run a ranch.  They include the owners Gus and Woodrow.  With them is the young Newt Dobbs, whose late mother was a prostitute and one of the men on the ranch is probably Newt's father.  They have a Mexican cook.  There is another ranch hand named Pete and one named Dish. 

Things seems quiet compared to the early days.  But now there "ain't no more Indians."  Gus goes to the local bar.  There he talks with Lori, the prostitute.  Gus's ranch hand Dish has just finished being served by Lori. 

At the ranch the black man Joshua Deets is returning, accompanied by Jake Spoon.  Jake has been away from the ranch for awhile.  Gus asks Jake where has he been and Jake tells him he was up in Montana.  He says the guys should drive their cattle north.  There is big money to be made.  The guys heard there was some trouble in Arkansas.  Jakes admits that he accidentally killed a dentist who was just walking on the streets of Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Jake was inside and his bullet went out into the street killing the man.  The dead man was the mayor of the town and his brother was the sheriff, so Jake got out of town quickly. 

Fort Smith, Arkansas.  A large woman named Peach Johnson comes to the sheriff's office to ask her brother-in-law July Johnson if he is planning to catch that man Jake who killed her husband.  July tells her that it was an accident, but he will be going after the murderer.  July figures Jake is somewhere around San Antonio, Texas.  Jake's said to have a lot of friends.  Deputy Roscoe Brown says that one of Jake's friends is one of the greatest Texas Rangers that ever lived. 

Back at the ranch Gus asks Jake if he ran across Claire.  Jake says she's still married to that horse trader Bob Allen.  He did see her, but for only a minute because she has a jealous husband. 

The guys are heading into Mexico tonight to raid horses from rancher Pedro Flores.  It seems the two ranchers steal horses from each other.  Before they leave, Dish goes to see Lori.  He is very disappointed to hear the bed creaking away.  Lori is obviously with a customer. 

July goes to say goodbye to his wife of five months Elmira and step-son Joe.  Elmira tells July to take Joe with him.  He needs to see a little of the country.  July agrees.

Gus, Woodrow, Newt, Dish, Deets, Jake and Pete head out for Mexico.  They cross the Rio Grande River.  Deets hears some white men singing.  They come upon them slowly and get the drop on them.  The two fellows turn out to be the O'Brien brothers and they are drunk.  They say they are lost.  The guys tells the Irishmen that they are in Mexico on Pedro's land and Pedro will not be happy if he finds them here.  They invite the O'Briens along to help them run the horses into Texas.  The Irishmen go with them. 

The fellows grab the horses and push them north.  Deets tells them that Pedro is coming south with horses from Texas.  The fellows decide to meet Pedro head on, mix his herd in with theirs and take all the horses back to their ranch.   They do just that leaving a bewildered Pedro behind.  Jake immediately goes to see Lori. 

Fort Smith.  Peach Johnson comes to yell at Roscoe Brown.  She says he was supposed to be watching Elmira for July.  Roscoe asks if something has happened to Elmira?  Yes, she's gone.  She may have run away, maybe on that whiskey boast.  And worse, she's pregnant.  Peach demands that Roscoe go after July and tell him his wife ran away. 

The Arkansas River.  Elmira sits on the boat while a bunch of mean-looking hombres get into an argument.  All of a sudden one of the men knives another man to death.  One of the ruffians comes over to Elmira and she asks why was the man knifed?  The guy says that there was an argument about her and the guy who got stabbed was being disrespectful.  He says she's the only woman they got.  The fellow adds that she took a big chance getting on a boat with characters like them.  Moreover, Big Wade says he's going to marry her.  Elmira says he can't because she's already married. That doesn't matter to Big Wade. 

Gus runs off to town leaving the rest of the guys to finish the work of branding.  He goes in to see Lori saying he wants a "poke".  She says she won't because now she is with Jake.  Jakes takes care of her, she says.  He's taking her to San Francisco.  Gus still wants that "poke".  He puts down $50 dollars and then makes a wager with Lori.  If she picks the high card from the deck, she can have the money for free, but if he picks the high card, she can still keep the money, but he will get serviced.  Gus picks the high card and goes upstairs with Lori.  Lori suspects he cheated. 

When Gus returns to the fellows, Jake is very suspicious.  He asks where's Gus been? Gus just says he was playing cards with Lori.  The young Newt and the young Sean O'Brien talk about missing their mothers both of whom are dead.  The two guys start to become friends. 

When next Jake is with Lori, he slaps her across the face for what she did with Gus.  He adds:  "If it had been anybody but him, I would have shot him."  Lori asks Jake if he's planning on leaving without her?  She's going wherever he goes.  Jake speaks of going to San Antonio, but Lori says she's already been there and doesn't want to go back.  The next morning Lori tells Jake that they should leave today.  Lori gives Jake the $50 dollars from Gus to buy her a horse.  Dish sees Jake and Lori and is not happy about it. 

On horseback, Jake and Lori ride out to the ranch.  The ranch hands are preparing to head north on a cattle drive.  Jake says he wants to go with them as far as Denver and then they will part company.  That's fine with Gus and Woodrow.  They leave in the morning on their 2,500 mile long cattle drive. 

Gus goes back to the bar.  He says goodbye to the bar owner Xavier.  Xavier is very sad that Lori is leaving.  He tells Gus that he loved the woman and would have married her.  Gus tries to comfort him and advises that he get up to San Antonio and get himself another whore.  The piano player, Lippy, tells Gus he's going with the cattle drive.  Gus says it's all right. 

On the cattle drive the men are tested early as they run into a sand storm.  At evening time, Jake and Lori set up a tent away from the stench of the cattle.  In the night a terrible storm comes up.  In the rain a man appears and looks at the couple trying to stay dry.  A bolt of lighting hits the tree Lori's horse was tied to and knocks it over.  Her horse runs off. 

In the morning Gus brings Lori's horse back to her.  Jake is not there for the moment, but he soon shows up.  He is a bit jealous of Gus and there's tension between the two men.  Gus leaves.  Jake tells Lori to pack up because they're going to San Antonio.  Lori tells him that she doesn't want to go to San Antonio, so Jake slaps her for a second time.  Lori stands her ground.  She ain't going to San Antonio.

The Nueces River, south Texas.  Sean O'Brien is afraid to cross the river on his horse.  Newt goes first to show him how easy it is, but when he looks back at Sean who has started across he sees Sean fall into the river.  His horse was frightened by some water moccasins.  Sean lands right on the snakes and gets bitten in the face for disturbing them.   

 

      

Part II.  On the Trail. 

Sean screams bloody murder.  The men come to get him out of the water.  They pull him onto the river bank, but there's not much they can do for him.  He has been bitten too many times.  After a minute of two Sean dies.  They bury Sean near the river bank.  The cook decides to return home.  Gus gives him a horse for the journey. 

East Texas.  Roscoe Brown comes to a run down cabin.  There is an old codger there who is not very friendly.  Roscoe would like a meal and a place to stay for the night, but the guy has a young girl with him named Janie and he doesn't want any other men around her.  So Roscoe has to sleep outside without any warm dinner.  The next morning Roscoe rides out slowly.  About six miles out from the cabin Janie shows up.  She says that she's been following him and says he's way too slow.  Janie says she ran off from old Sam and she wants to go with Roscoe.  Roscoe, however, doesn't want her to come with him.  So Janie tells him she saw the man he's looking for, but she won't tell him unless she can go along.  Roscoe is a bit worried about Sam coming after them, but Janie tells him she busted his knee caps with a frying pan while he was sleeping.  Roscoe relents and Janie gets on the back of his horse. 

Bent's Fort, Colorado.  Elmira is still on the boat.  She is waiting for Big Wade.  He finally comes along driving a wagon.  In the back of the wagon is a fellow named Luke.  Elmira wants to know who this guy is.  Luke talks to her.  He says she will be glad he came along if they run into troubles with the Indians.  He says he has killed five of them and he wouldn't mind killing some more.  So Elmira says it's okay.  They are going to Ogallala.  She wants to see her husband Dee again. 

July writes Elmira a letter.  He says they crossed the Red River and that Joe likes going on the trip.  He tells Joe that they will post the letter when they get to Fort Worth. 

Gus and Woodrow go into San Antonio.  They meet a Mexican who says he can cook.  His name is Po Campo.  The two captains tell Po Campo that they need a cook.  Po Campo volunteers himself.  He says he will walk because he doesn't believe in one animal riding another.  Gus and Woodrow go into a local bar.  The bartender has a real attitude.  Gus takes it for awhile, but then slams the man's nose onto the top of the bar.  His nose is bleeding badly.  When the guy recovers a bit, Gus asks him for another glass.  The bartender starts to complain that Gus broke his nose, so Gus whacks him on the side of the head with his pistol knocking the man out. 

On their horses again Gus takes off.  Woodrow follows him.  He finds Gus skimming stones by a stream.  Gus says he was the happiest when he was by this little creek.  He and Claire found it while on a buggy ride.  He says it was the biggest mistake of his life to let Claire slip away from him.  Gus then tells Woodrow that Maggie loved with him.  Furthermore, Maggie told him that Woody was the father of her son Newt.  Woodrow says the father could have been any of the guys.  Gus says that Woodrow let Maggie down.  And that's why he is so disinterested in Newt.  Newt is a living reminder to Woodrow that he failed somebody. 

Roscoe rides, while Janie walks.  Janie sees something to her front and suddenly takes off.  This leaves Roscoe confused.  Two mean-looking guys approach him on horseback.  They are out to rob Roscoe.  They tell him to strip off his clothes.  As Roscoe starts to do as instructed, Janie throws rocks at the robbers and hits both of them.  Roscoe uses the opportunity to make a break for it.  One of the guys was hit hard and is bleeding.  He is really mad and he starts chasing Janie.   The guy fails to catch up with Janie so he comes back.  His partner has got the drop on Roscoe.  The Janie chaser aims his gun at Roscoe to shoot him.  Just then July tells the men to drop their guns.  The robbers turn around on their saddles and start shooting at July as they ride off.  July returns fire, but doesn't hit anything.

Roscoe tells July the bad news about Elmira.  Joe tells July that his mother was always like that.  She never liked staying in one place for long.  She probably went to find Dee Boot.  July replies that Elli told him that the guy died of smallpox.  Joe says he didn't die and his mother just married July when they ran out of money.  Roscoe adds that Eli is going to have a baby.  July thinks about what to do and then says:  "Let's go find her."  He says the Eli might be needing him.   Janie comes out of hiding and meets Joe.

Gus, Woodrow and Po Campo head to the cattle drive.  By the river they see Lori all by herself.  Gus goes down to see her, while Woodrow and Po Campo continue ahead.  Lori tells Gus that Jake has been gone for two days.  And he left mad.  He's in Austin.  She wants desperately to go to San Francisco.  But Gus is more interested in trying to have sex with Lori than San Francisco.  He strips down to his long johns.  He picks Lori up, walks out into the river with her and drops her in the water. 

Gus and Lori talk some more and Lori says she would go with Gus to California if he would go.   She would just let Jake make his own way out to San Francisco.  Gus has to tell her that he can't because he is bound for Ogallala to see a woman named Claire.  Lori is disappointed. 

Gus sees an Indian up on a ridge.  He tells Lori to go get him his pistol.  She does and he tells her to hide herself.   Gus sits on a rock in the shallow river.  The Indian comes right down to the river.  He keeps his rifle in his hands.  He then says he knows Gus.  Gus tells the man that he knows him too  -- Blue Duck.  Blue Duck says that if he killed Gus, he would just have to wait around to kill Woodrow and he doesn't have the time for that.  He rides slowly off walking his horse in the river.

Lori comes out of hiding.  Gus tells her that Blue Duck is a Comancheros butcher.  He thinks Blue Duck is after their horses, so he tells Lori that he is going to have to go tell Woody. Lori won't go with him, so Gus tells her that he will send someone back to watch over her.  Gus reaches the cattle drive and tells Woody about Blue Duck.  He then tells Newt to go back and watch Lori to keep her safe.  Newt heads out.  Woodrow tells the men that Blue Duck may come riding in here with a gang of men.  He sends them out to watch the cattle and reminds them to have their pistols at the ready. 

As Newt gets close to Lori he gets off his horse.  He starts practicing what he is going to say to Lori.  Absorbed deep in thought, Newt gets knocked out by a rifle butt to the head.  Gus and Deets start tracking Blue Duck.  They don't find anything and so decide that Blue Duck may have turned back already.  They turn around and go back. 

Newt's horse returns to the encampment.  The guys are very worried about him.  Jake suddenly rides up.  He says he is going to go get Lori because she is his woman.  Dee tells Jake that he is a gambling low life for letting Lori get stolen.  The two almost come to blows, but Woody breaks it up.  Newt is brought back to the encampment by one of the riders.  Jake starts yelling at Newt for letting Lori get stolen.  This makes Woody mad and he pushes Jake off his horse.  Jake hits the ground hard.  Woody tells Jake not to be yelling at the boy. 

The Llano Estacado, northwest Texas.  Blue Duck has Lori.  Gus is tracking them.  A group of Indians and two white men come to greet Blue Duck very warmly.  The men want Lori for sexual purposes.  Blue Duck gambles with the men and wins all their horses.  He then makes a deal with them.  Blue Duck wants them to kill the man (Gus) who is following him and if they do that, they can have their horses and the woman. 

Gus sees and hears a bunch of Indians charging him on horseback shooting at him.  Gus kills his horse to use as a barricade to shoot from.  He kills four of the Indians.  The rest retreat to what they think is an area out of range of Gus's rifle.  One of the white guys has a long rifle and comes close to hitting Gus.  Meanwhile, Gus's shots are falling short.  The fellow gets up and starts prancing in front of his rifle taunting Gus.  Gus puts up his long sights, shoots a little upwards and hits the man in the gut.  The fellow goes down hard.  The men decide to leave Gus alone. 

At the cattle drive Dish and Jasper get into a fight over Lori.  Woodrow breaks it up. 

Gus carrying his saddle finds the camp of July, Roscoe, Joe and Janie.  July invites Gus to have a meal with them.  The next day the five people find the encampment of Blue Duck's gang.  Gus is going to attack the camp by himself, but July decides to go with him.  The other three are left behind.  Gus catches the camp by surprise.  He attacks and is so fast and quick that he kills everyone in the camp before July can even fire his pistol.  Blue Duck is not among the dead.  Gus saves Lori from a nasty fate.

Blue Duck takes his revenge.  He finds and kills Roscoe, Joe and Janie.  When July and Gus get back they are both very upset at the horrors they see.  July feels very guilty because he left the three behind so he could help attack the camp.  Gus and he bury the three people. 

Kansas Plains.  Elmira tells Big Wade and Luke to go get them a wild turkey.  The men head out.  A little later Luke comes back and attempts to rape Eli.  Wade catches him and really bangs the man's head hard against the wagon again and again.  Eli has to scream at Wade to get him not to kill Luke.   

Jake Spoon is gambling.  He decides to throw in with a group of bank robbers, the leader of which is a real psychopath.   

Adobe Walls, n. Texas.  Gus builds a fire and Lori and he play cards.  Lori is still in a state of shock.  She finally cries, saying those men shouldn't have taken her. 

 

Part III.  The Plains. 

The Canadian River, Oklahoma Territory.  Gus and Lori catch up with the cattle drive.  The men are very happy to see him. 

Dodge City, Kansas.  July writes a letter to Peach in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  He tells her that Roscoe, Joe and a girl were all killed by a bad outlaw.  He is going on to Ogallala to look for Eli.

Gus and Lori have set up a tent a bit away from the men of the cattle drive.  Lori says that she feels that Gus doesn't want her any more.  She says Gus has not asked her for a poke in a long time.  Gus laughs and says he doesn't think it's the appropriate time for that given Lori's present state of mind. 

The four bank robbers and Jake run into three cowboys with a number of horses.  The psychopath decides to kill the three cowboys.  Jake doesn't like it and gets yelled at by the leader.  The men set up an ambush and kill the three cowboys.  But the black man among the robbers is shot badly.  The leader tells the others to finish the man off, but no one wants to do it.  So the psychopath kills the wounded man with a shot to the head. 

Deets reports that three cowboys have been killed.  A number of the guys go with Deets to see if they can find the murderers  Gus decides to go along.  He asks Dish to stay behind with Lori and watch over her. They find the three bodies.  Deets scouts around and comes back to say that Mr. Jake is ridding with the killers.  The men can't believe it, but Deets says he knows the tracks of Jake's horse, both with and without Jake in the saddle.  The men also find the body of the one dead robber. 

The robbers come upon two "sodbusters".  The psychopath tells everyone to stay behind.  He will talk to the farmers.  The leader goes over to the farmers and shoots them both dead.  Jake is shocked by the shootings, but the others are not.  They expected it because they knew the leader hates farmers.  The leader looks through the dead men's things, but only finds a watch.  Jake comments that the leader killed two men for a lousy watch.  The psychopath decides to hang the bodies of the dead sodbusters and then burn them. 

Dish gets Lori her food and brings it to her.  Lori only wants to talk with Gus. 

The men from the cattle drive find the two bodies of the farmers hanging from a tree and still smoldering from their burning.  The cattlemen are more determined than ever to catch the killers.  The posse catches up with the gang by a creek and gets the drop on them.  The gang wants to know what the posse is going to do with them.  They are going to hang the four of them, including Jake.  Jake is really shocked that they are going to hang him.  He tries to tell the guys that he didn't do any of the killing.  Gus says that Jake was riding with them, so he's one of them.  The four of them are hanged and then buried.

Near the Platte River, Nebraska.  Clara and her two girls are at their farm.  Her husband was recently kicked in the head by a horse and now appears to be in a virtual catatonic state.  Eli, Big Wade and Luke show up at the ranch.  Clara realizes that Eli is about to have her baby, so she has her brought into the house.  A baby boy is born during the night.  Eli shows no interest in the child.  She won't hold or even look at the baby.  The next morning when Clara gets up, she learns that her three houses guests have gone and left the baby behind. 

Ogallala, Nebraska.  Dee Boot is in jail.  Eli visits him there.  He tells Eli the bad news that they are going to hang him next Friday for killing a boy.  Dee says that the boy jumped the wrong way and was hit by the bullet.  Eli becomes weak and has to be taken out.  Behind she leaves quite a bit of blood where she had been standing. 

July comes riding up to the ranch belonging to Clara, Sally and Betsy.  Clara asks him if he is looking for his wife.  July is amazed that she knew this. Clara explains that Eli and two buffalo hunters stopped by the ranch two weeks ago.  She then tells July about the baby and adds that she will be brutally honest with July.  She doesn't believe that his wife wants either him or his baby.  Clara says that recently she lost her three boys and now she's getting attached to the baby, who she has named Martin.  July asks if he can leave the baby behind until he goes into town to see his wife.  Clara agrees to watch the baby.         

Gus speaks of Clara to Lori and Lori tells him that she thinks she is losing him.  She asks if he would like to marry Clara and Gus says yes.  This upsets Lori. 

In town July finds his wife sick in bed under the care of the town doctor.  He comes into the room to speak with Eli.  She does not appear to be happy to see him.  He tells her the bad new about Joe getting killed, along with Roscoe and a young girl.  Eli seems a bit sad about Joe, but not much.  It could be that she is depressed about losing Dee.  When she woke up they had already hanged him.  July says he will come see her in the morning and leaves.  The next morning July finds out that Eli and the two guys have already taken off.  They are headed to St. Louis.  The doctor tells July that he tried to convince them not to go because the Sioux are on the warpath in that area, but they wouldn't listen to him.   

July travels over to see Clara again.  She offers him a job on the ranch working with the horses.  Clara then hands the baby to July and tells him to meet his son. 

The next scene shows Eli, Wade and Luke all dead with arrows sticking out of them.  The guys have been scalped. 

Woodrow and Gus and some of the guys are in town to get supplies.  Dish and Newt with two other cowboys are out to have some fun.  Newt asks Dish where and how they can find prostitutes.  Dish tells them.  While the guys are talking, a Captain Weaver of the cavalry on horseback with other cavalry men come up to Dish and ask him how much for the horse?  Dish says the horse is not for sale, but the Captain says that they are requisitioning the horse.  Dish doesn't care what they think they are doing, the horse is not for sale.  Newt sticks up for Dish earning the ire of the army scout who starts whipping Newt with his horse whip.  When Woodrow sees this he gets on his horse, races toward the scout, bumps his horse into the scout's horse and knocks over the scout and his horse together.  He then whoops up on the scout.

Newt tells Gus that Woodrow could have killed that scout.  Why did he get so angry?  Gus stays that it's understandable since he was defending his own son.  Newt can hardly believe his ears.

Woodrow, Newt, Gus and Lori go to Clara's ranch.  Clara is very happy to see Gus and runs out of the ranch house to give him a big hug.  Clara is introduced to the others.  Woodrow has come to purchase some of Clara's horses.  Clara lets Woodrow go with the ranch hand to look over the horses.  Clara takes a real liking to Newt.  She thinks about her Sally possibly marrying Newt when she comes of age. 

Clara is a good businesswoman.  She gets her price for the horses.  Then she surprises the hell out of Woodrow by giving Newt one of her finest horses.  She negotiated so hard for her high prices and then gives a horse away for free, says Woodrow. 

Clara and Gus go into the house to talk while Lori stays with the girls.  Gus tells Clara that he does love her one and only.  Clara says that Gus would ruin Lori if he stayed with her (Clara).  She adds that she won't marry again.  Clara talks to Lori about staying on the ranch.  She says Montana is no place for a young lady.  Sally and Betsy also want Lori to stay.  So Lori stays and Gus leaves. 

Wyoming Territory, Badlands.  Moving the cattle forward Deets comes back to report that he found water, but it's 80 miles away.  The cowboys and cattle have a long, thirsty  trek to the water source, but they make it. 

Montana Territory.  It is reported that some Indians stole some horses last night.  Deets says he knows where the Indian encampment is, but it's mostly women, children and old men.  He says these people are very poor and already killed one of the horses for food.  Deets, Woodrow, Gus and Newt go over to a ridge over-looking the Indian encampment.  Woodrow fires his pistol into the air to scare the Indians away from the horses so it will be easier to recover them.  Deets sees a small boy left behind by the fleeing Indians.  He picks him up and carries him around.  A Indian boy thinks Deets is going to harm the little boy and he runs Deets through with a lance.  Gus and Woodrow finally shoot and kill the older boy.  Deets dies.  Woodrow feels guilty because they probably delayed too long in shooting the boy.  

 

Part IV. 

 The cowboys bury Deets.  Newt is very upset over his friend's death. 

Powder River, Montana Territory.  Newt asks Gus why Woody won't admit he is his father?  Gus says that Woody won't admit he's human:  he'll never do that. 

At Clara's place her husband dies and they bury him. 

Gus and Pete go out to scout the Yellowstone River.  They run into a small herd of buffalo and Gus decides to harass the buffalo by chasing them.  He rides over a hill in his chase, but soon he comes galloping back as fast as he can.  A large group of Indians are chasing him.   He has two arrows in his lower right leg.  Gus reaches Pete and they put up a defense killing several Indians, but their attackers keep coming.  They cross a small stream and on the embankment on the other side they hole up in a large depression.  In a lull in the fighting Pete removes one of the arrows, but has to dig out the other one with a knife. 

The rain starts coming down hard and soon the stream has become like a fast flowing river.  The water is getting close to reaching the depression on the embankment so Pete and Gus decide that Pete should float down the river and then walk to find help.  Pete strips off his clothes and. wearing only in his long johns, he slips into the water.  Much farther downstream he gets out of the river and starts walking.  It's a slow process because he is bare footed. 

Pete is worn out by the walking and is a bit disoriented.  A man comes along on horseback and rescues Pete.  He lets Pete ride his horse while starts walking the horse to Miles City forty miles away.  As they proceed, they run into the cattle drive.  Woody asks where's Gus?  Pete explains what happened and Woody goes to find Gus. 

Miles City, Montana Territory. 

Woody gets Gus over to the doctor's place.  When Woody comes back the doctor tells him that he had to remove Gus's right leg.  The doctor now wants to take off the left leg too, but Gus won't let the doctor do it, in spite of the fact that it will literally be the death of him.  Gus says there are certain thing that his vanity just won't abide.  He has Woody promise him to bury him beside the old stream in Texas where he had such happy times with Clara.  Woody promises him.  He then tells Woody to sell his share of the cattle and give the money to Lori.  Gus also insists that Woody tell Newt that he is his daddy.  Woody protests that he doesn't really know that Newt is his son.  Gus tells Woody that he is too stubborn.  He writes short letters to Lori and Clara.  Gus tells Woody:  "By God, Woodrow, it's been quite a party ain't it?" and promptly dies. 

Woody tells the funeral director that he will come back next spring to pick up Gus's body.  He then returns to the cattle drive.  Woody has the men gather together and tells them that Gus is dead from blood poisoning.  Woody also tells the men that they are going to build a ranch in the little valley here. 

Dish wants to leave and the cook goes with him.  Newt, Jasper and Pete get ready to drive a large group of cattle over to Fort Benton to sell them.   Jasper has a big mouth that he used to infuriate Dish and now he uses it against Newt.  The two get into a fight, but this time Woody does not interfere.  Newt loses, but he picks himself up and just tells Jasper to get on his horse:  "We got cattle to drive."

Spring comes again to the valley and Woody watches as Newt breaks in some of the horses.  Woody tells him that he will now be the range boss.  He then gives Newt his father's watch.  Woody tries to acknowledge that he is Newt's father but can't quite get the words out. 

Woody picks up Gus's body.  His plan is to drive the body in the wagon all the way back to Texas. 

At Clara's place Lori still waits for the return of Gus.  She learns that Gus is dead.  Clara says it's good that Lori stayed behind because she would have been stuck up in Montana where everyman would be wanting her love.  Woody arrives with the casket.  Clara wants to bury Gus up on the ridge with her sons, but Woody says he promised Gus to bury him in that old picnic spot back in Texas.  At supper everyone is present, including Dish.  He sees Lori go outside to stand near Gus's casket and goes outside too.  She says:  "I won't forget you Gus."  She then faints.  Dish rushes over to her and picks her up to bring her into the house.

Woody prepares to leave and Clara uses this time to tell Woody what she thinks of him.  She says she is sorry that Woody and Gus ever met.  She says:  "I despised you then for what you are and I despise you now for what you're doing."  Clara tells Woody that she never married Gus because Gus was always going off with Woody and she knew he would never settle down. 

Santa Rosa, New Mexico Territory.  Woody finds that wherever he goes with the casket people have heard about it already.  He asks a resident of the town why there are so many people in town?  The man tells him that Blue Duck is going to be hanged for killing a family.  Woody goes in to talk to Blue Duck and finds him to be his usual bitter self, filled with defiance.  It's no use in Woody trying to say anything to the man.  He tells the jailer that he just wanted to see the man and now he's done that.  Woody stays for the execution.  When Blue Duck is taken from his cell he grabs a deputy and pushes him through a window and they both fall to the street.  The fall kills both men. 

Crossing a river, the casket gets loose and start floating downstream.  It crashes into some obstacle and breaks up releasing Gus's body which is wrapped tight in gauze like a mummy.  Woody recovers the body, puts it on a home-made stretcher and has the horse pull the stretcher the rest of the way. 

Woody buries Gus on an embankment overlooking the old picnic spot.  He sheds a few tears for his dear friend. 

Woody returns to his old ranch there is Lonesome Dove.  The cook can't believe it's really Woody who now has the sad duty of having to tell the cook that Jake, Deets and Gus are all dead. Woody visits the nearby town and learns that the old saloon burned down about a year ago.  The owner locked himself in a room and burned the place down around him.  A news-reporter wants to ask Woody a few questions.  He too has heard of Woody and the 3,000 mile trip he made to bury his friend in Texas.  The reporter tells Woody:  "They say you're a man of vision."  Woody responds with a little scoff:  "Yeah.  Hell of a vision!" 

Woody became the first man to establish a ranch in Montana.   

 

Thoroughly enjoyable show.  Both my wife and I enjoyed it.  Robert Duvall was excellent as the wise old man still filled with wanderlust.  The mini-series weave together quite a few different stories very well with the characters always crossing each others' paths.  The series gives a good idea of some of the obstacles faced by the cowboys on a cattle drive, including outlaws, hostile Indians and flashfloods. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

Charles Goodnight --  best known rancher in Texas; sometimes known as the "father of the Texas Panhandle."

1812  --  birth of Oliver Loving in Hopkins County, Kentucky. 

1835-1836  --  Texas won its independence in the Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence against Mexico. 

1836 --  Charles Goodnight born in Macoupin County, Illinois, east of St. Louis, Missouri. 

1845  --  Loving moves to the Republic of Texas. 

1846  --  Goodnight moved to Texas with his mother and stepfather, Hiram Daugherty.

1855  --  the Lovings moved to the future Palo Pinto County, Texas.  There then ran a country store.

1856  --   Goodnight became a cowboy.  With the local militia, he fought against Comanche raiders. 

1857  --  21 year old Goodnight joined the Texas Rangers.  (He guided Texas Rangers to the Indian camp where Cynthia Ann Parker was recaptured.  He also made a treaty with her son, Quanah Parker.) 

1857  --  Loving owned a large cattle herd on 1,000 acres of land.

1861  --  Goodnight joined to fight with the Confederate States of America.  (He mostly guarded against Indian raids.)  During the war, Loving drove cattle to Confederates along the Mississippi River. 

1865  --  after the end of the Civil War, Goodnight returned to Texas.  From west Texas he herded feral Texas Longhorn cattle northward to railroads.

1866  --  with a great need for cattle in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, Loving gathered a herd and combined it with the herd of Goodnight. 

1866  --  30 year old Goodnight and 54 year old Oliver Loving drove a cattle herd northward on the future Goodnight-Loving Trail.  Goodnight invented the chuck wagon.  In New Mexico they formed a partnership with cattleman John Chisum for future contracts to supply cattle to the U.S. Army. 

1867  --  Oliver Loving was wounded in a Comanche raid and died of gangrene.   (Goodnight carried the body from New Mexico to Weatherford in Parker County, Texas for burial, as requested by Loving..)  Goodnight and Chisum extended the trail from New Mexico to Colorado (and on to Wyoming). 

1870  --  Goodnight married Mary Ann "Molly" Dyer, a Weatherford teacher.  Goodnight and Molly established the Goodnight Academy giving post-elementary educations to hundreds of rancher children.

1876  --  Goodnight founded the JA Ranch in the Palo Duro Canyon, south Texas Panhandle. (He partnered with the Irish businessman John George Adair.)

1880  --  Goodnight helped found the Panhandle Stockman's Association.

1885  --  Adair dies.  For awhile Goodnight worked in partnership with Adair's widow, Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie Adair.  (Goodnight preserved a herd of buffalo.)

1926  --  Molly died.

1927  --  91 year old Goodnight married the much younger Corinne Goodnight.

1929  --  death of Goodnight. 

 

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