"Lonesome Dove" Return (TV Episode 1989) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)


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"There ain't nothing better than riding a fine horse into a new country."
classicsoncall18 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The final episode of this mini-series ends on a somber note for both of the main principals, Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall), and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones). In some ways, this closing episode might be considered the best of the series, or alternatively the least satisfying. For those who like their movies to have a happy ending, you certainly won't find it here. The fate of Gus is determined by a set of circumstances he had no control over, while Call's dogged refusal to own up to his parentage concludes the story on a pensive note.

The scenes of Call hauling Gus's coffin around on his way back home to Lonesome Dove is actually pretty gruesome if you think about it. Even more gruesome perhaps than having a look at the bloody stump the doctor left Gus with when he completed the amputation. If Call hadn't been so pig-headed about keeping Gus's promise, he would have taken Clara Allen's (Anjelica Huston) advice and buried him in her private cemetery. But then, Call wouldn't have been Call, stubborn to the point of obsessiveness to honor a man's dying wish.

This final entry of the series also deals a final hand to the fate of outlaw Indian Blue Duck (Frederic Forrest). Arrested and jailed for yet another family butchery, Blue Duck vows that his final fate would be sealed by an old woman who taught him how to fly. With Blue Duck's dying plunge out the jail window, witnessed by Call, I thought it would have been appropriate for Call's final comment to mention something about the old woman's skipping the part on how to land.

Since it came up a number of times in the story, I was intrigued by the seeming Latin phrase inscribed on the Hat Creek Company sign that traveled with the cattle herd to Montana and back again with McCrae's body. Written as 'uva-uvam vivendo varia fit', turns out it's a corrupted version of a Latin phrase that literally means 'a grape changes color when it sees another grape'. On the face of it, that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the "Lonesome Dove" story, but on a deeper level, may be author Larry McMurtry's way of interpreting the characters in the story who went through many personal changes during the course of the picture.
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