- Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western
Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae (Robert Duvall) and Captain Woodrow F. Call (Tommy Lee Jones), two famous ex-Texas Rangers, run a livery called the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium in the small dusty Texas border town of Lonesome Dove. Smooth, charming and easy going, Gus loves women and women return the sentiments, but he’s twice a widower and he never marries the love of his life, Clara (Angelica Huston). Although he had proposed many a time, she had rejected him every time because, in her words, Gus is “a rambler,” and she despises Call because she feels jealous of the years Gus spent with him instead of her. She needed to settle down and have a family and a good life; he was brave and a dead aim, but was lazy and prone to wandering away for another adventure.
Whereas McCrae is warm, good natured, and understanding of people, Captain Call, Gus’s best friend and partner, is the opposite: a work-aholic taskmaster, who hides in his work, he is emotionally cut off. He is afraid “to admit he’s human,” according to McCrae. He only loved one woman, a whore named Maggie, who gave birth to his only son, Newt. Though he knows he is his bastard son’s father, he refuses to admit it and give Newt his name. He is hypercompetent at his work to compensate for his complete failure at human relationships. He is cold and driven by pride and honor, not love. Even when he drags the body of the only human who ever understood him and loved him anyway over 2000 miles across the Great Plains, suffering ridicule and hardship, he claims he is doing for duty, not friendship. He is the Western version of Captain Ahab whose reckless stubbornness ends in tragedy.
Ogallala also happens to be the destination of Elmira, the wife of Sheriff Johnson, as she runs away to meet up with her true love, Dee Boot. So the three groups head north. They encounter horse thieves, murderers, hostile Indians, inclement weather and a few inner demons.