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[[caption-width-right:340:Robert Duvall as Gus [=MacCrae=] and Creator/TommyLeeJones as Woodrow Call]]
-> ''I wanna do it, Gus. I wanna see that country, before the bankers and lawyers all git it.''
-->-- '''Captain Woodrow Call'''
''Lonesome Dove'' is the name of a highly-regarded [[TheWestern Western]] novel by Larry [=McMurtry=] published in 1985. It was also adapted into a 1989 Emmy-winning four-episode television miniseries. It is considered the first part of a trilogy, with the second being ''Film/OpenRange'' and the third being ''Film/BrokenTrail.'' Two prequel novels, Dead Man's Walk and Comanche Moon were subsequently published.
In 1876, former Texas Rangers Captains Augustus [=McCrea=] and Woodrow Call run a livery in the small border town of Lonesome Dove. When their old colleague Jake Spoon arrives with tales of the unsettled territory in Montana, Call is inspired to drive of cattle there to start a ranch.
* AnnoyingArrows: Heavily averted; several people are killed by them and bow-wielding natives are considered a serious threat. In [[spoiler: Gus's]] case, he sustains a "mere" hit to the leg with an arrow [[RealityEnsues and subsequently dies a few days later after the wound becomes gangrenous.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: and ''how''
* BadassMustache: Gus stands out, though he's hardly the only one.
* BerserkButton: Do '''not''' hit Newt when Woodrow Call is around.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: When facing hanging, both [[spoiler: Jake and Blue Duck]] decide to preempt their execution. [[spoiler: Jake, who was being hanged from a tree branch, spurred his horse out from under himself before Gus could do it. Blue Duck, when about to be led from his fourth-story cell to the gallows, broke away from his guards and jumped out a window.]]
** In ''Dead Man's Walk'', Shadraq and Bigfoot Wallace warn the young Rangers to slit their own throats rather than letting the Comanche take them alive.
* BreakTheCutie: Newt, Lori, July... Frontier life is hard, and bad things happen to good people all the time.
* BrilliantButLazy: Gus is a competent tracker, skilled in a gunfight, and generally an all-around impressive individual - when he can be bothered. Left to his own devices, he'll just drink on the porch with an occasional trip to a whorehouse. Jake Spoon ''thinks'' he's this, but [[TheSlacker he's not.]]
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Famous Shoes, a Kickapoo Indian employed by the Rangers as a tracker. His own tribe finds him strange as hell, he walks everywhere and refuses to ride a horse, but he can track a grasshopper across a hundred miles of bare rock. He also speaks [[CunningLinguist English, Spanish, and Comanche]], and is very familiar with the religions, cultures, myths, and customs of the various tribes of Texas and Northern Mexico. Captain Scull describes him, without reservation, as a genius. Plus the Comanche are forbidden from harming him, thanks to a favor he once did for Buffalo Hump's mother.
* BuryMeNotOnTheLonePrairie: Woodrow Call brings [[spoiler: Gus [=MacCrae=]'s]] body across the country so he can be buried in his favorite orchard.
* CattleDrive: the whole basis of the plot
* CoolOldGuy: Bigfoot Wallace and Shadraq in ''Dead Man's Walk''. Gus has become one in ''Lonesome Dove''.
%%* DiesWideOpen: [[spoiler:Deets]]
%%* TheDrifter: Gus, also, Jake Spoon
* DrivenToSuicide [[spoiler:Xavier, out of loneliness, and Jake Spoon]]
* GenreDeconstruction: [=McMurtry=] [[http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/larry-mcmurtry-brokeback-mountain-last-kind-words intended]] the series to be one for the Western genre, but feels that a lot of people missed out on this.
%%* GrumpyOldMan: Call
%%* HeroicBastard: Newt
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Gus and Call.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Lorena
%%** Maggie, Newt's late mother, who appears in the prequels ''Dead Man's Walk'' and ''Commanche Moon''.
* IAteWhat: When recruiting a new cook in San Antonio, Po Campo asks Gus and Call to try something he made. Call pops it in his mouth and says "Dang, that's tasty!" What exactly is it? "Grasshopper." Cue SpitTake.
%%* InvulnerableHorses: Averted.
%%* MagicalNegro: Deets practically is one.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: The Army scout gets one from Woodrow when he tries to force Newt and Dish to sell their horses with his fists.
--> '''Capt. Woodrow F. Call:''' [to onlookers] I can't abide rude behavior in a man...I ''won't'' tolerate it!
* RealPersonCameo: Anyone familiar with Texas history will probably recognize Bigfoot Wallace, [[ArtisticLicenseHistory though he didn't actually die that way.]] Buffalo Hump (whose [[TactfulTranslation actual Comanche name]] literally translated as "Man's Hard Dick") was a real Comanche chief at the time of the story. Legendary Texas Ranger Charlie Goodnight (whose life actually inspired this story) appears briefly in ''Dead Man's Walk'' to advise the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition to turn back.
** Goodnight was such a badass that he was already a living legend among the Texas Rangers ''[[AnachronismStew six years before he was born]]''.
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: Everyone, but especially Deets and Famous Shoes.
* TakingYouWithMe: When [[spoiler: Blue Duck]] pulls his high-dive, he drags a lawman with him.
* TimeShiftedActor: Gus and Woodrow are played as teenage Texas Ranger recruits by David Arquette and Johnny Lee Miller in ''Dead Man's Walk'', as Rangers in their late 20s/early 30s by Steve Zahn and Karl Urban in ''Comanche Moon'', and as old men retired from the Rangers by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in ''Lonesome Dove''.
%%* TheLancer: Gus
%%* TheStoic: Woodrow Call
* StuffedIntoTheFridge: In Streets of Laredo, the author discontinuously revisits [[spoiler: Lorena Wood's]] kidnapping from the Lonesome Dove, in flashback in order to add in a characteristically gruesome scene where a child is kidnapped and burned to death, [[ForTheEvulz just so we hate the main villain more.]]
* SuperWindowJump: [[spoiler: Blue Duck]] throws himself out of a high window.