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YMMV / Lonesome Dove

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  • Awesome Moments:
    • Capt. Woodrow F. Call is normally stoic and grouchy, the sort of man who loves his boy Newt so much, he almost told him. However, when he sees an Army scout whipping young Newt while trying to seize their horses, he goes full Papa Wolf, riding in and beating the living fuck out the scout. Not one [armed] man in the scout's detachment dares to interfere, and it takes Gus riding up with a lasso to pull Call away before he can kill the sorry son of a bitch. The Captain hates rude behavior in a man.
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    • Angry over Newt being chosen to lead the drive to market once they reach Montana, Jasper trips the boy and picks yet another fight. Newt, by now as fed up with Jasper's bullshit as everyone else, challenges him to a fistfight. He doesn't win against his bigger, meaner colleague, but he nevertheless dusts himself off and takes charge of the drive as Captain Call ordered, with his dignity perfectly intact.
  • Awesome Music: The score by Basil Poledouris, which won an Emmy.
  • Complete Monster: Blue Duck is a half-breed Indian who prowls the wilderness outside the towns. Feared by all who know him, Blue Duck is a slaver who kidnaps those he can and sells them for a tidy sum, especially women. Blue Duck kidnaps the Hooker with a Heart of Gold Lori and allows his companions to rape her on a daily basis, splitting her between his Indian and cowboy followers. When one of his men is gut shot, Blue Duck refuses to let any other put the henchman out of his misery and even allows his Indian followers to castrate and scalp him, with barely concealed amusement. Blue Duck murders several other people, including a luckless child who crosses his path and after his initial escape, he is found in a jail later sentenced to hang. Unwilling to die like that, Blue Duck seizes a guard and throws the two of them out of the window, refusing to meet his end without taking someone with him.
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  • Jerkass Woobie: Jake Spoon is not a man of good character; he's lazy, self-absorbed, conniving, and disrespectful to women. But he's not an evil man, making his fate a tragic one when he falls in with a gang of actually evil men and is unable to break off once he discovers he's in too deep. He is hanged by his own friends when the law catches up to them all.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • At the end of the first episode, as the cattle drive is crossing a river, they encounter a swarm of water moccasins which attack and kill one man. The last shot of the episode is a snake biting his cheek.
    • Pretty much everything having to do with Blue Duck, a murderer, slaver and rapist feared by everyone who knows about him and for very good reason. Some standout moments include handing Lori over to be raped by his men, and then ambushing and effortlessly murdering Roscoe, Janey and Joe, a little boy. The last one he even laughs about.
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  • Special Effects Failure: This was a very big-budget miniseries, and everything the cameras picked up looks terrific. However, the few post-production effects used in the series are pretty terrible, like the lightning storm during the cattle drive or the obviously matted-in vultures flying overhead in one shot.
  • Tear Jerker: You'd better believe it.
    • Sean being bitten by water moccasins and dying almost immediately afterwards. His brother tries to sing his favorite song at the funeral, but he's too overcome with grief to finish it, only getting a little in before breaking down crying.
    • July burying Roscoe, Janey, and his stepson, Joey, after Blue Duck murdered them all. The poor man even blames himself because he ignored Gus's advice to stay behind to watch over them, and accompanied Gus to save Lori instead. It turned out Gus didn't even need July's help, as he gunned down all the kidnappers on his own.
      • July finally tracking down Elmira and breaking the news about Roscoe and Joe. Her reaction? She doesn't have one, instead ignoring the news and only lamenting that her ex-husband Dee had been hanged a few days prior. The viewer has already seen that Ellie is one hell of a selfish woman with no regard for any one or anything outside her tiny sphere (made most evident when she thoughtlessly discards her newborn child and leaves him with Clara), but poor July actually loved her, and the realization of what sort of person she really is hits him hard.
    • A traumatized Lori breaking down crying in Gus's arms after she'd been raped by Blue Duck's men.
      • A more subtle one is when Jake slaps her over a minor argument early in the first part. Her almost total lack of a reaction suggests that she has gotten very much used to this kind of harsh treatment.
    • Gus loses a leg to gangrene, and when faced with losing the other leg, he chooses to die of infection rather than live as an invalid.


Example of: