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Return to Lonesome Dove (TV Mini Series)  rating

Review: written 2008

A satisfying - if not exceptional - revisit of much loved characters

 Return to Lonesome Dove (TV Mini Series)

The original Lonesome Dove was a milestone in cinema - a big budget epic, which was driven by developments in characters rather than events. So how to follow such an evocative drama? Well, surprisingly well as it happens - by continuing the coming of age of Newt, Captain Calls unacknowledged son. Events this time are more event driven, with a faster pace than Lonesome Dove. Following the death and burial of Gus in the first series, the Captain gathers a new crew to take a herd of horses North to his new ranch. Meantime, the ranch is having its own difficulties, and Newt falls in with a rancher played by Oliver Reed, not least due to the allure of his wife, played by a surprisingly young looking Reese Witherspoon. Events move on at a fair lick, smoothing over the occasional plot holes and helping disguise the fact that Jon Voight struggles to keep up a Tommy Lee Jones impersonation throughout. Rick Schroeder (Newt) is the star performer here, given the bulk of the character growth in the story. Apart from his role, the women in the story are well served, driving events as well as being victim to them.

If this series distinguishes itself, it is in portraying a fascinating period of history as the ranches and ranchers that formed them grew in a land struggling to find an identity and sense of order.

There is a big hole however in the absence of that delicate first hand understanding that Simon West the director and Larry McMurty the author brought to Lonesome Dove.. its feeling of realism is much diluted here. Notwithstanding this deficiency, this is still much superior to other mini series of the same ilk, and well worth a watch.

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