Overall | Lonesome Dove (1989) | Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) | Streets of Laredo (1995) | Dead Man's Walk (1996)

Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection (1989)

Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection (1989) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Overall Package

     There have been a number of Lonesome Dove DVD collections; some collections are similar to this Australian release but are very pricey, others have the 4 miniseries on single DVDs. The most complete set available, if you can get it, is the Australian Region Free 16 disc Lonesome Dove: Ultimate Collection which includes the same 4 films we have plus the 2008 prequel Comanche Moon and the 21 episodes of the TV series. However, this 8 disc release from ViaVision is reasonably priced for this collection of four miniseries.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, February 08, 2019
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Lonesome Dove (1989) | Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) | Streets of Laredo (1995) | Dead Man's Walk (1996)

Lonesome Dove (1989)

Lonesome Dove (1989) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Miniseries Featurette-On Location with Director Simon Wincer (15:15)
Gallery-Blueprints of a Masterpiece (3:37)
Featurette-Remembering Lonesome Dove (13:38)
Featurette-Lonesome Dove Montage (3:13)
Interviews-Crew-Interview with Author Larry McMurtry (6:51)
Featurette-The Making of An Epic (49:27)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 372:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Simon Wincer
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Robert Duvall
Tommy Lee Jones
Danny Glover
Diane Lane
Robert Urich
Frederic Forrest
D.B. Sweeney
Rick Schroder
Anjelica Huston
Chris Cooper
Timothy Scott
Glenne Headly
Barry Corbin
Case ?
RPI ? Music Basil Poledouris


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Lonesome Dove is a tiny, dust blown village in South Texas on the border with Mexico where two aging ex-Texas Rangers, Gus McCrae (Robert Duval) and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones), eke out a living, really going nowhere. Things change when an old friend, Jake (Robert Urich), another ex-Texas Ranger and a loose cannon they have not seen for 10 years, arrives at Lonesome Dove, fleeing Fort Smith Arkansas where he accidently killed the town mayor. Jake persuades Gus and Woodrow that they can make their fortune driving a herd of cattle from Texas north all the way across America to Montana. Jake also takes up with the town prostitute Lorena (Diane Lane) as Gus and Woodrow gather their crew, including black scout Deets (Danny Glover), Dish (D. B. Sweeney), who loves Lorena, young boy Newt (Ricky Schroder), Pea Eye (Timothy Scott) and Jasper (Barry Tubb) and set out with a herd of cattle and horses, plus two piglets, for the drive.

     In Fort Smith Sheriff July Johnson (Chris Cooper) is goaded by the dead mayor’s wife into leaving town to catch Jake; after he leaves with his young son, his wife Elmira (Glenne Headly) flees town on a whiskey barge and meets up with Zwey (Frederick Coffin) and the slimy Luke (Steve Buscemi) with the intention of travelling to Ogallala, Nebraska.

     Along the drive the herd and the cowboys face the elements including dust storms, blizzards, electrical storms and badlands, death from snakes, Indians and outlaws, Lorena is adducted by renegade Blue Duck (Frederick Forest), the paths of Gus and July cross as July abandons his search for Jake and instead tracks Elmira, Jake falls in with a psychopathic killer with resulting tragic consequences and in Nebraska Gus looks up the only woman he ever loved but lost 16 years previously, Clara Anjelica Huston, now a mother with a dying husband. And at the end of the trail there is a new life in Montana for some, and disappointment for others.

     The Emmy winning Lonesome Dove is based on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel by Larry McMurtry and is one of the most critically acclaimed and popular TV mini-series ever produced. It is directed by Australian Simon Wincer whose feature credits include Phar Lap (1983) and The Lighthorsemen (1987). The mini-series format of four feature length episodes allows time for the characters to be developed into genuine, interesting personalities which is a boon for this fabulous cast that is more feature film than TV including Oscar winners Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston, Chris Cooper and Steve Buscemi. Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones are fabulous as the old bickering friends, like an old married couple, one as garrulous as the other is taciturn with some delicious deadpan dialogue, while Robert Urich as the charismatic and dangerous Jake and Ricky Schroder as the young boy who grows into a man are also standouts in an excellent cast.

     Lonesome Dove also looks like a feature film. The detail in the grimy, sweaty costumes and the dilapidated buildings is exceptional and the series, filmed on location in New Mexico and Texas by DP Douglas Milsome, looks great. Of interest is the fact that the 2nd unit DP is Australian cinematographer Dean Semler who shortly after this won an Oscar for his work on Dances with Wolves (1990). The sweeping vistas of cattle moving through desert, plains, rivers and snow are supported by the epic score of Basil Poledouris, whose wonderful scores for Conan the Barbarian (1982) and RoboCop (1987) are criminally underrated.

     Lonesome Dove is not really about action, or the cattle drive, although there are action sequences and the images of the herd being driven across the varied landscapes is stirring. But at its core Lonesome Dove is about friendship, adversity and lost loves. It is the well-rounded and interesting characters, well-acted by the impressive cast, that makes Lonesome Dove the compelling, Emmy winning and still very watchable mini-series that it is.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Lonesome Dove is in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced in NTSC. The IMDb indicates that the series was shown on TV in 1.33:1 while a Blu-ray was in 1.78:1 widescreen. The series also did get a later theatrical release.

     Exteriors are crisp with fine detail. Interiors vary; some are quite soft and there are sections of obvious noise, especially on disc 2 such as the scene around the 47 minute mark in Episode 3 or 24:33 and 34:48 in Episode 4. Otherwise there are minor artefacts, some glare and motion blur against mottled backgrounds such as leaves and weatherboard walls. Colours are natural with magnificent blue skies, red sunsets, green leaves and dry brown prairie. Blacks are solid and shadow detail very good, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     There are no subtitles provided.

     The layer change on disc 1 at 17:17 during episode 2 resulted in a slight pause; disc 2 was more noticeable at 22:33 during episode 4 at the end of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and there are French and Spanish dubs in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps . The original series audio was mono.

     I found the remastered audio into 5.1 rather uneven. The surrounds and rears featured constant sound, the wind, bird cries, stampeding animals, banging doors, the storm, hooves over a wooden bridge, voices and wagon wheels in towns although the effects often came over as unnaturally loud swamping the dialogue, thus it was sometimes difficult to hear. Gunshots were crisp. The subwoofer added rumble to the hooves of stampeding animals, wagon wheels, the storm and the like. The sweeping, epic score by Basil Poledouris supported the visuals well.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Disc 1

On Location with Director Simon Wincer (15:15)

     An extended interview with Simon Wincer interspersed with film footage. He talks about being an Australian in Texas directing a quintessential American story, reconstructing the real west, his favourite scene and the actors.

Blueprints of a Masterpiece (3:37)

     Director Simon Wincer shows original sketches and concept drawings, the film script and storyboards with extracts from the film.

Remembering Lonesome Dove (13:38)

     An EPK style featurette with film footage and comments by Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, DB Sweeney, Diane Lane and Anjelica Huston. They cover the script, talk about their characters, working with Robert Duval, making a different kind of western and the portrayal of the women characters.

Lonesome Dove Montage (3:13)

     The film in 3 minutes, with music.

Interview with Author Larry McMurtry (6:51)

     With rather noisy audio the Pulitzer Prize-Winning author talks about the evolution of the Lonesome Dove novel, revisiting his characters in subsequent books, his working methods and the relationship between Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

Disc 2

The Making of an Epic (49:27)

     Produced in 1991, this featurette has a breathless narration by Charles Riley, on-set and film footage and comments by director Simon Wincer, screenwriter Bill Wittliff, cast Robert Duval, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Rick Schroder, Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston, the wrangler, costume designer, assistant costumer, production designer and stunt coordinator. Parts of some of the interviews are also in the “Remembering Lonesome Dove” featurette on the other disc. Things covered include the source novel, the characters, selecting and working with the horses, cows and pigs, the costumes, town and building sets and the stunts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This release from of Lonesome Dove is part of the 8 disc Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection (see details in the summary section below). Lonesome Dove has been released previously as a stand-alone film or as part of various Lonesome Dove collections; some collections are similar to our release but seem very pricey, others have the 4 miniseries’ on single DVDs. The most complete release is the 16 disc Lonesome Dove: Ultimate Collection which includes the same 4 films we have plus the 2008 prequel Comanche Moon and the 21 episodes of the TV series. Our 8 disc release from ViaVision includes all the extra features available elsewhere and is reasonably priced.

Summary

     Lonesome Dove is a wonderful portrayal of the old west, its beauty, dangers and idiosyncrasies. As a late 1980s TV series, the sex and rape are only implied, the violence is moderate as is any bad language but with a literate script in which the outcomes are seldom obvious or expected, wonderful characters and a stellar cast in top form, Lonesome Dove retains its power after 30 years.

    The video and audio have imperfections but are acceptable, the extras are genuine and worthwhile.

     Lonesome Dove with the four episodes on two DVDs is included in the 8 DVD Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection from ViaVision together with Return to Lonesome Dove (1993), Streets of Laredo (1995) and Dead Man’s Walk (1996).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Lonesome Dove (1989) | Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) | Streets of Laredo (1995) | Dead Man's Walk (1996)

Return to Lonesome Dove (1993)

Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Miniseries None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 345:17
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mike Robe
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Jon Voight
Barbara Hershey
William Peterson
Ricky Schroder
Oliver Reed
Reese Witherspoon
Nia Peeples
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Timothy Scott
Barry Tubb
Dennis Haysbert
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Ken Thorne


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     After the success of the critically acclaimed and popular TV mini-series Lonesome Dove it was inevitable that there would be a sequel. Return to Lonesome Dove, produced four years later, starts right where Lonesome Dove concluded with ex-Texas Ranger Woodrow Call (now played by Jon Voight) in Lonesome Dove, Texas, where he has just buried the body of his old friend Gus McCrae.

     Woodrow decides to take a bunch of wild mustangs from Texas to Montana via the ranch in Nebraska owned by Clara (now Barbara Hershey). To help in the drive Woodrow enlists another ex-Texas Ranger, Gideon Walker (William Peterson), horse wrangler Isom (Louis Gossett, Jr.) and, through Augostina (Nia Peeples), a Mexican woman with her own agenda, a group of Mexican horsemen. In Montana, Newt (Ricky Schroder) is range boss in Woodrow’s absence, building up the ranch with the support of Pea Eye (Timothy Scott) and dealing with Jasper (Barry Tubb) who remains resentful at being passed over. In a fight with rustlers, Newt saves the life of Ferris Dunnigan (Reese Witherspoon), the much younger wife of Gregor Dunnigan (Oliver Reed), the wealthiest rancher in the district and a man who has an ambition to unite the cattlemen across Montana and forge a new state.

     Woodrow sends Newt a telegram to meet him at Clara’s ranch in Nebraska and sets out himself, leaving the mustangs with Isom. On his way north he comes into deadly conflict with the renegade Cherokee Jack Jackson (Dennis Haysbert) and barely escapes with his life. Meanwhile Newt and Jasper, on their way to Nebraska, kill two men in a barroom gunfight. They are in gaol facing lynching when they are saved by Gregor Dunnigan; they are paroled to Gregor and start work at his ranch, where Newt becoming uncomfortably close to Mrs Dunnigan. Elsewhere Cherokee Jack comes across the mustangs, Augostina fights off attempted rapists and disaster hits Clara and her ranch while in Montana Call and Dunnigan find themselves in opposition with a range war looming.

     Lonesome Dove was based on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel by Larry McMurtry, and was a multi-layered and multi-character epic western with a fabulous cast including Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. It would be expecting too much for any sequel to live up to Lonesome Dove and Return to Lonesome Dove doesn’t, although taken on its own terms it gives it a good shot. Tommy Lee Jones did not return, preferring to star in The Fugitive. Nevertheless Return to Lonesome Dove still boasts a more than decent cast with Jon Voight, Oliver Reed, Barbara Hershey, Louis Gossett, Jr., Reese Witherspoon and Chris Cooper on board. Jon Voight takes on the role of Woodrow Call and does an excellent job, almost making us forget Tommy Lee Jones, almost. Anjelica Huston does not return as Clare and while Barbara Hershey is OK, Huston is certainly a loss. One of the most interesting characters is that of Pea Eye as played Timothy Scott in both series; he is a reasonable and sympathetic man and perhaps the conscience of this mini-series.

     Return to Lonesome Dove, filmed on location on the plains, desert, rivers and woods of Texas and Montana by cinematographer Kees Van Oostrum (who received an Emmy nomination for his work on episode 2), still looks spectacular, especially the snow clad mountains of Montana, although new director Mike Robe, who replaces Australian Simon Wincer, is rather too fond of tracking shots up hills leading to reveals. However, the visuals are well supported by the epic score of Ken Thorne which borrows heavily from Basil Poledouris’ themes from Lonesome Dove.

     Perhaps the main factor that lets Return to Lonesome Dove down is the script. Lonesome Dove was adapted by William D. Wittliff who had the Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel by Larry McMurtry to work with. Return to Lonesome Dove is not based on a McMurtry novel, nor is Wittliff involved; instead the writer is John Wilder and his script lacks the character building, or indeed the depth of characterisations, of the earlier mini-series. Instead Return to Lonesome Dove relies on a more episodic structure, contrivances, sick children, melodramatic moments, romance and clichéd characters with few character arcs and nothing matches the beautiful inter-relationship between Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in the earlier series.

     Return to Lonesome Dove is about family, parents and children and the key is Newt, who will be forced to make a choice between a father who will not even give him his name and a surrogate father who would give him everything. It is a decent epic western mini-series and well worth watching, although it lacks the well-rounded characters and the script that made Lonesome Dove so compelling.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Lonesome Dove is in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

     The video is a mixed bag. Some exteriors are sharp and crisp with excellent detail, others are quite soft. Interiors also vary; some very glary with the source of light windows behind the character. Colours, especially in the desert scenes, are dull and dusty, which is reasonable enough although the greens of the tree leaves and blues of the sky and rivers of Montana are less than vibrant; in contrast, the red of the wildfire that destroys Clara’s ranch certainly is. There are also minor artefacts, motion blur, some flickering frames and shudder during the end titles of episode 3 but nothing too serious. Blacks are solid and shadow detail good, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     No subtitles are provided.

     The layer change on both discs was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192; it is surround encoded.

     The audio gets the job done. Dialogue is clean and the effects, such as gunshots, galloping horses, horses splashing through streams or Indian war cries, are loud and crisp enough. The surrounds featured mostly ambient sounds, such as bird calls, the herd sounds and especially the music. The subwoofer was not really used. The score by Ken Thorne, drawing on Basil Poledouris’ themes, supported the visuals well.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     No extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This release of Return to Lonesome Dove is part of the 8 disc Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection (see details in the summary section below). Return to Lonesome Dove has been released elsewhere as a stand-alone DVD and as part of various Lonesome Dove DVD collections; some collections are similar to our release but are very pricey, others have the 4 series on single DVDs. The most complete set available, if you can get it, is the Australian Region Free 16 disc Lonesome Dove: Ultimate Collection which includes the same 4 films we have plus the 2008 prequel Comanche Moon and the 21 episodes of the TV series. Our 8 disc release from ViaVision is reasonably priced for this collection of four mini-series.

Summary

     Return to Lonesome Dove fits the accepted wisdom that sequels are not as good as the originals. With the bar set so high by Lonesome Dove it is perhaps inevitable that Return to Lonesome Dove would not be as good as its predecessor but, nevertheless, in its own right Return to Lonesome Dove is a decent western mini-series and well worth watching.

    The video and audio have imperfections but are acceptable, the extras are non-existent.

     The four feature length episodes of Return to Lonesome Dove are split evenly between two DVDs. The series is included in the 8 DVD Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection from ViaVision together with Lonesome Dove (1989), Streets of Laredo (1995) and Dead Man’s Walk (1996).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Lonesome Dove (1989) | Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) | Streets of Laredo (1995) | Dead Man's Walk (1996)

Streets of Laredo (1995)

Streets of Laredo (1995) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Miniseries None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 262:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Joseph Sargent
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring James Garner
Sissy Spacek
Sam Shepherd
Sonia Braga
Wes Studi
Alexis Cruz
Charles Martin Smith
Tristan Tait
Randy Quaid
Ned Beatty
Kevin Conway
Case ?
RPI ? Music David Shire


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Streets of Laredo is the third film after Lonesome Dove and Return to Lonesome Dove to feature the character of ex-Texas Ranger Woodrow Call (this time played by James Garner following Tommy Lee Jones and Jon Voight). Like Lonesome Dove, but unlike Return to Lonesome Dove, Streets of Laredo is based on a novel by Larry McMurtry. Streets of Laredo starts about 20 years after the events of Lonesome Dove, ignoring completely those in Return to Lonesome Dove; these never happened.

     Ex-Texas Ranger Captain Woodrow Call (James Garner) is even more grizzled and has put on weight. He is not a rancher as in the earlier film but a bounty hunter and is hired by the railway to track down a young Mexican boy Joey Garza (Alexis Cruz), train robber and cold blooded killer. Call asks his old comrade Pea Eye (now played by Sam Shepherd) to ride with him. But Pea Eye, who is married to ex-whore and now schoolteacher Lorena (now Sissy Spacek), with whom he has five children, declines to leave his family. So instead Call leaves for Mexico with tenderfoot railway employee Ned Brookshire (Charles Martin Smith) and young Deputy Ted Plunkert (Tristan Tait).

     In Mexico Joey’s mother Maria (Sonia Braga) learns that Call is coming for her son so she sends Joey away to Crow Town, a dilapidated, skeleton ringed shanty town in the Badlands where no law exists, except the law of the gun. There Joey meets famed gunfighter and killer John Wesley Hardin (Randy Quaid). Meanwhile Pea Eye has regretted his decision not to go with Call so sets out after him and on the trail falls in with Indian tracker Famous Shoes (Wes Studi), who offers to help Pea Eye track Joey for an unusual fee. Also complicating matters is the renegade killer and burner alive of animals and humans for fun Mox Mox (Kevin Conway) who years before had tried to kill Lorena. She fears he may be returning to finish the job so she sends her children north to stay with Clara and sets out to find her husband. In reality Mox Mox is looking for Joey, unhappy that Joey is robbing the trains Mox Mox and his gang had targeted. The trails of everyone cross in the Mexican Badlands; death and tragedy walk together and the resolutions are not those most of the characters anticipated.

     Streets of Laredo lacks the epic scale and grandeur of Lonesome Dove with its scenes of cattle being herded across the endless plains of mid-western America, although the deserts, buffs, rivers, scrub and dusty towns and villages of Texas (and Mexico) as filmed by cinematographer Edward J Pei still look impressive. This story is on a smaller scope (and is told in three feature length episodes, not the four of the earlier miniseries). Ostensibly the plot of Streets of Laredo is a western staple, a manhunt across a west already made smaller by the crisscrossing railways and growing towns, although below the border in Mexico is still wild, untamed country. However, as Streets of Laredo was based on the novel by Larry McMurtry (and McMurtry and Diana Ossana wrote the screenplay), the manhunt is secondary to the finely drawn characters. Indeed, this miniseries returns to the leisurely pace of the first film with lots of dialogue and well-rounded characters who are introduced gradually; all have families and clear motivation for what they do, even minor characters such as Billy (George Carlin). In addition, Streets of Laredo adds real people, hanging Judge Roy Bean (Ned Beatty) and John Wesley Hardin into the story, although the fates of those characters in the film are not consistent with their fates in the historical record.

     In playing Woodrow Call, James Garner has big shoes to fill, following Tommy Lee Jones and Jon Voight, but does an excellent job. However, this Woodrow is really a different character to that of the earlier series; as written he is a more straight forward character, a killer, and a man who cannot, or will not, change as the west changes around him, the anguish about his prior life and his relationship with his son Newt in the earlier films absent. This Woodrow Call is also far more loquacious and a conversationalist than the earlier models, with far more to say for himself and to others. Lorena is also a totally different person to her character in Lonesome Dove (where she was played by Diane Lane). There she was vulnerable, illiterate and dependent, now she is a schoolteacher and, as played by the excellent Sissy Spacek, far more determined, self-reliant and self-sufficient. Lorena is not the only self-reliant woman in the film: Maria, Joey’s mother, who has a reason to hate Call going back years, is both fierce and determined; both women surviving when less strong women fall away in what is very clearly a man’s world.

     Although it retains some of the same characters as Lonesome Dove, Streets of Laredo’s themes and execution (not to mention actors) is really nothing to do with that miniseries. Indeed, those expecting the scale and grandeur of Lonesome Dove will be let down. Streets of Laredo is a different type of story altogether and it is probably best to forget about the earlier story and characterisations and to enjoy the characters in Streets of Laredo in their own. For, on its own terms, Streets of Laredo is an excellent western that is well worth viewing; a tragic story about family, tragedy and death in a west that was rapidly changing.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Streets of Laredo is in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

     The video varies. Filmed in location in Texas, some exteriors of the deserts, buffs, rivers, scrub and dusty towns and villages are sharp with strong detail, others are quite soft. Interiors also vary; some are very glary indeed when the source of light windows is behind the character. Colours, especially the blue of the sky or the red of sunrise and sunset, are deep and vivid, while the desert scenes are dull and dusty, which is to be expected. Blacks are solid and shadow detail good, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent. There are regular small artefacts and some motion blur, with noise prevalent in some darker scenes such as 1:36 in episode 1 and 6:08 in episode 2.

     No subtitles are provided.

     The layer change on both discs was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192; it is surround encoded.

     The audio is fine. Dialogue is clean and the effects, such as gunshots, galloping horses or horses splashing through streams, are loud and clear. The surrounds featured some ambient sounds, such as rain, but more usually the music. The score by David Shire is haunting and effective, supporting the visuals well.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     No extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This release of Streets of Laredo is part of the 8 disc Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection (see details in the summary section below). Streets of Laredo has been released elsewhere as a stand-alone DVD and as part of various Lonesome Dove DVD collections; some collections are similar to our release but are very pricey, others have the 4 series on single DVDs. The most complete set available, if you can get it, is the Australian Region Free 16 disc Lonesome Dove: Ultimate Collection which includes the same 4 films we have plus the 2008 prequel Comanche Moon and the 21 episodes of the TV series. Our 8 disc release from ViaVision is reasonably priced for this collection of four mini-series.

Summary

     Streets of Laredo is fine storytelling; ostensibly a manhunt the film is really about family and the decline of the old west with finely drawn and well-rounded characters, including strong women, lots of good dialogue, death and tragedy. Although based on a novel by Larry McMurtry and with his characters from Lonesome Dove, these are very different people and it is probably best to forget about the earlier story and to enjoy the characters in Streets of Laredo on their own terms.

    The video and audio are acceptable, the extras are non-existent.

     The three feature length episodes of Streets of Laredo are split over two DVDs. The series is included in the 8 DVD Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection from ViaVision together with Lonesome Dove (1989), Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) and Dead Man’s Walk (1996).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Lonesome Dove (1989) | Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) | Streets of Laredo (1995) | Dead Man's Walk (1996)

Dead Man's Walk (1996)

Dead Man's Walk (1996) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Miniseries None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 269:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Yves Simoneau
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Keith Carradine
Harry Dean Stanton
F. Murray Abraham
Patricia Childress
David Arquette
Jonny Lee Miller
Eric Schweig
Edward James Olmos
Brian Dennehy
Case ?
RPI ? Music David Bell


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Republic of Texas, 1842; a party of Texas Rangers led by Major Chevallier (Brian Dennehy), which includes veteran Indian fighters William “Bigfoot” Wallace (Keith Carradine) and Shadrach (Harry Dean Stanton), novices Augustus McRae (David Arquette) and Woodrow Call (Jonny Lee Miller) and resourceful whore Matilda (Patricia Childress), is ambushed by the war party of the famous (or infamous) Comanche leader Buffalo Hump (Eric Schweig) and barely escape with their lives although some of the party are killed. Three months later the survivors join the expedition led by Colonel Caleb Cobb (F. Murray Abraham) who is being sent by the Governor of Texas to Santa Fe in New Mexico to annex the area to Texas. The expedition is a disaster from the start; the terrain is unforgiving and the men face starvation and thirst, Cobb is unfit for command, men desert or turn back and the Texans are outsmarted and outfought by Buffalo Hump’s braves at every turn. Then, when the remnants of the expedition, hungry, thirsty and low on ammunition, actually come into contact with Mexican soldiers they are quickly forced to surrender. But their ordeal is not over for, guarded by a detachment of soldiers led by Captain Salaza (Edward James Olmos), the captives are marched, shackled, across a desert that is so inhospitable even Apaches think twice about crossing it. And, for the survivors of this terrible journey on foot through freezing cold with little food or water, an uncertain fate awaits.

     Dead Man’s Walk (the full title in the opening credit sequence is Larry McMurty’s Dead Man’s Walk) is a return to epic storytelling by Larry McMurtry but this time it is not cattle being driven across the vastness of the American west but an expedition of men lost in a hostile wilderness of bluffs, scrub, rock and dry grass, the territory of the Indians who are very much more at home there. But again, as McMurtry has shown in the other films of the Lonesome Dove series he was involved in, what interests him is not really the action and spectacle, although the film contains a fair helping of both, but the dialogue and well-rounded characters. With Dead Man’s Walk, published in 1995, McMurtry went back in time to 1842 to visit a number of the characters from Lonesome Dove (which he published in 1985) when they were young. The main ones are Gus and Woodrow, of course, but in Dead Man’s Walk we see Gus become infatuated with Clara (Jennifer Garner), the great lost love of his life, as well as, briefly, we meet Maggie, the whore who will in the future be the mother of Woodrow’s son Newt. However, in Dead Man’s Walk Gus and Woodrow are not really the characters who drive the action, nor, I must say, the most interesting.

     Although Dead Man’s Walk lacks the star power of the early film, the cast here is still impressive. F Murray Abraham, Oscar winner for Amadeus (1984), is very good as the driven commander, Patricia Childress is also good as a women with incredible courage and resolve while Eric Schweig is a ferocious, intelligent and frightening Buffalo Hump (who was a real person). The standouts however are Harry Dean Stanton, supporting man par excellence with 204 acting credits before his death, whose grizzled features and laconic outlook on life are wonderful, and Keith Carradine who carries the show as William “Bigfoot” Wallace. Wallace is another real person, a legendary Texas Range who saw more fights and Indians than most in his long and illustrious life before dying in 1899 at the ripe old age of 82 (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) unlike his fate in the film.

     Shot in Texas, the deserts, buffs, rivers, scrub, salt plains and dusty towns and villages filmed by cinematographer Edward J Pei (who also shot Streets of Laredo) are visually impressive. Dead Man’s Walk also includes one of the most bizarre sequences in any western; an aristocratic lady, naked on a horse with a snake curling around her neck singing Verdi very loudly as she rides slowly towards a Comanche war party out for blood. No wonder the Comanche were spooked!!

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Dead Man’s Walk is in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

     The video is the least impressive of the films included in the series despite Dead Man’s Walk being the most recent. Filmed in location in Texas some of the exteriors are sharp with strong detail, others are quite soft. Colours, however, are deep and vivid, including the blue of the sky, the red of the sunrise, sunset and the grass fire. Blacks are solid and shadow detail good, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent. However, there are a range of artefacts including regular small marks, some bigger splotches (such as at 20:24 in episode 1, 20:00 in episode 2, 17:15 episode 3), sections with noise and edge enhancement, shimmer in scenes with jumbled rocks and motion blur. I will say however that none of this was too distracting.

     No subtitles are provided except for some which automatically translate sections of Native American dialogue.

     The layer change on both discs was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192; it is surround encoded.

     The audio is fine without hiss or distortion. Dialogue is easy to understand and the effects, such as gunshots, galloping horses, Indian war cries, the grass fire are clear and loud. The surrounds featured mostly ambient sounds, such as rain and thunder, but more usually the score of David Bell which was epic and effective.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     No extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This release of Dead Man’s Walk is part of the 8 disc Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection (see details in the summary section below). Dead Man’s Walk has been released as a stand-alone DVD (and reviewed on this site way back in 2004 here and as part of various Lonesome Dove DVD collections; some collections are similar to our release but are very pricey, others have the 4 series on single DVDs. The most complete set available, if you can get it, is the Australian Region Free 16 disc Lonesome Dove: Ultimate Collection which includes the same 4 films we have plus the 2008 prequel Comanche Moon and the 21 episodes of the TV series. Our 8 disc release from ViaVision is reasonably priced for this collection of four mini-series.

Summary

     One expects that sequels, and prequels, would normally mean a reduction in quality from the original. Certainly, it would be hard to live up to the excellence of Lonesome Dove, one of the most acclaimed western series ever made, but Dead Man’s Walk with a fine screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diane Ossana from the McMurtry novel, interesting characters, good acting, impressive desert landscapes, Texas Rangers, Indians and the Mexican army gives the series an impressive ending (at least until Comanche Moon came along 10 years or so later). In its own right Dead Man’s Walk is fine storytelling.

    The video and audio are acceptable, no extras.

     The three feature length episodes of Dead Man’s Walk are split over two DVDs. The series is included in the 8 DVD Lonesome Dove: Four Miniseries Collection from ViaVision together with Lonesome Dove (1989), Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) and Streets of Laredo (1995).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE