Lonesome Dove Cast – Most people believed that Westerns were outdated in the 1980s, but the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove disproved that notion. Based on the critically acclaimed 1985 novel by Larry McMurtry, the four-part series allegedly attracted over 30 million viewers each episode. The show was a favorite among reviewers and viewers alike because of its epic storyline, which focused on the connections between numerous former Texas Rangers and their experiences leading a cow herd from Texas to Montana during the latter days of the Old West, and its strong ensemble. The ensemble, which included Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall, featured gifted actors Chris Cooper, Anjelica Huston, Frederic Forrest, and Diane Lane.
Prestige TV dramas with A-list actors, lavish productions, and thoughtful storylines are a regular sight in today’s cultural environment, yet in 1989, Lonesome Dove stood out from the crowd because of this. Though several studios at first rejected the notion of adapting McMurtry’s book, the series went on to win numerous accolades, revitalize the Western subgenre, and mark the start of the “peak TV” period. Here’s a look back at the surviving stars of the show, some of the legendary cast members who regrettably went away in the thirty-plus years since it debuted.
Lonesome Dove Cast
1. Ricky Schroder as Newt Dobbs
Ricky Schroder began his career as a cute kid star. Playing Jon Voight’s kid in The Champ at the age of nine brought him his first taste of fame. Subsequently, he starred in the popular sitcom Silver Spoons, captivating audiences as the gifted Ricky Stratton from 1982 until 1986.
The 53-year-old actor has abandoned the “y” from his childhood actor moniker, so he is no longer Ricky. As the solemn 17-year-old orphan Newt Dobbs, fostered by Gus and Call, in Lonesome Dove, Schroder showcased his acting skills as a more capable actor. His persona is aware that his mother was a prostitute, but he is unsure about his true father. Despite the fact that he is only a teenager, he soon becomes control of the ranch in Call’s absence despite having at best clumsy cowboy abilities. McMurtry refers to Newt as “The Lonesome Dove of the title” in the novel’s preface.
Schroder joined the casts of series like NYPD Blue and 24 after leaving Lonesome Dove. In addition, he has directed three movies and acted in television films.
2. Robert Duvall as Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae
Robert Duvall, who is 92 years old, has been famous for more than 60 years. His role as Boo Radley in the 1962 classic To Kill a Mockingbird was his feature picture debut. Duvall had a number of parts in the late 1960s and early 1970s before winning the Best Actor Oscar in 1983 for his performance in the drama Tender Mercies. He will always be known for his parts as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now and as Tom Hagen, the consigliere of the Corleone family in The Godfather films. He said, “I adore the scent of napalm in the morning,” one of the most famous lines in cinema history, while playing Kilgore.
Duvall has referred to Lonesome Dove as the “Godfather of Westerns” and stated that his favorite part in the film was that of a retired Texas Ranger. He became an honorary ranger in 2011 due to the tremendous effect of his efforts. Actor Duvall has persisted; he most recently starred in the 2022 mystery film The Pale Blue Eye.
Duvall is a skilled director and writer in addition to having a stellar acting career. His performance as evangelist Euliss “Sonny” Dewey in the film The Apostle, which he both wrote and directed, earned him an Oscar nomination. Assassination Tango, Wild Horses, and Angelo My Love are among his other directorial and writing credits. Perhaps this is why Duvall has maintained such great shape throughout the years—dancing the tango is something he likes doing when he’s not busy adding gravity to the screen!
3. Lonesome Dove Cast: Diane Lane as Lorena Wood
Diane Lane portrayed the stunning Lorena in Lonesome Dove, an Alabama lady forced into prostitution by her ex-lover. Because of her powerful personality, Lorena frequently intimidates the cowboys who want to be with her.
At the age of 14, Lane made her screen debut as a child actor, costarring with Laurence Olivier in the 1979 film A Little Romance. She acted in films such as Streets of Fire, Rumble Fish, and The Outsiders throughout the 1980s. And she has starred in successful films like Man of Steel and is currently 58 years old. She will play midcentury socialite Slim Keith in the anthology series Feud. Her role in the seductive thriller Unfaithful (2002) won her an Oscar nomination, and the following year’s Under the Tuscan Sun is still a beloved escape film for moviegoers.
With almost 40 years in the business, Lane is still in great demand as the epitome of a child star who has grown up gracefully and adapted well to adult roles.
4. Tommy Lee Jones as Captain Woodrow F. Call
The persona of Tommy Lee Jones is one of a dedicated worker who values honor, responsibility, and discipline. Call is stoic, but McCrae is optimistic. The 77-year-old actor began his career on Broadway in 1969 and appeared in a modest role in the melodrama Love Story in 1970 before making his big screen debut. As he portrayed a variety of characters in the 1970s, including an escaped prisoner from Jackson County Jail and a police investigator in Eyes of Laura Mars, Jones’ notoriety grew. He was nominated for a second Emmy for his role as Lonesome Dove and won one for Best Actor for his portrayal of killer Gary Gilmore in The Executioner’s Song. In the 1990s, Jones maintained his demanding schedule and won an Oscar for his role in The Fugitive.
Although it’s difficult to imagine anybody other in the character of Woodrow F. Call, Robert Duvall, Charles Bronson, James Garner, and Jon Voight were all initially considered for the part; Duvall declined to portray Captain Augustus McCrae instead.