On this episode, one of Dad’s favorites’ the TV miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove! One of television’s most celebrated series, it tells the epic story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana, taking the time to explore the details of frontier life and the the expansive branching stories of over a dozen characters. At its centerpiece is a all time great performance by Robert Duvall, at his most charming and magnetic, with a number of other esteemed western actors along the way, played by such grizzled visages as Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Urich, Danny Glover, Chris Cooper and Angelica Huston. And Diane Lane as a young prostitute! There’s an enormous amount of incident, all of it informing the whole in such a way that one could argue that Lonesome Dove is the ultimate Western, offering pretty much everything one could ask for in the genre. Topics of conversation include the differences between TV now and TV thirty years ago, the leisurely pace of a western novel (as opposed to a western film), the enigma of the title, Robert Duvall’s excellence as demonstrated by his character’s predilection for whores, the dance between the romance of the story’s western adventures and its bleak, downbeat realism, especially with regards to mortality and the fragility of life on the trail, and a little bit of a chat on the John Huston classic The Man Who Would Be King, Michael Caine impersonation and all. It shares a helpful ghost with Lonesome Dove! We tried to not to let this one get too long, but this is an epic story, full of meanders and digressions, which kind of informs any conversation about it as well.

Additionally, we talk a bit about the new WWII film Dunkirk, which is awesome and Dad enjoyed very much, and I have some thoughts about the surprisingly creepy Mrs. Doubtfire, the Robin Williams family comedy about gaslighting and revenge. Visit us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can download older episode that have fallen off the iTunes feed! And also, if you’ve got questions or requests, please send them to westernswithdad@gmail.com, and why not leave positive ratings and reviews on iTunes, as that certainly helps us out! On the next episode, we’re back to Jimmy Stewart, with The Man From Laramie.

Lonesome Dove was directed by Simon Wincer and scored by Basil Poledouris, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. It stars a career-best Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane, Robert Urich, Danny Glover and a bunch of other famous people.


This episode features one of Dad’s favorites, The Cowboys, starring John Wayne. A classic cattle drive Western, this movie features Wayne acting as mentor to cadre of boys on the cusp of manhood, finding adventures, life lessons and tragedy on the open range. And after years of less than favorable memories of a fairly stodgy film I didn’t connect with, I was surprised to discover that this isn’t the middling boy’s adventure film I recalled, but rather a elegiac rumination on aging and the turning of generations, and an examination of the rites of manhood. Featuring terrific supporting turns by Roscoe Lee Brown and Bruce Dern, it features Wayne at his most iconic, and is especially notable for a unpredictable third act plot development that spins the film off into semi-shocking quest for vengeance. We both agree it’s pretty cool. Topics of conversation include Wayne’s ‘old man’ period, the sliminess of Bruce Dern, films this one might have inspired, the pathetic little nerdy kid with glasses, John Williams’s overactive score, the shocking deaths in the film and their aftermath, and a digression in which Dad tells stories about drinking back in the day! Pretty great stuff.

Other films discussed are the disappointing and silly Kong: Skull Island and The Dark Tower. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, and of course on iTunes. Please be sure to leave us ratings and reviews on that self same iTunes, by the way, and if you have any questions you’d like us to answer or movies you’d like us to talk about, please send us an email at westernswithdad@gmail.com! And join us in two weeks for our discussion of the landmark TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove!

The Cowboys was released in 1972, and was directed by Mark Rydell and stars John Wayne, Bruce Dern and Roscoe Lee Browne.