Due to expressed interest …
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“Even a Ranger cain’t ride on an empty stomach.”
Lonesome Dove Theme
Lonesome Dove : Spinoffs and Wannabes
The immense success and popularity of the Lonesome Dove (1989) Mini Series starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones spawned a veritable industry surrounding Larry McMurtry’s iconic characters Augustus ‘Gus’ McCrae (Duvall) and Woodrow F. Call (Jones) that extends to this very day with obvious influences in several succeeding TV and Mini Series like Hell on Wheels – which seems to me to have ‘Dove‘ flavour written all over it – each attempting to recapture or exploit the magic of the original epic. Some succeed – to a degree. Others? … Not so well.
3? Successive ‘Dove‘ Mini Series – plus a TV show – have attempted to take us back.
All that being said let’s look at those who have portrayed McMurtry’s two main characters over the last 25 years.
I’ve debated over and over (with myself) whether I want to issue any commentary on Lonesome Dove itself – which has been covered extensively – and well – by other fans and Western critics – smarter than myself. But it seems some commentary is inevitable. So … I will get to that later.
In the meantime …
The four descendants of McMurtry’s saga:
The Guns of Laredo … Part 3 … the Rifles
In Streets of Laredo we see mainly 3 standard rifles – plus a couple of oddities. There are others long guns, but their appearance is too brief to mention.
Firstly we have the Winchester 73′ rifle – ‘the rifle that won the West’? Combined with the Colt 45 pistol, these are backbone of many a Western Film and probably a good chunk of Old West history as well.
James Garner (Captain F. Woodrow Call) carries two rifles (not sure why .. but Why Not?): a Winchester 73′ and a 1860 Henry Rifle Brass Frame .45 LC.
Between drinking and hanging people the Judge shoots things.
George Carlin gets ready to demonstrate the ‘Yellow Boy‘.
Hang on to your ears.
The 2 Unusual Weapons
Charles Martin Smith and Cannon? Sounds like a Law Firm. And he’s got the guns to back it up.
The first of the 2 unusual weapons that I spoke of, is the The Holland & Holland Paradox shotgun (well named).
From the Internet Movie Firearms Database (http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Holland_%26_Holland_Paradox)
“The Holland & Holland Paradox was an interesting design. It was a smoothbore until the end of the bores where there was rifling … The 8 and 10 gauge shotguns were considered to be the most effective against Elephant, Cape Buffalo ect, but lacked the accuracy and range of a rifle. The Paradox design was a compromise which offered improved performance from the smoothbore design … “
In other words, Charles Martin Smith is carrying an elephant gun. Sheesh.
This weapon eventually contributes to the demise of our main antagonist.
Thanks to my brother Richard for finding this information.
Don’t ask me what the pistols are though … he never pulled ’em.
Charles Martin Smith seems to have a fondness for shotguns:
That other weapon is claimed to be a Model 1889 Schmidt-Rubin rifle with Scope.
Apology: I lost my sources for this reference. I do recall the the individual who recognized this rifle said that this weapon did not exist in the era of Streets of Laredo. I would not be surprised as we find this quite often in Westerns (and other movies) where technology from the future is imported to the past. Most often nobody cares or notices, but some Gun and Western history fans/experts do take note.
The only thing I can say for sure it that if Joey Garza (Alexis Cruz) takes a liking to your gun, you better just give it to him. And run away. Fast.
But it might not do any good.
The Guns of Laredo … an interesting mix.
Streets of Laredo contains most your standard Western gunfare: Yer Colt 45, Yer Winchester ’73, and Yer double barrel shotgun ….
But it also has 2 unique weapons – plus another that’s fairly uncommon.
I was not able to locate any resources that specifically itemized the Guns in Streets of Laredo. It took considerable detective work to discover the identity of at least 2 of the firearms. A Thank You goes to my brother Richard who identified the mysterious and unusual shotgun carried by Charles Martin Smith.
Most of the main characters use handguns at some point Streets of Laredo – including Sissy Spacek and Sonja Baca.
The handgun of choice appears to be the famous Colt 45 – either long or short barrel.
A Colt Refused
Near the beginning Episode 1 (of 3) of Streets of Laredo, James Garner (Captain Woodrow Call) is offered a pearl handled Colt by his employer – which he refuses – upon advice there may ‘strings attached’.
Uncommon Gun Number One
Randy Quaid, who plays the very surly John Wesley Hardin in Streets of Laredo, brandishes a nickel plated handgun that looks almost too grand to be a ‘shootin’ iron’ of the Old West.
But there it is. This gun was not easy to for me to identify and I’m still not certain I have it right, but I’m going with a:
Smith & Wesson Schofield
Subsequent editions of a successful weapon design often remain or appear almost identical to the original – even over years of production – with only minor refinements. Or can be copied by other Manufacturers.
In other words, they aren’t easy to identify. So this is just a guess on my part.
Top Breaking handguns.
When you consider that the ‘top breaking’ feature (similar to double barrel shotgun) of this handgun appears to be make loading and unloading quicker and easier, you’d think they would have been more popular, but it seems the side loading style of the Colts was more common. I do not know who originally invented this design, but it was clearly used by other manufacturers as well – including Colt.
The Guns of Laredo … Part 3 … the Rifles
NO HUMANS OR HORSES WERE HARMED
IN THE PRODUCTION OF THIS POST.
– The Management
When I initially started My Favorite Westerns, I had intended to include a page/section on the Guns that appear in each movie I profiled. Certain things have evolved however, to make me adjust or re-think this intention.
The first is the number of horrific and disturbing gun incidents over the last few years. Enough said… almost.
The second is less idealistic: many Westerns use the same guns – so identical gun profiles seemed redundant.
BUT/YET … What the hell is a Western without a Gun? You can pretty well define Westerns by guns. There ARE a few Westerns that don’t have guns … very few. Even Little House on the Prairie had an occasional gun. Fact is, if a Old West period piece doesn’t have any guns, most of us wouldn’t even consider it a Western. Or even watch it.
I’m not defending gun culture – or guns. It’s just a fact.
Further, this predilection for guns in our Entertainment is hardly unique. Take a look at the current list of films showing at your local theatre. Over half of them have guns – or violence – be it delivered via sword of Hobbit or gun by Willis.
Guns? Swords? Monsters? Space ships … ? You name it … We shoot it.
We are blood soaked and blood fuelled.
Violence you say? Nahhhh. They’re called ‘Action Movies’.
TV is not exempt. Sports, for instance, is huge on TV … and full of violence. And it’s debatable that we would watch it if it wasn’t. A hockey, football, or baseball game with no hitting is boring. And when there’s no Action we flip the channel – searching for Action/Violence. And what about Cop Shows? Game of Thrones, etc. etc? There’s no end of examples. Even most Reality Shows have Conflicts built into their setup – to raise the Entertainment factor.
“Lights! Camera! Action!” Every day, all day, year ’round, we fight – we kill.
Comic books? You might think you were in a porno shop … if it wasn’t for the killing. Rated G.
VIdeo games? Over 90% have graphic violence and bloodshed. Killing.
Bottom line: WE LOVE THIS STUFF!
And we keep the pushing the envelope – more action, more violence, more graphic, more blood, more killing …
Another thing I truly wonder about is the Desensitization that seems to be occurring. Nobody bats an eye at most of this stuff any more.
The real question though …. is WHY? do we Love this Stuff?
I’m trying to come up with an answer.
In the meantime … let’s look at some guns.
Next the … The Guns of Laredo … Part 2
Felt like I better mention that Streets of Laredo did justly claim a few awards:
Nominated for Primetime Emmy Award 1996
Nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries or a Special
Lynn Kressel (casting director)
Nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special
An Emmy Award recognizes excellence in the television industry.
Won American Society of Cinematographers, USA 1996
Won ASC Award Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Mini-Series
Edward J. Pei
ASC membership has become one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a professional cinematographer.
Nominated for Casting Society of America, USA 1996
Nominated Best Casting for TV Miniseries
Won Lone Star Film & Television Award 1996
Won Lone Star Film & Television Award
Best TV Teleplay Larry McMurtry Diana Ossana For Dead Man’s Walk
The Lone Star EMMY Chapter represents the best and brightest television and media professionals from all disciplines of the industry and from all of Texas’ 19 television markets.
Nominated for NCLR Bravo Award 1996
Nominated Outstanding Individual Performance in Made for Television Movie or Mini-Series
The NCLR Bravo Awards honor the actors and directors who promote positive portrayals of Hispanics in the media.
The NCLR Bravo Awards are the predecessor to the Alma Awards.
Won Western Heritage Award / Bronze Wrangler 1996
The Bronze Wrangler is an award presented annually by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to honor the top works in Western music,film, television and literature.
Television Feature Film
Suzanne De Passe (executive producer)
Robert Halmi Jr. (executive producer)
Larry McMurtry (executive producer)
Diana Ossana (executive producer)
Larry Levinson (producer)
Joseph Sargent (director)
James Garner (principal actor)
Sissy Spacek (principal actor)
Sam Sheppard (principal actor)
James Garner Westerns: Streets of Laredo: Cast