The critical and popular success of the Lonesome Dove
miniseries just about ensured a sequel or three. The first spinoff, Return to Lonesome Dove
, was rushed out without author Larry McMurtry's input, but Streets of Laredo
, which McMurtry scripted from his own novel, returns us firmly to his brutal West. Legendary Texas Ranger Captain Woodrow Call (James Garner, who steps into the boots left by Tommy Lee Jones with comfortable assurance and understated courage) has turned bounty hunter, and he heads off on the bloody trail of vicious Mexican gunman Joey Garza (Alexis Cruz), a sadistic, angry south-of-the-border rebel without a cause. Lonesome Dove
echoes through the story: Call's former trail hand Pea Eye Parker (Sam Shepard) is enlisted in his posse and Parker's wife, Lorena (Sissy Spacek in the role Diane Lane created in the original and the desert-worn soul of this story), follows in their wake with news that the psychopathic renegade Mox Mox (Kevin Conway), who once held her captive, is alive and back on the warpath.
McMurtry's Old West is not a pleasant place, and Streets of Laredo is not for the faint of heart. It's a lawless, racist, brutal world where might may not make right, but it certainly holds sway in isolated desert towns and lonely trails. Yet for all the tragedy and violence, McMurtry finds hope in the love and respect that breaks down racial barriers, holds families together, and creates new ones. --Sean Axmaker