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Comanche Moon: Second Chapter in the Lonesome Dove Saga

Updated on November 26, 2011
aliciaharrell profile image

Alicia has been an Author, Columnist, and Reviewer for 8 years. Her success came from perseverance plus organized goal setting.


Television Mini-Series Review

Comanche Moon: Second Chapter in the Lonesome Dove Saga aka Comanche Moon is on two DVD's for those who prefer to watch without those annoying televised commercials. This was originally released on CBS in 2008 and is a little over 6 hours long. My husband and I watched two hours at a time which was just about right and gave us something to view when nothing else of interest was on the television. This prequel, as with many, was not as interesting as the Lonesome Dove TV mini-series. There are noticeable discrepancies between Lonesome Dove and Comanche Moon; obvious storyline and story fact errors that should not have been in Comanche Moon if the scriptwriters had taken the time to watch Lonesome Dove first; very disappointing.

For those of you who are wondering about Comanche Moon being based on a Larry McMurtry book like Lonesome Dove was, yes, this mini-series was indeed based on the novel Comanche Moon by the afore-mentioned great western author. The book, per my husband, does not have the same negligent errors as the mini-series did. The author obviously did his homework by referring back and forth while writing the prequel. Psst, 99.9% authors who write book trilogies or series do this so a reader does not hunt the author down at a book signing and point the errors out; very embarrassing!

Comanche Moon begins right before the Civil War begins, after Gus McCrae (Steve Zahn) and Woodrow F. Call (Karl Urban) are seasoned Texas Rangers under the command of Captain Inish Scull (Val Kilmer). Most of it takes place in Austin, Texas and outlying areas where the Texas Rangers patrol to keep Austin safe from marauding Comanche and their allied Native American tribes. Peace and Justin is what these Rangers try to instill throughout Texas, but there still are Mexican factions and American Indians who are still uncooperative with the new United States federal laws and Texas's state laws. Change sometimes does indeed come with a price. The first half of Comanche Moon excellently portrays exacts about nineteenth century change in Texas while giving the viewer an insight regarding the soured romance between Clara Forsythe (Linda Cardellini) and Gus McCrae.

Toward the end of the first DVD the viewer learns why Woodrow F. Call refused to recognize Newt (played by Rick Schroder in Lonesome Dove ) as his son. It has to do with what Newt's mother, Maggie (Elizabeth Banks), did for a living. Woodrow expresses his concerns to Gus about Maggie knowing for certain whom the father of her child is. The problem for Woodrow is that Maggie is a prostitute. Gus, in an attempt to convince Woodrow into marrying Maggie, points out that occupation should not matter for Maggie was a prostitute to survive and that women were at a severe disadvantage just because of their gender in the "backwards west." They were not allowed occupationally do "a man's job."

The first-half of Comanche Moon was better than its remainder on the second DVD. The plot became slower, listless and less interesting as the plot feebly attempted to explain further about Gus's, Woodrow's and Lonesome Dove's (a budding town in Texas) pasts. The end was similar to Lonesome Dove's , sad and tragic. Those who have seen Lonesome Dove could see the prequel's conclusion unfolding for it drew to a close fairly close to where Lonesome Dove filled in its viewers about the main characters' life history. There were no surprises in the plot or subplots.

Other primary characters included (order listed in credits): Troy Baker (Texas Ranger Pea Eye Parker), Adam Beach (Blue Duck, Comanche), Rachel Griffiths (Mrs. Inez Scull, Captain Inish Scull's wife), Melanie Lynskey (Mrs. Pearl 'Pearlie' Coleman, Texas Ranger Bill Coleman's wife), Ryan Merriman (Texas Ranger Jake Spoon), Toby Metcalf (Texas Ranger Lee Hitch), David Midthunder (Famous Shoes, Kickapoo tracker for the Texas Rangers), James Rebhorn (Governor of Texas Elisha Pease), Steve Reevis (Worm, Comanche), Keith Robinson (Joshua Deets, cook for the Texas Rangers who went with them on their excursions), Wes Studi (Chief Buffalo Hump of the Comanche), Wally Welch (Texas Ranger Ikey Ripple), Scotty Augare (Straight Elbow, Comanche), Josh Berry (Bob Allen, Nebraska cattleman who married Clara Forsythe), Jake Busey (Tudwal), Brady Coleman (Mr. Forsythe, Clara's father), Bill Flynn (Old Ben Mickelson, owner of Lonesome Dove's tavern), Jonathan Joss (Kicking Wolf, Comanche), Ray McKinnon (Texas Ranger Bill Coleman, Pearlie's husband), Kristine Sutherland (Mrs. Elmira Forsythe, Clara's mother), Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman (Red Crow, Comanche), Sal Lopez (Ahumado, Mexican bandito who captured and tortured Captain Scull), Geraldine Keams (Hema, Ahumado's medicine woman), and Savion Rose (Felice, Lonesome Dove's tavern's French Saloon gal).

Do recommend watching the first half, primarily because the discrepancies between this and Lonesome Dove do not appear until the second half. The second half is not worth the agony. As with anything based on a Larry McMurtry novel that comes from the Entertainment Industry, the subject material is extremely adult. This mother and grandmother does not recommend Comanche Moon for children 12 years of age and under. There are disturbing torture scenes in the rated NR Comanche Moon that might give teenage and adult viewers nightmares.

Val Kilmer fans, Mr. Kilmer did not disappoint as Captain Scull. This actor can do any role excellently. His level of expertise overshadowed all other cast members with his superior acting. This Val Kilmer fan was glad she did not miss seeing Comanche Moon . His performance was well worth putting up with the blatant errors.



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    • aliciaharrell profile image

      Alicia Rose Harrell 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Thank you Jen for pointing this out to us; much appreciated. Sometimes errors are not noticed by readers, yet completely obvious to them when the same book is seen in a movie format. I appreciate your excellent reading and observation skills. :)

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      jen 6 years ago

      Sorry, but your husband is mistaken - the novel had those exact errors! It drove me crazy.