The six-month celebration of the Lonesome Dove miniseries and Larry McMurtry’s source novel had one of its biggest events Thursday night when much of the cast and crew of the miniseries appeared at a sold-out reunion gala at River Ranch in the Stockyards.
Robert Duvall, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Ricky Schroder, Chris Cooper and other cast members attended with another cast member, Barry Tubb (who played Jasper Fant), serving as master of ceremonies. D.B. Sweeney, who played Dish Boggett, rang an Old-West-style dinner bell as the meal was served.
Tommy Lee Jones and Anjelica Huston, two key members of the cast, did not attend. But executive producers Suzanne De Passe and Dyson Lovell and many crew members did. Screenwriter Bill Wittliff raised a toast to McMurtry, who was also not present.
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“We are all here because Larry McMurtry wrote a great book,” said Wittliff, who was also an executive producer of the miniseries. Wittliff acknowledged cast and crew members who have died, including actor Robert Urich, Texas writer Bud Shrake (who had a small role billed as “sodbuster”), and Basil Poledouris, who composed the score for the miniseries.
McMurtry’s son, musician James McMurtry, performed.
Cast members were not made available to the media at the gala.
On Wednesday night, Duvall, Schroder, Cooper, Clover and De Passe participated in a panel discussion at TCU, during which Duvall mentioned how fortunate he was to have been in two of the greatest epics of the 20th century: the Godfather saga and Lonesome Dove.
Many familiar Fort Worth faces were in the crowd, including Pam Minick, the former longtime marketing manager for Billy Bob’s Texas.
“I think they picked the perfect city to have this reunion,” Minick said. “They looked at San Antonio five years ago, they initially looked at Dallas, and even some people in Dallas said, ‘The Lonesome Dove reunion belongs in Fort Worth because it’s part of the Chisholm Trail.’ ”
Minick said that when she was at Billy Bob’s, it wasn’t unusual for Duvall to simply walk in on a weekday afternoon. Jones is in the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth and has been very active in that museum, she said.
“For him, Fort Worth is not a strange place,” she said. “He really likes Fort Worth.”
Tubb related the story that McMurtry was sitting in a cafe in Fort Worth when he saw a church van drive by that said “Lonesome Dove Baptist Church.” (There is online disagreement about where the van sighting took place.)
The gala was part of a six-month “Lonesome Dove Trail” series of events that includes the “Lonesome Dove: The Art of Story” exhibit running through June 19 at the Sid Richardson Museum in downtown Fort Worth.
A “Bullets and Bustles: Costumes of Lonesome Dove” exhibit continues through April 17 at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame; “Photographs From Lonesome Dove by Bill Wittliff” continues through the same date at the Cattle Raisers Museum.
A symposium, “Vaqueros, Cowboys and Cowgirls: Texas Cattle Trails to the World,” is scheduled for Saturday at the Fort Worth Library; and one non-Fort Worth event, “Lonesome Dove: Highlights of the Wittliff Collections,” will run April 30-July 23 at the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, about two hours west of Fort Worth.
Much of the miniseries production material in the Sid Richardson Museum exhibition comes from the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.