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 Lare... more »do, 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« less
"This is the real, Larry McMurtry written, sequel to Lonesome Dove (not Lonesome Dove II), and it has all of McMurtry's specialities: well-drawn characters, absolutely viscious and unredeemable villains & murderers, and complex protagonists with a hell of a tale to tell.Tommy Lee Jones was the perfect physical embodiment of hard-bitten Texas Ranger Woodrow Call. A small man, ramrod straight with a ferocious temper and will of iron that made him SEEM like a bigger man. But TLJ didn't make this trip for whatever reason. Instead, we have James Garner taking over as Woodrow, and he IS a big man and inately likeable. No matter, Garner is too good an actor not to win you over, and we quickly adjust to him as an older, more tired, laconic, but still mean as hell Woodrow Call.Peaeye is now Sam Shepard and Lorena is Sissy Spacek and she has passed by all her would-be suitors and married the taciturn Ranger, become a school teacher, and together they have 5 children. Peaeye is called out of domesticity by Woodrow to chase down a teenage psychopathic killer, Joey Garza, with a sidetrip to chase down another bad bad man named Mox Mox whose specialty is burning men, women, children & animals alive for the fun of it.And so it begins, with much emphasis on character and wild "characters" and with a casual understanding of the hard lives and brutality of the Texas of that time.If you liked Lonesome Dove, you will like this. The cast changes were made with excellent people stepping into the familiar roles, and you will soon accept them and be caught up in the story. If you didn't like Lonesome Dove, too bad for you, and you definitely will want to skip this."
A solid, if downbeat chapter in the magnificent series
J. Remington | Adams, Oregon USA | 05/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Granted,both the original Lonesome Dove novel and film were unique works of extremely fascinating classic story-telling. Streets of Laredo obviously has a great deal to live up to and, when viewed or read in conjunction with Dove it does suffer in the sense that our familiarity is slightly snubbed. Obviously this is something that cannot be helped so I must say that Streets of Laredo as a film stands firmly upon its own merits which are quite impressive.Firstly, the cast is sublime. James Garner, always a vastly underrated actor creates a stoic, yet tragic Call.His final scene (don't worry I won't give it all away)is at once heart breaking and filled with a quiet hope. His performance is all about what film acting aspires: he moves mountains without words. The rest of the cast is on equal footing with Garner (who deserved at least something of an Emmy nod) Playwright Sam Shepard's Pea Eye, although losing much of Tim Scott's Bentonesque forlorn rube, is filled with earthy heroism and poetry. Sissy Spacek as the whore re-encarnated as a schoolmarm Lorena produces the tough backbone needed to survive the Texas prairie. Comedian George Carlin's finely drawn panhandle scamp solidifies the theory that the border between comedy and tragedy is narrow at best. These are just a few of the excellent standouts in a sound ensemble.Secondly is the very narrative itself. It plays like a Sunday funeral dirge- ever aware of the passing of an era, yet peering on into a glimmering future of optimism and hope. In McMurtry's world everyone has a shot at redemption. Grace isn't free but it is availble to all willing to run the gauntlet who have at least a pure heart. The evil villians are evil and deserving of damnation and the good, although pure of heart are not pure of deed.This film is already mostly forgotten by the minions,but richly deserving of an audience. Enjoy and savor."
A Solid Western
D. Mikels | Skunk Holler | 01/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I only wish "Lonesome Dove" had been spared its sequels and prequels (After all, what could possibly measure up to the original masterpiece?), but if any chip off the old block bears watching, it's STREETS OF LAREDO. This mini-series revives Larry McMurtry's imagery, dialogue, and savagery of the Old West: a place that was bleak and brutal, where death comes as easy as the pulling of a trigger.The cast is solid, if not spectacular. James Garner is a poor substitute for Tommy Lee Jones' Captain Woodrow F. Call, but has enough range to make the role believable. Sam Shepard brings a quiet dignity to the character of Pea Eye Parker, while Sissy Spacek as the prostitue-turned-teacher/housewife Lorena Parker nags and gripes through the entire film. Sonia Braga is brilliant as Maria Garza, a complex woman whose hatred for Call and concern for her outlaw son cannot overcome a true heart of gold.Yet it's the second tier of characters that makes STREETS OF LAREDO entertaining (much like the book). George Carlin does a wonderful job as Billy Williams, an aging, almost blind frontiersman; Wes Studi as Famous Shoes, the Kickapoo tracker, delivers delightful one-liners; Ned Beatty is hysterical as the grizzled old coot Judge Roy Bean; Kevin Conway totally evil as Mox Mox, the manburner; and Randy Quaid steals the show as John Wesley Hardin, a cold-blooded, whiskey-sippin' gunslinger with a philosophy all his own.STREETS OF LAREDO recreates McMurtry's harsh, compelling story and delivers it with the all the vigor of a runaway mare. While it doesn't come close to "Lonesome Dove," this film still stands admirably on its own."
The Author's Finale
Ryan | 12/19/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not only is Larry McMurtry an excellent storyteller, but he's also somewhat of a literary genius. He could've written a sequel to Lonesome Dove that would've been satisfying and cliché, but he left that to Hollywood. I don't know if Streets of Laredo happened because of or in spite of the farce that is called, Return to Lonesome Dove, but Streets is definitely the better offering. McMurtry took the story in a completely different direction. In doing so, he cheated us out of certain things that we'd hoped for after finishing Lonesome Dove. There is no final conversation between Woodrow and Newt about Newt's heritage. The fate of July Johnson is a tragic and useless one. The Hatcreek Ranch in Montana goes bust and that's why Call becomes a bounty hunter. Those who enjoyed the book won't be disappointed in the film adaptation. Many have stated that James Garner's interpretation of Woodrow Call doesn't live up to that of Tommy Lee Jones and I cannot disagree. But Garner is a talented actor and he stayed true to McMurtry's character of Call. McMurtry wisely chose not to do "just another Lonesome Dove." Again, he left that to the shallower Hollywood crowd. While Lonesome Dove was a sweeping epic of a cattle drive, Streets of Laredo was simply the story of a chase to track down a young, brutal killer. McMurtry is a master of authentic dialogue and character development and he doesn't fail to deliver with his vast cast. Judge Roy Bean, Brookshire, John Wesley Harden, Billy Williams, Mox Mox and Famous Shoes all add to the texture of the movie. The most tragic figure is the long-suffering mother of Joey Garza, Maria, who defends her son in spite of his misdeeds. There are some details that are hard to swallow, such as the marriage of Lorena and Pea Eye, but the overall story still stands. This is certainly a darker offering than its predecessor considering that Gus supplied most of the mirth in Lonesome Dove. Still, it's worth watching for those who appreciate McMurtry's ability to tell a good story. The DVD is desolate when it comes to bonus material, but the sound and picture quality are far superior to the VHS version. It's also worth noting that the DVd version is uncut, offering scenes that do not appear in the VHS. No, Streets of Laredo does not live up to Lonesome Dove, but I don't think McMurtry meant for it to do so and the story stands on its own as a good one."
Less a sequel than an alternative Lonesome Dove universe.
Miles D. Moore | Alexandria, VA USA | 03/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In almost every way, Streets of Laredo, the Larry McMurtry-written sequel to Lonesome Dove, is superior to Return to Lonesome Dove, the sequel cooked up by the producers of the original Lonesome Dove miniseries. It also is considerably darker than the already bloody original or the other sequel. Because of the casting of Streets of Laredo--and because of some of the plot choices McMurtry made--I personally find it easier to accept Streets of Laredo as an alternative Lonesome Dove universe than as the true sequel. For example, McMurtry has Lorie marry Pea Eye. The original Lorie and Pea Eye, Diane Lane and Timothy Scott, would make a ridiculous couple, but their counterparts in Streets of Laredo--Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard--are a perfect couple with loads of screen chemistry. (Of course, McMurtry was not bound by the casting of the miniseries--only by his own imagination.) James Garner, as Woodrow Call, is about equal to Tommy Lee Jones in the original and slightly superior to Jon Voight in Return to Lonesome Dove. The new characters have the fascination of the original ones, and are played brilliantly by a great cast including Sonia Braga, Wes Studi, Kevin Conway, Charles Martin Smith and Alexis Cruz. The mostly horrific narrative sweeps us along, and the story's final vision of forgiveness and reconciliation is genuinely moving."