A Tale Of Two Endings

Though the television adaptation of Lonesome Dove hewed closely to the novel’s spirit, it struck a very different note in its final moments. Below, an annotation of the last pages of the book and the script reveals how and why Bill Wittliff strayed from Larry McMurtry’s design.

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Gus and Call’s friendship may be at the heart of Lonesome Dove, but the book’s ending points in another direction. When Call returns to Lonesome Dove after burying Gus, he encounters the town’s barber, Dillard Brawley. “What happened to the saloon?” Call asks, having noticed that the local watering hole has disappeared. Dillard explains that the establishment’s owner, Xavier Wanz, locked

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