Comanche Moon

DVD released in Feb. 2008, Sony Pictures, 284 minutes, $29.95.

Val Kilmer looks a mite heftier and acts a mite more bizarrely than Doc Holliday in Tombstone. He chews up a chunk of scenery in the CBS miniseries Comanche Moon, which first aired in January 2008. Kilmer plays Captain Inish Scull, who is so off-kilter it’s a wonder he can walk (and hang out ) so long in Comanche country. His wife, played by Rachel Griffiths, never met a man she didn’t like for a short while, except for the captain, who she hasn’t liked for a long while. Based on a novel by Larry McMurtry, the story line comes before the award-winning Lonesome Dove (1989) but after Dead Man’s Walk (1996). The story after Lonesome Dove has also already been told on TV, with Return to Lonesome Dove (1993) and Streets of Laredo (1995).

This so-called second chapter in the Lonesome Dove saga is an extended cut on two discs, and that means more character development and no commercials. As usual, the plot is secondary to the fascinating characters—including Wes Studi as Comanche Chief Buffalo Hump. The main characters, as in Lonesome Dove, are Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call. McCrae and Call, best friends and Texas Rangers, are played by different actors in these tales, most notably by Robert Duvall (Gus) and Tommy Lee Jones (Woodrow) in Lonesome Dove. Gus meets his maker (no, not McMurtry) in that much-praised classic miniseries. In Comanche Moon, it’s amazing how much Steve Zahn (Gus) and Karl Urban (Woodrow) sound like Duvall and Jones playing those characters earlier, or later. It’s really not as complicated as it seems, and it’s all worth watching.


Originally published in the August 2008 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here