“Suzanne de Passe, (my producing partner), and I had a budget meeting with the boys who controlled the purse strings. They said the cattle were costing too much money and we might have to cut them out of the film. We said, 'Well, this is a story about some cowboys taking their first trail herd up to Montana and it’d be a little awkward trying to tell it without the cattle.’ They saw the point, but still there was this problem of money and they just couldn’t think of any solution short of getting rid of the cattle. We thought they were joking, of course, and, trying to one-up them, said we might be able to cut the cattle out of the film if we could have something else for the cowboys to herd up north instead, like maybe chickens or turkeys or goats. 'Yeah, goats!’ one of them said, and we stopped joking right there.”
—Lonesome Dove screenwriter and executive producer Bill Wittliff
This Budget Breakdown provides an overview of the total cost for producing the film. The details for the expenses relating to each of these entries are found in the budget itself, which comprises some 47 pages.