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Lonesome Dove MiniSeries

Crossing the Rio Grande by Bill Wittliff

LONESOME DOVE :: Photographs from the set of the miniseries, 1988

Bill Wittliff, writer and executive producer of the CBS television mini-series Lonesome Dove (based on Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel) took many photographs during the filming of the show. This exhibition contains 58 sepia-toned silver gelatin prints, first exhibited at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1996. Lonesome Dove: A Behind the Scenes  Look at the Making of a Modern Classic online exhibition was created by Assistant Curator Steve Davis.

Usually people work on movies for the most personal of reasons -- some for money, some for love or camaraderie, some for ego, some just to get out of town...Lonesome Dove was, I believe, unique in that respect: people wanted to work on it not so much for what they thought they could get out of it, but rather for what they thought they could contribute.

We cleared the mesquite and built the little town of Lonesome Dove right there on the banks of the actual Rio Grande, just like in Larry McMurtry’s book...As it happened, though, we'd inadvertently picked a favorite crossing place on the river and had a daily flow of illegal aliens moving back and forth between Texas and Mexico. Occasionally we’d have to shout, “Andele, andele!” and motion for them to hurry along so they wouldn’t be in the shot.