- Historic Sites
Larry McMurtry: Writing westerns from Hud to Brokeback Mountain
April/May 2006 | Volume 57, Issue 2
Clocking in at 180 minutes, this is the second-best TV Western ever made, after Lonesome Dove . If it has a major flaw, it’s that like its predecessor, it would have been better at twice the length. Adapted by Cynthia Whitcomb from the most historically based McMurtry Western novel, and directed by Rod Hardy, it features unprecedentedly accurate and vivid characterizations of Calamity Jane (Anjelica Huston), Buffalo Bill (Peter Coyote), and Wild Bill Hickok (Sam Elliott). Melanie Griffith is heartbreakingly lovely as the real-life brothel madam and author Dora DuFran, possibly the best role of her career. Gabriel Byrne, Jack Palance, Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman, Tracey Walter, Russell Means, Liev Schreiber, and Reba McEntire (as Annie Oakley) are in the cast too, and you wish there were more of all of them.