Lonesome Dove comes to life in Downtown Fort Worth

Lonesome Dove

Downtown Fort Worth resembled its Cowtown moniker Friday morning as the Lonesome Dove Trail began at the Trailhead in front of the Sid Richardson Museum with a sunrise chuck wagon breakfast.

The biscuits, cooked over an open fire tended by cooks dressed for the trail, were quite a bit different – maybe it was the flavor – from those found in fast-food drive thrus. On horseback were Mayor Betsy Price, Edward P. Bass, Kit Moncrief, Charlie Geren, Steve Murrin and Jim Gay, .

The event was to open Lonesome Dove: The Art of Story, an exhibition inspired by the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning western novel by Larry McMurtry.

The exhibit runs through Sunday, June 19. (www.sidrichardsonmuseum.org)

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Masterpieces by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell—paintings that have never before been displayed together—will be exhibited with production materials from the filming of the TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove, on loan from the Lonesome Dove Collection of the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, San Marcos. The production materials from the Lonesome Dove Collection have never before been displayed outside of the Wittliff Collections, and some might never travel again due to their fragile condition.

According to Mary Burke, director of the Sid Richardson Museum, the exhibit show “how different craftsmen and artist depict” this key moment in history for Fort Worth, Texas and the Southwest.

Aside from the artistic masterpieces on display, there will also be historical artifacts from the time period, including a diary from 1868 from a cowboy in Parker County, Burke said.

Also on display will be the first draft of the Lonesome Dove television script by Bill Wittliff.

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The Sid Richardson Museum exhibit will be part of the January-through-June citywide celebration, known as ”The Lonesome Dove Trail,” which will include multiple Fort Worth venues plus one in Albany, Texas. The Trail will include exhibitions at four museums and screenings, seminars and a reunion gala of the cast and crew of the award-winning 1989 TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove, including Robert Duvall (who portrayed Gus McCrae), Tommy Lee Jones (who portrayed Woodrow Call), Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston and others, to be held in the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards. (www.LonesomeDoveReunion.com)

“Just as seen in the TV miniseries, the Remington and Russell paintings and sculptures in our exhibition illuminate the narrative of the late 19th century American West,” said Burke. “Our presentation of the West—through well-crafted words, video, set illustrations, costume designs, storyboards and works by Remington and Russell—is a first-of-its-kind exhibition for our museum, and it sets the stage for the entire citywide celebration.”

Highlights of Lonesome Dove: The Art of Story

• These Remington paintings will be shown: The Fall of the Cowboy, 1895, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth; The Stampede, 1908, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa; Fight for the Waterhole, 1903, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (through April 3, 2016); and Buffalo Runners—Big Horn Basin, 1909, Sid Richardson Museum.

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“It is a special moment when a set of true Frederic Remington masterworks from four major art museums is assembled in one place,” said Peter H. Hassrick, director emeritus and senior scholar, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming.

• Additional integral works include two paintings by Russell on loan from the Amon Carter Museum and six Remington and Russell paintings from the Sid Richardson Museum’s permanent collection, as well as a rarely seen Remington painting and two Remington and one Russell bronzes from a private collection.

• Larry McMurtry’s annotated first page and last three pages of his first draft of Lonesome Dove (on loan from the University of Houston Special Collections) are displayed next to co-executive producer and screenwriter Bill Wittliff’s annotated copy of the epic book, Lonesome Dove, and the last three pages of the first draft of his screenplay for the TV miniseries, on loan from the Wittliff Collections.

• The trail map, casting page, storyboard sketches, set illustrations, costume drawings and other production materials are on loan from the Lonesome Dove production archives at the Wittliff Collections.

• A film clip of a cattle stampede in Lonesome Dove is on loan from Sonar Entertainment Distribution LLC, Los Angeles.

• The earliest known day-by-day journal of a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas by a Texas cowboy in 1868, the Jack Bailey Cowboy Journal, is on loan from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Okla.

• The 1881 book, The Beef Bonanza; Or, How to Get Rich on the Plains, by James Sanks Brisbin, considered to be the most important promotional book for the cattle boom of the 1880s, is on loan from the Rees-Jones Collection, Dallas.

Admission is free to the museum, located at 309 Main Street in Sundance Square in Fort Worth. The museum is open daily except for major holidays. Free valet parking is available in Sundance Square. For information about free docent-guided tours, programs, lectures and the Museum Store, visit the website, www.sidrichardsonmuseum.org, or call 817-332=6554.

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University were founded in 1986 by Bill Wittliff, Lonesome Dove screenwriter and co-executive producer, and his wife Sally. The Wittliff Collections, located in the Alkek Library at Texas State University, are devoted to collecting, preserving and sharing the creative legacy of the Southwest through literature, photography, film, and music. (www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu)

For more on the Lonesome Dove reunion: