The classic 1989 miniseries is available for streaming through Starz Encore On Demand.
The folks at the Starz Encore premium channel want to take you on a 30th anniversary journey with Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Rick Schroder, and all the other cowboys of Lonesome Dove. They aired the classic 1989 miniseries in a marathon of back-to-back episodes Oct. 13 on Starz Encore Westerns, and will do so again Nov. 29 on Starz Encore Classic. But wait, there's more: They’re also continuing to make the epic western available for streaming through Starz Encore On Demand.
And while you’re enjoying Lonesome Dove again — or for the very first time — on the Starz Encore platforms, consider this: The miniseries came close to never happening. As we noted in our 25th anniversary celebration of the 1989 epic:
“If John Wayne hadn’t heeded the advice of John Ford, Larry McMurtry might never have written the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove. If James Garner had been in better health at the time the novel was adapted into an epic miniseries, he, not Robert Duvall, likely would have been cast as Augustus ‘Gus’ McCrae.
“And if scriptwriter-executive producer Bill Wittliff had ordered something other than oysters during a pre-production dinner with director Simon Wincer, someone other than the Australian-born filmmaker probably would have taken the reins.
“Yes, it’s all true. As McMurtry and director Peter Bogdanovich often have noted, they were greatly pleased by the result of their first collaboration — The Last Picture Show, the classic 1971 film based on McMurtry’s novel — and hoped to reunite for a second project, a western with the working title Streets of Laredo. Bogdanovich had hoped to sign John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda for lead roles in the film. But when Ford cautioned Wayne not to be part of the elegiac western drama, The Duke dropped out, and the project fell apart. Years later, McMurtry reworked his original script into a novel titled Lonesome Dove.”
You can read more about what might (or might not) have happened here.