McMurtry once stated that his books on the West were a “criticism, celebration and lament for an era and its passing.” This celebration and lamentation of the West that has passed is the tie that binds the works in this exhibition, whether through the vehicle of well-crafted words, set illustrations, props, costume designs and storyboards or depicted in the paintings and sculptures by artists Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. Remington and Russell painted with a sense of nostalgia for a West that was then passing or had already passed.
The Lonesome Dove miniseries’ cast, crew and crafts people were devoted to staying true to McMurtry’s story and to the authentic depiction of such story elements as setting, plot, characters and events. Co-executive producer Bill Wittliff said, “You could not watch the filming . . . and not know this thing was going to be great.”
Wanting a personal record of the filming of the miniseries, Wittliff took photographs during production, and personally saved, and also accepted, scripts, illustrations, storyboards, costumes and other materials from the production. These types of items form the Lonesome Dove Collection at the Wittliff Collections, which he and his wife, Sally, founded and that now are featured at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
This first-of-its-kind exhibition includes: Lonesome Dove miniseries production materials that allow a behind-the-scenes look at the crafting of setting, action and the characterizations of Gus and Call; rare books from the cattle-trail era; an authentic cowboy journal from the time period; and iconic Remington and Russell works from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Gilcrease Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Sid Richardson Museum.