Costumes provide a quick visual cue for film viewers to draw assumptions about a character. For instance, the character Gus was a more friendly and outgoing man than his partner Call. To contrast Gus with the more stoic Call, costume designer Van Broughton Ramsey dressed Gus in tans and browns.
Ramsey remembers “[Robert] Duvall trusted us, there was a scene in the book where he went into town and bought a black suit to go visit Clara, [but] we made him a brown one . . . . He took one look at it and said ‘It’s not black,’ then he thought for a minute and said, ‘but it wouldn’t be.’ And he wore the brown suit.”
Costume designer Van Broughton Ramsey won an Emmy Award for his work on Lonesome Dove.