Behind the Scenes: Exploring the Real-Life Locations of ‘Lonesome Dove’ Shoot

A classic American Western adventure, Lonesome Dove, has etched a permanent mark in the realm of television miniseries. The saga of two former Texas Rangers, Captain Augustus McCrae and Captain Woodrow F Call, embarking on a cattle drive from Texas to the Montana Territory, has captivated audiences since its premiere in 1989. But one question that intrigues fans to this day is – where was Lonesome Dove filmed? Let’s embark on this cinematic journey to unravel the answer.

The series, directed by Simon Wincer, stars Robert Duvall Augustus McCrae, Tommy Lee Jones as captain Woodrow F Call, Danny Glover as Joshua Deets, Diane Lane as Lorena Wood, Robert Urich as Jake Spoon, Frederick Forrest as Blue Duck, Ricky Schroder as Newt Dobbs, Anjelica Huston as Clara Allen, Chris Cooper as July Johnson, and many more.

The Essence of Lonesome Dove

Before we delve into the filming locations, let’s take a moment to appreciate the essence of Lonesome Dove. Based on Pulitzer prize winning author Larry McMurtry’s novel, the series is a testament to the post-Civil War era and Old West when cowboys drove nearly 10 million Texas Longhorns over trails to northern ranges and markets.

The Filming Timeline

The production of Lonesome Dove spanned a significant time frame. The filming began in March 1988 and continued until 3 July 1988. The series was then broadcasted by CBS in February 1989, garnering substantial viewership and numerous awards.

The Filming Locations: An Overview

The filming of Lonesome Dove was a complex process, involving a number of sites across the United States. Here are the primary locations where the filming took place:

  1. Alamo Village, Texas, USA
  2. Eaves Movie Ranch, New Mexico, USA
  3. Cerro Pelon Movie Ranch, New Mexico, USA
  4. Bonanza Creek Ranch, New Mexico, USA
  5. Angel Fire, New Mexico, USA

Let’s delve deeper into each of these locations for a more detailed understanding.

Alamo Village, Texas, USA

Located north of Brackettville, Texas, Alamo Village was the first movie location constructed in Texas to look like the Old West. The still-standing movie set was initially built for the film The Alamo, directed by John Wayne. The location was later utilized for Lonesome Dove as one of the primary filming locations.

Eaves Movie Ranch, New Mexico, USA

A working movie set and events venue, Eaves Movie Ranch, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is not open to the public. It is used exclusively for film productions and special events and served as one of the filming locations for Lonesome Dove.

Cerro Pelon Movie Ranch, New Mexico, USA

The Cerro Pelon Ranch, located in Galisteo, New Mexico, is a large ranch estate used as a Hollywood film production unit. The property has breathtaking views of the Jemez Mountains, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Ortiz Mountains, Sandia Mountains, and the Galisteo River. It was utilized as one of the filming locations for Lonesome Dove.

Bonanza Creek Ranch, New Mexico, USA

Situated in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Bonanza Creek Ranch has been a favored filming location for numerous movies and series. The ranch is located in Bonanza City, a ghost town located southwest of Santa Fe. The ranch’s rustic and authentic Western ambiance made it a perfect fit for Lonesome Dove.

Angel Fire, New Mexico, USA

Home to Angel Fire Resort, ski slopes, and a summer mountain bike park, Angel Fire is a picturesque snowy village. This beautiful location was used as one of the filming sites for Lonesome Dove.

More Than Just Filming Locations

While the aforementioned locations were the primary sets, the filming of Lonesome Dove also involved shooting in other locations like J.W. Eaves Movie Ranch, Bastrop State Park, Brackettville, Del Rio, Black Lake, Austin, and San Ildefonso Pueblo.

The Release and Reception of Lonesome Dove

Originally broadcast by CBS from February 5 to 8, 1989, the series was a massive success, earning many awards and attracting a vast viewing audience. The series is now available on platforms like Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+.

The Legacy of Lonesome Dove

The series, Lonesome Dove, was not just a grand cinematic experience but it was also a testament to the rich history and picturesque landscapes of the United States. The locations chosen for filming, especially in Texas and New Mexico, added authenticity to the story and helped in creating a visually captivating narrative.

So, the next time you wonder, “where was Lonesome Dove filmed?”, recall the beautiful expanses of Alamo Village or the rustic charm of Bonanza Creek Ranch. These places not only served as the perfect backdrop for the series but they also became an integral part of the legacy that Lonesome Dove continues to carry.

Written by Alexander