Playing the Texas Ranger turned cattleman, Gus McRae, this is unquestionably Robert Duval's greatest acting achievement. Had this adaptation of Larry McMurtry's award-winning novel been made for the Big Screen rather than television, it would have garnered every major Academy Award for that year. It's also every bit as good as the book, if not better.
In my opinion, this is the finest vision of the mythical American West ever put on film. It has everything: flawed good guys, horrific bad guys, Indian fights, shootouts, the hooker with a Heart of Gold, rustlers, a danger-filled cattle drive, hangings, lost loves, loyalty of friendship, cowardice, bravery, tragedy, drama, humor. The cynic will say that the film is simply a compilation of clichés. However, everything is tied together so wonderfully by Duval and a magnificent supporting cast, spectacular cinematography, authentic period costuming, and a soundtrack to knock your socks off, that it's hard to object even if you realize your emotions are being shamelessly manipulated.
I've plugged the DVD of this epic into the player more times than I can count. If you've never seen it, have a box of Kleenex handy, and indulge your senses.