YEAR:  1995

ROLE:  Corporal Pea Eye Parker

DIRECTOR:  Joseph Sargent

TV-SERIES PREMIERE:   November 12 & 14, 1995

Plot Summary

In the new sequel, a couple of decades have passed since "Lonesome Dove." Capt. Woodrow Call has retired from the Texas Rangers, and is not too happy about age setting in. He has a touch of arthritis, his eyesight is fading and it's something of a chore just to get on a horse. But he keeps on working. As a freelance bounty hunter, he sets out after some vicious train robbers, the worst of them a 17-year-old blond, blue-eyed Mexican boy named Joey Garza. As someone says, Joey is less interested in the robbing than in the killing.

Going along with Call, after much hesitation, is Pea Eye Parker, his former corporal, now married to Lorena, the former prostitute, who has become a schoolteacher and loving mother of five. Living on the other edge of the Mexican border is Maria Garza, another strong woman whose life with a string of feckless lovers has produced the resentfully evil Joey and two younger children, a blind girl and a retarded boy. Maria has childhood memories of her father and brothers being hanged by Call for horse stealing. Call has always been a severe lawman. The lives of these characters will be inextricably entwined by story's end.

James GARNER.........Capt. Woodrow F. Call
Sissy SPACEK..........................Lorena Parker
Wes STUDI..............................Famous Shoes
Ned BEATTY........................Judge Roy Bean
Randy QUAID..................John Wesley Hardin
George CARLIN........................Billy Williams
James GAMMON...............Charles Goodnight
Alexis CRUZ..................................Joey Garza
Sonia BRAGIA............................Maria Garza

Movie Images

John J. O'Connor, NY Times:
It's big, sprawling, violent and initially uneven, but finally, thanks largely to James Garner, quite splendid... Especially in the first hour or two, "Streets of Laredo" tends to meander. Some of the dialogue falls curiously flat, as if the scenes were talk-through rehearsals. But Mr. McMurtry and his co-writer on the script, Diana Ossana, gradually find their footing with a wonderful collection of characters, major and minor, with good guys and nasty varmints... This is a great cast giving powerful performances. But as usual, Mr. Garner is a bit greater than most. It is just about impossible to figure out who brings the more mythic proportions, Woodrow Call or James Garner. The meld is seamless.

Ken Tucker, EW:
A great big ol' juicy Western you can sink your teeth into, Larry McMurtry's "Streets of Laredo" is the truly fitting sequel to 1989's great "Lonesome Dove"...In addition to the pig termination, there are bloody gunfights, the sight of a dead nude body, a leg amputation  - and every bit of this is dramatically justified. McMurtry's ongoing point is that much of the old West was a cruel, violent place where people enacted their own moral codes. It's the serious subtext to a wonderfully entertaining TV movie.

Tony Scott, Variety:
Garner's Call is relenting and mellowing - elegant word for aging - and entertains self-doubts. Braga's Maria, alternating between tenderness and fury as Joey's powerful, confused mother, commands her scenes. Spacek's interpretation of the experienced Lorena is a rich concept of the pioneer woman with a past.

Cruz's cold-eyed Joey, with his long, ashen hair and insolent style, holds attention. Studi's level-headed Famous Shoes is a plus; Shepard adds to the piece as soft-spoken, tamed Pea Eye.

Director Sargent works purposeful setups to reveal insights, tightcloseups to discover facets of a character, long shots of the barren land to show how rough life is. Production designer Jerry Wanek has established the worn-out feel of the land with his villages and location sites along the Rio Grande; he faithfully captures the period and its sense of loneliness and loss as the West gives way to law and railroads. Wanek has cunningly recreated an era that may not have been, and he gives it substance.

Edward Pei's photography is lovely; his composition, use of muted colors, sweeping shots of the lonely valleys and rock lands and his sense of historical perspective all contribute to the production's strengths. Thanks to Debra Karen's editing, the drama, buoyed by David Shire's near-sweeping score, keeps up its beckoning pace.

True West Magazine:
Wes Studi is very fine as the Kickapoo tracker Famous Shoes, who is one of McMurtry’s finest, and funniest, creations, and who also appears in Comanche Moon. Sam Shepard gives Pea Eye Parker a measure of woe that comes new to the character. McMurtry couldn’t have done better than Garner for Call, but Sissy Spacek isn’t up to the challenge of playing Lorena Parker. Hers is not a demanding role, but Spacek doesn’t hit it with any conviction, and the movie falls short, especially since she occupies so much time in the story.