Last Dove: a western homage in Second Life

Last Dove, November 2019 – click any image for full size

Created with love in the spirit of West Texas honouring those that came before, those with us, and our future.

So reads the About Land dedication for Last Dove, a Homestead region designed by Erythro and Shannon Cardalines. And while there are many western-themed role-play regions, Last Dove is something special, as Shannon noted to me as we discussed it after Caitlyn and I had made our initial visit.

It was designed for a set for Erythro to make machinima he wants to show at film festivals in real life. We based the sim on the novel and screenplay of Lonesome Dove. The characters you see here are all bots that Ery scripted to work as his actors.

– Shannon Cardalines describing Last Dove.

Last Dove, November 2019

For those unfamiliar with Lonesome Dove, it was the title book (although technically the third instalment of the story) of a series bearing the same name, written by Larry McMurtry. It started as a film script collaboration between McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich, but after languishing in development hell for over a decade, McMurtry purchased the rights to the script and turned it into a novel, first published in 1985 and winning the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The story did eventually reach the screen – albeit the television screen – in 1989 in a CBS 4-part mini-series starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane and Anjelica Houston among a long list of notable actors. It is a particularly memorable story not so much because of its western setting, but because it is a tale that intertwines themes of old age, death, unrequited love, and friendship – something reflected in the dedication for the region.

Last Dove – riding into town – November 2019

As well as being the title of the novel and series, Lonesome Dove is also the name of the Texas town where the story begins. It is this town – the set of which still stands – that serves as the inspiration for Last Dove; and it is no exaggeration to say that the region marvellously captures the spirit of the location, with several of the notable buildings being reproduced along the dusty main street. The echo of The Stockman’s Hotel, for example can clearly be seen in Last Dove’s Dry Bean Saloon.

In addition to recreating the town, Ery has also scripted a number of characters from the book / series. These may vary between visits – there is a control board for the bots hidden away in one of the building. However, when visiting, you’re more than likely to come across the two principle characters, Captain Woodrow F. Call (played by Tommy Lee Jones in the CBS mini-series) and Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae (played by Robert Duvall) – with the latter looking particularly reminiscent of has actor alter-ego!

Last Dove – after a day in the saddle, even a girl needs a drink! – November 2019

Given Lonesome Dove is set against the backdrop of a cattle drive to Montana, other touches reflecting on the film include the bunkhouse and a small herd of Texas longhorn cattle, complete with a cowboy bivouac, suggesting the drive out on the trail. In addition, the great plains of Texas are represented by the region surround, which directly abuts the region on three sides, offers scrub grassland  that rolls gently off to the horizon and the hazy slopes of distant hills. This gives Last Dove a tremendous sense of depth, with the west side of the region separated from the surround by a span of water that perfectly echoes the Rio Grande, which features in both the story and the town (the set for Lonesome Dove is located near Del Rio, West Texas).

While inspired by Lonesome Dove, I have to admit that initially, the setting put me in mind of Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter. There was something about the plains rolling away to those haze-softened hills and the town on a shoreline that put me in mind of Eastwood’s ghostly Stranger (Death) on his pale horse, riding out of the shimmering haze to  mete out vengeance. So much so that, in looking across the plains of Last Dove, I wouldn’t have been surprised had a horseman slowly materialised riding towards the town! In this respect, I did feel a bit of a twit when Shannon explained the actual inspiration – I’d been looking at the Captain Call character with the name ringing bell, but unable to place where I’d come across it.

Last Dover, November 2019

It’s important to state (again) that Last Dove isn’t intended as a role-play region per se. However, it is ideal for photography and for getting into the spirit of the old west, as I hope a couple of my pictures here suggest! Rezzing is also permitted for props – but please ensure you clean things up afterwards.

This is genuinely a superb setting, richly evocative of the story on which it is based. Its offer plenty of opportunity for horse-riding, easy exploration and – as noted – for photography. Absolutely not a setting to be missed. Those wishing to see more of the Lonesome Dove set as it looks in more recent times can do so via the Lonesome Dove Remember link, below.

Last Dove – meeting “Gus” McCrae (centre) and Woodrow Call outside the bunkhouse – November 2019

SLurl and Links

With thanks to Shawn Shakespeare and Alsatian Kidd for the region SLurl, and to Shanon for her time while visiting

2 thoughts on “Last Dove: a western homage in Second Life

  1. Thank you Ms. Pey for your wonderful write-up on Last Dove. We would also like to thank Gretchen Janick for all her help making this possible along with the many other talented and gifted creators in Second Life. We welcome all to come ride, happy trails!

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