tek's rating:

Buffalo Girls, on CBS
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This is based on a book by Larry McMurtry, which I haven't read. It aired in 1995, and I'm fairly sure I watched it at the time. But when I watched it on DVD in 2021 to finally write a review, there was nothing about it that I remembered. It's narrated by Martha 'Calamity' Jane Canary (Angelica Huston) in the form of letters to her daughter, Janey.

Part One
It seems to me like lots of random stuff Calamity experiences toward the end of the days of the Old West. She has various friends she sees at different times, including her best friend Dora DuFran (Melanie Griffith) and Dora's boyfriend, Teddy Blue (Gabriel Byrne), and Dora's... employee, I guess, named Doosie (I'm not sure of her exact job). Other people Calamity knows include Wild Bill Hickok (Sam Elliott), Buffalo Bill Cody (Peter Coyote), a pair of former beaver trappers named Jim Ragg and Bartle Bone (Jack Palance), and a Native American called No Ears (Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman). I don't really want to spoil any details of what happens, but I guess I kind of have to mention that at one point she has a baby that she gives away to a couple who live in Illinois. The husband, Captain James O'Neill, is from England, and after his wife dies, he takes the baby back there. Also, Buffalo Bill gets several of Calamity's friends to join his traveling Wild West show, and invites her to join, as well. She refuses at first, but in the end decides to join up, as a means of looking for her daughter.

Part Two
So... when the Wild West show goes to England, Calamity finds Janey, but Captain O'Neill doesn't want Janey to know that Calamity is her real mother. Calamity also meets some other people in the Wild West show, most notably Annie Oakley (Reba McEntire). There's also Sitting Bull, who develops a beef with No Ears. Meanwhile, back in the States, Dora moves to a new town, and quickly marries a younger man named Ogden. (I should mention that in part one, Blue had married a young woman we never get to know at all, because he got tired of Dora always rejecting his proposals.) And eventually Calamity and everyone goes home, and... I don't want to spoil any more of what happens. But all in all, I'd say it was a fairly decent story, with good characters. I'm definitely glad to have seen it again.

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