Lonesome Dove is widely regarded as one of the most accurate and beloved portrayals of the Wild West to ever hit the screen. The popular miniseries was adapted from Larry McMurtry's classic novel, which was actually an adaptation of a screenplay originally intended for John Wayne. The miniseries aired at a pivotal time in the late '80s when the western genre started seeing a major revival after years of people assuming it was mostly dead. It went on to earn numerous Emmy Award nominations and has garnered a passionate fan base to this day.
The story follows two former Texas Rangers running a livestock stable along the Texas border. While the characters Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones) and Gus McCrae (Robert Duvall) were inspired by Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, Danny Glover's character Joshua Deets was also based on a real person -- the black man Bose Ikard who accompanied Loving and Goodnight on their legendary cattle drives which became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
Who Was The Real Bose Ikard?
Ikard was born into slavery in the mid-1800s in Noxubee County, Mississippi. As a child, he moved down to Texas with his slave master's family where he learned a rancher's work on their cattle ranch. He learned all of the cowboy skills from riding to roping and, following the Civil War, became a free man. He initially went to work for Oliver Loving but after Loving died of gangrene after being shot in a Comanche attack, he went to work for the legendary trail driver Goodnight. He became a trusted associate and good friend after spending years together on the trails of the Old West. Today, Ikard is recognized as a prominent part of Texas history in the Texas Trail of Fame.
The cowboy passed away in 1928 in Weatherford, Texas. Charles Goodnight erected a granite marker in Greenwood Cemetery for his longtime friend and provided the following quote -- "Bose Ikard served with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked a duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me in many stampedes, participated in three engagements with the Comanches, splendid behavior."
There is also a Texas historical marker by Ikard's grave which reads, "Born a slave in Mississippi, Bose Ikard came to Texas as a child with the family of his owner, Dr. Milton L. Ikard. He remained as an employee of Dr. Ikard following his emancipation, but in 1866 joined a cattle drive to Colorado led by Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. Ikard became one of Goodnight's best cowboys and trusted friends. Following his work in the cattle drives, Ikard settled in Weatherford (TX). He and his wife Angeline were the parents of six children when he died in 1928 at age 85."