In part two, Buffalo Hump (Wes Studi) expelled Blue Duck (Adam Beach) from the tribe for being a troublemaker. Blue Duck sneered in response. Each one boasted that he'd kill the other if he saw him again.
Now it's 1865, eight years later, and the Civil War is over. Blue Duck is leading a band of "half-breeds" in raids against the whites. Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae are still tasked with hunting Comanches. "The wild Indians are as wild as ever," says Call.
With that in mind, let the stupidity begin.
Yeah, even though the Rangers exist to corral Comanches, they've forgotten the Comanche leader who pillaged and burned Austin and swore to kill any white man he met. Conveniently, though, Buffalo Hump has forgotten his genocidal plans for revenge. Once again, we have a perfect confluence of Indians and whites acting obtusely.
I don't know if Comanches traditionally went off by themselves to die. But it's a common conceit in Native-themed fiction that all old people do this. I suspect it's not true--that most tribes honored their elders by keeping them alive.
Why does Blue Duck have a chained bear? Because a big, dangerous predator is exactly what you want to drag along when you're a small mobile force hoping to avoid capture? No, because bear-baiting is a surefire example of depravity going back to the Dark Ages.
So young Indians exist to rape and kill while old Indians exist to sing and die. So much for respecting your elders. These Indians don't get to stick around long enough to impart their wisdom.
The lament of the vanishing Indian is pretty much a Western cliché. Yes, some Indians may have bemoaned their losses, but focusing on it is stereotypical. How about focusing on Famous Shoes the scout instead? He appears to be getting along well in the new world, raising a family and taking an occasional job.
Nice...but after acting humanely for a moment, Call agrees to hang six of the criminals. He stopped an execution with guns so he could stage an execution with nooses. Good thinking, Ranger...you wouldn't want to waste your bullets.
And...that's it for the Indians. Blue Duck doesn't die a well-deserved death. He lives to rape and kill another day.
In fact, there's no denouement or closure for any of the remaining Indians. Talk about your dramatic ineptitude. A third-grader could've come up with a better ending than Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana did.
So what are we left with? Indians kill each other or go off to die. Either way, their actions are barbaric and savage--nothing civilized men would do.
It doesn't even matter because they're doomed to die. Like dinosaurs, cavemen, and other primitive creatures, their time is done.
The series ends with a glowing shot of Austin representing the dawn of civilization. In the foreground, Call's son practices his roping like a future Texas Ranger. It's not as stirring as a John Ford finish--the cavalry marching and singing and waving the flag--but it conveys the same message. Law and order triumph over anarchy and chaos. The white man wins again.
Let's see...I gave part one of Comanche Moon a 7.0 of 10, and that was the best episode. Part two gets a 6.5 and part three gets a 6.0. Rating for the series: 6.5 of 10. Which is about what a third-grader could produce with the same resources as McMurtry and Ossana.