Duvall plays a rancher who has pity on five Chinese women being sent to work as mining camp prostitutes. The rancher and his nephew take the women with them on a horse drive from Oregon to Wyoming.
Duvall said the four-hour miniseries completes a personal trilogy that started with "Lonesome Dove" and continued with "Open Range."
"This is something very near to my heart," Duvall told Daily Variety. "The story is actually partially based on something that happened to the father of a friend of mine."
The $15 million is the most AMC has ever spent on original programming.
Filming begins in August in Calgary, Canada, on "Daughters of Joy," which is to be released in summer 2006.