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Hatfields & McCoys (2012) (TV)

Reviewed on 2012 June 1

This was a very good re-telling of the famous feud between two families, with great acting from the whole crew but from Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton in particular, and as far as I know with minimal straying from the facts of the whole mess.

After the Civil War, two families live uneasily in the Tug Fork, along the Kentucky / West Virginia border. The Kentucky McCoys and the Hatfields of West Virginia seemed to have little love lost between them towards the end of the war, and it gets uglier when a returning Union McCoy soldier is murdered by some Confederate Hatfields who didn’t get the memo that the war ended. This wasn’t enough to make the full-blown war between the families erupt, but it certainly didn’t help matters. The Hatfield patriarch, “Devil” Anse Hatfield (Costner), doesn’t seem to be too anxious to get justice for the McCoys. I think the fact the man earned the nickname “Devil” tells you volumes about the guy, but I digress.

What’s sad is things seem to come more to a head not over the loss of human life, but of all things, a pig. Randall McCoy (Paxton) claims that the Hatfield clan took one of their pigs, claiming the marks on the critter’s ears should have served as a brand. The matter goes to court, and since Randall and Devil were friends at one time, I wonder how grief could have been spared if some of the women of each clan tried to make peace before things got any further. Instead of a level-headed Hatfield sending over a horse or sheep or something as a peace offering, Judge Valentine “Wall” Hatfield (Powers Boothe) rules in favor of his kin, the whole time expressing disgust with the feud and encouraging his own people to settle down too. Unfortunately, neither family lacks in hotheads, and things only get uglier when Devil’s son Johnse Hatfield (Matt Barr) wants to marry Randall’s daughter Roseanne (Lindsay Pulsipher)…and she’s pregnant with his child.

It was rather like a train wreck: you couldn’t look away. I don’t think The Bard himself could have wrought this much drama between the Capulets and Montagues. Stretching the tale over three nights was a good decision; the tale could be told thoroughly and neither felt rushed nor like it was dragging out. There are a few embellishments; for one thing, from what I read the player Johnse wasn’t as in love with Roseanne as depicted here. Still, I enjoyed it and the attention to the timeline and the bulk of the details was wonderful.

Three morsels and a little southern comfort food. If you want pork chops, just check piggy’s ears first.


morsel morsel morsel

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