Friday, June 19, 2015

Texas Rising

When I first heard of Texas Rising, the History Channel's mini-series on the Texas Revolution, I was excited. According to the website, this show is "a series event on HISTORY that details the Texas Revolution and the rise of the Texas Rangers." Since it was being produced by the History Channel, I was hopeful that it would be historically accurate.

Boy, was I disappointed.

From the setting to the characterizations, I saw very little that resembled reality. But then, Hollywood is not known for being too concerned about reality on the screen or in real life.

Most of the scenery in Texas Rising was more appropriate for the area around Big Bend than for the coastal plain and East Texas. When the first scenes appeared on the screen portending to be the area around San Antonio and showed arid mountains, I should have turned to another channel. But I persisted to the very end. I guess I just wanted to see how far these folks would go in distorting reality. Perhaps I like to suffer.

There was a character named Lorca, portrayed by Ray Liotta, who climbed out of what appeared to be a mass grave for the Alamo defenders. He would go on to become the Alamo's avenger, using anything including rattlesnakes as weapons in his quest for vengeance. Billy Anderson, played by Brendan Fraser, was some sort of Native American wannabe, who even had a Comanche son. Empresario Buckley, played by Robert Knepper, was still distributing land after the fall of the Alamo, even when history tells us everyone else was fleeing east in the Runaway Scrape. And poor Deaf Smith. The producers killed him off a couple of months after the battle at San Jacinto rather than let him live until he actually died, which was November of 1837, roughly a year and a half after the battle. And the list goes on and on.

Late in the production -- after the Texan victory at San Jacinto -- a combined band of Mexican soldiers and Comanches attached the detail escorting prisoner Santa Anna to Louisiana in an attempt to rescue him. We are told the attack is on the Texas/United States border. The scenery was, once again, what I would expect to see in the western portions of the state. I guess the producers are unaware that there are 4 national forests in East Texas, and the entire region is heavily wooded with numerous rivers and streams.

In fact, Comanches played an unusual role throughout the production. They played no such role in reality that I know of. And I've never read of their roving as far east as the Louisiana border in any instance, though I've not read everything ever written about them by any means.

And I'm still trying to wrap my head around the use of the Rangers in the production.

The period of Texas history from 1821 to 1836 is fascinating. It does not need embellishment. Just tell the story the way it actually happened. Bring history to life.

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