Hatfields & McCoys on History Channel

I know the History Channel has a deserved reputation for being only marginally associated with anything factually historical since it veered away from being “The Hitler Channel,” and nowadays has more to do with UFO Conspiracies and such.

But the in-theater previews for the Avengers movies had this preview.

It looks kind of interesting; it has some name actos associated with it (Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger, Powers Booth), and looks to have some pretty decent production values.

It’s a three-part miniseries, debuting tonight at 9/8 Central.

It does NOT appear to be a historical documentary of the Hatfield/McCoy Feud, but a period drama based loosely on it; think Hell on Wheels in the Appalach.

Fingers crossed that it is good.

Eleven minutes in and I’m already disgusted, but then I’m a native West Virginian. The least of it is that Romania (where this was filmed) does not look anything like the Tug River Valley of West Virginia. I’ll see if I can stick with it, though.

ETA: When it was announced that this was going to be on the History Channel, I posited that we would learn that the Hatfields were aliens and the McCoys were Nazis.

Can you describe the differences for us? From what very little experience I have with WV, I think the show’s setting is too flat and too sparsely treed.

No, they built the pyramids together, and the feud originated over the three-sided or four-sided design.

Yes, the mountains in that part of WV are much closer together – very little bottom land. The trees in the Romanian location were not only too sparse but of the wrong type. Southern WV forests are mostly deciduous hardwoods.


Overall, I rather liked it, but I thought that they overdid the accents a bit.

I think they did a a good job portraying the incremental escalation of foolish pride and familial arrogance that went into the making of the fued (from what little bit of online research I was able to dig up and read after seeing the preview).

I thought the accents were pretty good, but 1 hour and 40 minutes in, the Federal guy (Phillips) said, “…anythin’.” disdain disdain disdain

I’ve seen a lot worse. I’m very impressed by the houses; a lot of movies set in this period have interiors that are too bright and flowery and the like while this looks a lot more like the working class southern homes from the time. Biggest complaints is the godawful fake beards that look like they’re left over from a Christmas pageant.

How in the hell did they make this movie without William Sanderson? I thought it was a law he had to be in any movie featuring a strong hillbilly contingent. (Maybe he killed a man in Romania once and can’t enter the country.)

They should have payed these “A” list actors what they’re worth in 2012 dollars with 2012 fame and not 2012 dollars with 1992 fame. And if they payed a dollar over $4000 for Paxton then they were just swindled.

I like that in the pre-interview thingy on the History Channel website one of the production guys cites “power lines and buildings” as the reason they didn’t shoot a film about a quintessentially Appalachian family in dirt-poor Appalachia.

It’s embarrassing.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to secure the rights to film my upcoming documentary about the Lipan Apache peoples in Azerbaijan…

I liked it. I’m not overly concerned with the scenery or the accents, hell some good westerns were made in Italy. I’m just enjoying the story.

They also used that for an excuse when they filed Cold Mountain in Transylvania. Another excuse, which may have had some merit, was that the many extras available (many of them active duty military) looked far more like Civil War soldiers (i.e. short scruffy scarecrows) than U.S. extras.

Worst accent in the movie to me is the actor playing Tolbert (the McCoy son threatening to shoot Johnse at dawn). I’m really not sure what he’s going for, but he’s missing, though it may just be bad acting.

On the whole, though, I’d give it an “Exceeds expectations”.

Filmed, rather. It would be really difficult to file a mountain.

Trivia: Twain probably incorporated the Sheperdson/Grangerford feud into Huckleberry Finn in large part due to the nation’s fascination with the Hatfield McCoy feud. If you recall those chapters of Finn, it becomes particularly bloody when there’s an elopement; by the time he wrote Finn, Twain would have known about Johnse and his McCoy women.

I would, too, Sampiro. I got worried when it started being hyped up. Usually they do that when they know they have to provide special sauce in order to get you to swallow it.

I got a lot riding here. My existence, my ancestors, and my reason for being. And I want it to be right, 'aye God. Or else I have to just blink out.

They’re doing pretty good. I’d give it a thumbs up (their butts if they get it wrong.)

I can’t wait till tomorrow.

Oh, and the “I’m gonna kill ya at dawn” guy…it was like they took several takes, and he tried a different accent each time.

Doesn’t Hollywood know that we say "anythang? (Strong “g.”)

Not really. I’d just put it under ‘M’ and call it a day.

It was OK. But they should have had Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt play the Romeo and Juliet part… Seriously, is there any authenticity to that romance and pregnancy, or was it added just to have a love interest? Or, they could have the chick turn into a wer-panther. Now, that would be real cool!!!

It’s listed as a real-life thing, but I have my doubts. It seems to me that it does smack of “Romeo & Juliet” and could have been added later to “spice up” the telling of the tale of the feud.

I just thought I’d throw into this thread that my late mother-in-law had very clear memories as a little girl of driving past the Hatfield family home in Logan, WV and seeing Devil Anse sitting on his porch behind bullet-proof glass.

I knew the basics of the feud but not the detail until the press over this, when I started reading more about it, and I was surprised how long Devil Anse and Randal McCoy lived. They were tough old coots: Hatfield lived until 1921 and McCoy until 1914.

Did anybody else think the scene in which Mrs. McCoy (Mare Winningham [one of my favorite actresses]) tells him to withdraw before ejaculating was somewhat superfluous? Especially considering he clearly said “Request denied” as they had bunches of kids after that (a total of at least 13 in real life).

Hatfield’s youngest child seems to have been born when his wife was around 50, possibly a year or two older. I wonder if that was an illegitimate grandchild they raised.

It’s getting good tonight.