Costner Leads Cast of Hatfields & McCoys

Now I wish I hadn’t let go of cable TV. Last night Hatfields and McCoys premiered on The History Channel. This dramatic mini-series stars stars Kevin Costner as Devil Anse Hatfield, Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy, and Tom Berenger as the uncle of Devil Anse.

Nikki Bowman was lucky enough to attend the premiere. On, she wrote…

“After I adjusted to the accents, rich in Shakespearean English, it immediately transported me to post-Civil War Appalachia, when the region was still trying to figure out its place in the country. The gothic scenery—unfortunately, it was filmed in Romania and not the Tug River Valley due to production costs—and the deftly portrayed characters capture an important time in West Virginian and American history by illustrating that the iconic feud was greater and much more involved than a simple dispute over a pig.”

In addition to being a complex film that shows the depth of America’s most famous feud, it also has interesting online extensions. You can find more videos, background on the two families’ members, and a fun Hatfields and McCoys quiz on The History Channel website.

Unfortunately, the online features don’t include the premiere episode, which aired last night. I’ve not been able to find it anywhere online, so for now, I’ll have to rely on you for updates.

Part two airs tonight at 9/8c. If you watch it, please tell me what it’s like!


  • Christopher

    If you’re interested in this topic, please check out Altina Waller’s book “Feud.” She does an amazing job highlighting that this was about much, much more than Civil War grudges. Its a great work of historical research and and masterful historiography.

  • John Anderson

    So far, so good. My main concern was that they respect the characters not portray them as hillbilly caricatures. The movie Cold Mountain did a good job of humanizing post Civil War Appalachians. I think this series is doing the same. I’ll keep watching.

  • Cynthia Neal

    It is a masterful production. The script is amazing as is the direction, the photography, the art direction and, of course, the acting, I feel it may well become a classic, not unlike Lonesome Dove. For those of us who grew up in Appalachia with this feud as part of our culture, there are moments that have touched deeply my WV heart.

  • marklynn

    Susan, thanks for the heads up. You know what I’ll be watching tonight!

  • Marguerite

    I was looking forward to the series, and it is beautifully filmed, but I have been disappointed by the quality of acting. Especially Bill Paxton. I’ll finish it out, but I would not watch it again. Recommended reading would include The Tale Of The Devil, by Coleman C. Hatfield and Robert Y. Spence.

  • Susan

    I was born in Eastern Kentucky and I was very disappointed to hear that the production would be filmed in Hungary. As it turns out, that has not been an issue. That part of Hungary looks very much like the Appalachia I know. I do have a huge problem with the accents. They seem more western than Appalachian and some of the dialogue, especially when spoken by the British actors, is unintelligible. I’ve played back some scenes several times and I still could not understand what the actors were saying.

    I agree with Marguerite that Bill Paxton’s acting is not up to par. Or else it’s very good and Randall was a one-note human being.

    The dispute between the two main characters does seem to have been about more than the ownership of a pig but most of the other male characters seem to be driven by pride, greed or sheer meaness. The cast was so large and there was so much facial hair that, for the most part, the various sons, brothers and cousins were indistinguishable. Other than a brief moment of regret for one very handsome McCoy brother, I didn’t care when anyone died.

  • John

    Well, compared to that abomination known as ‘The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia”, it is Academy Award material.

  • Uncle

    Hey Mark did I ever tell you that your cousins drama teacher is related to the Hatfields?

  • mike fergusons

    did any one find a place to see this for free

  • Tony Petres

    The filming was in the Carpathian Mts. in Transylvania, Romania. Susan was 1/2 right; that part of the world did belong to Hungary until it was forced to give up the beautiful region as part of a rather one-sided settlement that ended the 1st World War. Both my parents (ethnic Hungarians) were born very close to where the series was filmed, and although my father had passed, my mother did get to see the film when it aired in 2012. In any case, I think the selection of Transylvania was genius, as the tall stands of oak and other hardwoods plus the abundant limestone outcrops were about as close to 1870 West Virginia/Kentucky as one could get. I’m sure the absence of roads and power lines was a huge plus to the producers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will never be published or shared, and required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).