Texas Rising (2015)

Starring Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser, Chad Michael Murray

Bill Paxton
Born: May 17, 1955
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Sam Houston
Born: March 2, 1793
Birthplace: Rockbridge County, Virginia, USA
Death: July 26, 1863, Huntsville, Texas, USA (pneumonia)
Olivier Martinez
Born: January 12, 1966
Paris, France
Santa Anna
Born: February 24, 1794
Birthplace: Xalapa, Veracruz, Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico)
Death: June 21, 1876, Mexico City
Chad Michael Murray
Born: August 24, 1981
Buffalo, New York, USA
Mirabeau Lamar
Born: August 16, 1798
Birthplace: Louisville, Georgia, USA (approx.)
Death: December 19, 1859, Richmond, Texas, USA (approx.) (heart attack)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Born: April 22, 1966
Seattle, Washington, USA
Erastus "Deaf" Smith
Born: April 19, 1787
Birthplace: Dutchess County, New York, USA
Death: November 30, 1837, Richmond, Texas, USA
Kris Kristofferson
Born: June 22, 1936
Brownsville, Texas, USA
Andrew Jackson
Born: March 15, 1767
Birthplace: Waxhaws border region between North Carolina and South Carolina, USA
Death: June 8, 1845, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (lead poisoning)
Max Thieriot
Born: October 14, 1988
Los Altos Hills, California, USA
John Coffee "Jack" Hays
Born: January 27, 1817
Birthplace: Wilson County, Tennessee, USA
Death: April 21, 1883, Piedmont, California, USA
Johnathon Schaech
Born: September 10, 1969
Edgewood, Maryland, USA
Sidney Sherman
Born: July 23, 1805
Birthplace: Marlboro, Massachusetts, USA
Death: August 1, 1873, Galveston, Texas, USA
Jeff Fahey
Born: November 29, 1952
Olean, New York, USA
Thomas Rusk
Born: December 5, 1803
Birthplace: Pendleton, South Carolina, USA
Death: July 29, 1857, Nacogdoches, Texas, USA (suicide by self-inflicted gunshot)
Our goal is to entertain you. We're not out to tell a history lesson. 'Texas Rising' is a great Western Saga that parallels people's strive for liberation and overcoming conflict with a backdrop of Texas history. -Miniseries Co-Creator Leslie Greif, May 2015, Men's Journal

Questioning the Story:

Is Ray Liotta's character, Lorca, based on a real person?

No. In the Texas Rising miniseries, Lorca (Ray Liotta) survives the siege at the Alamo but suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after the battle. He embarks on a revenge-fueled killing frenzy, attempting to hunt and take the lives of as many Mexican soldiers as he can. Though he makes for an intriguing character, he is pure fiction. There were no documented white male survivors at the conclusion of the final assault on the Alamo by Mexican forces on March 6, 1836. Miniseries creator Darrell Fetty says that Lorca's existence in the story is "really a metaphor for what happens when someone reaches their depth and has to rise above that." -MensJournal.com

Ray Liotta's character, Lorca (left), and Brendan Fraser's Billy Anderson (right) are both fictional.

Is Brendan Fraser's character, Billy Anderson, based on a real person?

No. In researching the Texas Rising true story, we discovered that Billy Anderson is at best a composite character. Despite what a few other websites have reported, he is not based on William "Bloody Bill" Anderson, one of the most brutal Confederate guerrillas of the Civil War. Bloody Bill wasn't even born until 1840, four years after the final battle shown in the miniseries, the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto.

"Billy is there to bridge the divide between the two worlds," says actor Brendan Fraser. "He's the white guy with the braids who has language skills, speaks like the locals and can defuse a situation through diplomacy" (Toronto Star). In the movie, the character had been kidnapped as a boy and raised by the Kiowa Tribe. He uses a bow and arrow to fight and is fluent in several Native American languages.

Did the love triangle between Sam Houston, Emily D. West, and Santa Anna really exist?

No, it is highly unlikely. Born in Connecticut, Emily D. West was a free woman of mixed race who was kidnapped by Mexican forces while she was working at a Texas hotel as an indentured servant. She is often referred to as Emily Morgan, since it was custom at the time for indentured servants to take the surname of their master, in her case, Colonel James Morgan. Santa Anna was captivated by her beauty and insisted she be put in his camp on the plains of San Jacinto. Though West and the love triangle would later become associated with the folk song "The Yellow Rose of Texas," there is no documented evidence that the real Sam Houston ever had a relationship with Emily D. West.

"Historians think West spent time in New Orleans working as a prostitute," says co-creator Darrell Fetty, "and we also knew that Sam Houston had spent time in New Orleans. He was a notorious alcoholic and womanizer who went on these binges, so there was a possibility that they could have gotten together — but that was a dramatic simulation for our story." -MensJournal.com

Speaking about these fictional touches and others, actor Bill Paxton commented, "It's like the lovers in Titanic. They didn't exist in real life. But there was attention to detail in the way that Jim Cameron had that ship built and the way it hit that iceberg and everything else. The same thing is true with Texas Rising." -The Star Telegram

Emily West was real but the love triangle was not. Olivier Martinez (left) and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (right) portray Santa Anna and Emily West in the Texas Rising miniseries.

Did Emily D. West really go to the Alamo and plan to buy her brother out of slavery?

No. The Texas Rising true story reveals that, unlike what is shown in the miniseries, Emily D. West was not caught at the Alamo, having gone there to buy her brother out of slavery. Historians believe that Emily was kidnapped by Mexican cavalry on April 16, 1836, more than a month after the Battle of the Alamo ended. She and other residents were kidnapped from the newly established Texas community of New Washington, where she was a housekeeper at James Morgan's new hotel.

Were Santa Anna and Emily D. West really in the throes of passion when Sam Houston's forces attacked the Mexican camp at San Jacinto?

No confirmed or documented evidence exists to prove that Santa Anna was in the arms of Emily D. West (or any woman for that matter) when Sam Houston's forces attacked. This notion came from the journal of British traveler William Bollaert, who visited the then-Republic of Texas from 1842 to 1844. His journal indicates that he was told the story by a veteran of the April 21, 1836 Battle of San Jacinto. It was later discovered that Bollaert named his source for the story as Sam Houston. -Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

However, many scholars of Texas history believe that there is too little evidence to support that Mexican General Santa Anna was in the middle of an intimate liaison at the time of the attack. This is in addition to the fact that Santa Anna states in his own autobiography that he was "sleeping in the shade of an oak tree" when his camp was surprised by the attack. Whether he was embarrassed to admit the truth may never be known.

I heard that actor Bill Paxton is a real-life descendant of Sam Houston, is that true?

Yes. In a Men's Journal interview, Bill Paxton, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, explained his connection to his onscreen counterpart, Sam Houston. "We share common grandparents on my father's side six generations back. His mother was a Paxton, and it makes me and Sam Houston second cousins, four times removed."

Bill Paxton (left) as Sam Houston in the Texas Rising miniseries and the real Sam Houston (right).

Was CGI used to recreate Texas Rising's battles?

No, at least not according to co-creator Leslie Greif. "We didn't go CGI. We actually put hundreds of men in uniform with horses, swords, muskets, and cannons" (MensJournal.com). An estimated 10,000 film extras were hired over the course of the filming in 2014 (AustinChronicle.com). The creators of the miniseries also say that they didn't cut corners when it came to recreating authentic weapons and costumes of the era.

Texas Rising Miniseries Trailer

Watch a preview of the events that unfold during the 10-hour Texas Rising miniseries.

 Texas Rising Miniseries Trailer

Watch the Texas Rising trailer for the History Channel miniseries starring Bill Paxton as Sam Houston. The miniseries chronicles the events following the defeat at the Alamo, including the rise of the Texas Rangers and the Texas Revolution, culminating with the Battle of San Jacinto between the Sam Houston-led Texian Army and the Santa Anna-led Mexican army.

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