After fighting side by side in the Civil War, Anse Hatfield (Kevin Costner) and Randall McCoy (Bill Paxton) find their relationship sour as a result of desertion, betrayal, litigation, and, well, there is that nasty business of murder. The enmity escalates to a full–scale family feud that even Richard Dawson couldn’t mediate.
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Made for the History Channel, Hatfields & McCoys is laced with profanity, violence, and some frank discussions and sensuality. ClearPlay cuts the explicit bloodshed, but the nature of the gunplay is still graphically effective. The discord will be too intense for younger audiences, and many older viewers as well.
A large cast of bearded actors makes telling the players without a scorecard difficult in the early going, but as the strong characters emerge, the miniseries becomes compelling on a number of fronts: Acting, period detail, and a script that resonates of the nature of revenge, hate, and strong bonds of family. Though filled with brutality, it offers a glimpse of the futility of violence, and the destructiveness of vengeance.
Marty Nabhan— ClearPlay Negotiator
Unrated; 290 min; Directed By Kevin Reynolds