Texas Rising (2015)

 

 

 

Director:     Roland Joffé.

Starring:     Bill Paxton (Sam Houston), Jeffrey Dean Morgan ('Deaf' Smith), Olivier Martinez (Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna), Thomas Jane (James Wykoff), Crispin Glover (Mosley Baker), Jeremy Davies (Ephraim Knowles), Rhys Coiro (Vern Elwood), Christopher McDonald (Henry Karnes), Max Thieriot (Jack Hays), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Emily West), Robert Knepper (Empresario Buckley), Chad Michael Murray (Mirabeau Lamar), Jeff Fahey (Thomas Rusk), Sarah Jones (Pauline Wykoff), Joe Egender (Beans Wilkins), Robert Baker (Bigfoot Wallace), Stephen Monroe Taylor (Gator Davis), Trevor Donovan (Kit Acklin), Rob Morrow (Colonel James Fannin), Kris Kristofferson (Andrew Jackson), Brendan Fraser (Billy Anderson), Ray Liotta (Lorca), Gerardo Taracena (Manuel Flores), Raúl Méndez (Juan Seguin), Jacob Lofland (Colby Pit), Antonio de la Vega (Almonte), Darrell Fetty (Doc Ewing), Harold Torres (Portilla), Horacio Garcia Rojas (Buffalo Hump), Vico Escorcia (Sarah Ewing), Mayra Serbulo (Guadalupe), John Elvis (Yellow Knife), Johnathon Schaech (Colonel Sherman), Paula Romo (Emilia), Courtney Gains (Cole Hornfischer), Molly McMichael (Rebecca Pit), Geoffrey Blake (Colonel George 'Boots' Hockley), Miguel Ángel Fuentes (Romolo), Amen Igbinosun (Nate), Nigel Haaswijk (Clarence), Madelyn Deutch (Curls), Adam Hicks (Truett Fincham), Dillon Lane (Yancy Burns), Darby Hinton (President Burnet), Jake Busey (Samuel Wallace), James Paxton (Roy), Antonio Monroi (Maguara), Gustavo Terrazas Najera (Moises), Jon Bloch (Captain Markus), Armando Espitia (Ubaldo), Alejandro Bracho (General Urrea), Harlow Jane (Stephanie Wykoff), Daniel K. Walker (Fuzz), Ian Shultz (Lucas Wykoff).

TV mini-series. 

 very good mini-series of Texas fight for independence after the Alamo and focusing on Sam Houston and formation of the Texas Rangers

 

 

Spoiler Warning: 

 

Episode 1.  From the Ashes. 

1836.  Republic of Texas.  The Mexican territory is home to thousands of US settlers.  Tensions rise as Comanche and Karankawa fight to keep their land.  Outlaws roam free and slaves are caught in the cross fire.  Mexican General Santa Anna battles to reclaim the land.  US President Andrew Jackson is hesitant to intervene and Texas has no choice but to declare itself an independent nation.  Outnumbered, General Sam Houston's Texas Republic Army and Steve Austin's Ranging Company are all that stand between Santa Anna's tyranny and independence.  Texas in flames, the Alamo in ashes.  Pioneers, Mexicans, Tejanos, Indians, soldiers have no choice -- fight or die. 

The Mexicans have taken the Alamo in what will become San Antonio.  The Mexicans have around eight prisoners of war.  Santa Anna says these are not soldiers, but pirates.  The POWs are taken out and executed by firing squad.  There are three women found in the crypt.  General Amonte suggests to let the women go tell their drunken General Houston the stories of the Mexican triumph.  Santa Anna orders that a messenger be sent to General Urrea's battalion and order him to attack Fort Goliad without delay.  Among the women is a pretty black female named Emily West. who just watched her brother be killed by the firing squad.  She is sad and angry at what she saw. 

Among the dead Texans, there is a wounded man  named Lorca that is still alive.  He sneaks up on a Mexican soldier and slit his throat. 

Texan Army Camp  --  Gonzales, 85 miles slightly northeast from the Alamo.   The doctor examines General Sam Huston.  Sam complains:  "I have an army of untrained, undisciplined, ill-equipped men, and not enough of 'em."  The doctor notices a wound still festering on Houston's body.  Houston says he got that wound in the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  [It was fought during the War of 1812 in the Mississippi Territory, now central Alabama. On March 27, 1814, United States forces and Indian allies under Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Sticks, a part of the Creek Indian tribe who opposed American expansion, effectively ending the Creek War. From Wikipedia.]  And Houston has another complaint.  He sent Bowie to Travis with an order to blow up the Alamo and abandon it. 

Two officers come to ask Houston to fight at the Alamo.  Houston asks how many men do they have?  Just 374.  And they are low on food and low on ammunition.  Houston will not go up against a Mexican army of 5,000 well-armed and well-fed veterans.  Mosely says the numbers are unimportant, as, after all, they are just a bunch of Mexicans.  A Mexican fighter gets mad at this ethnic slur.  Houston says he ought to let the Mexican Juan Sequin cut Mosely's tongue out.  Juan now asks about the status of Colonel Fannin at Goliad?  [Goliad is 92 miles southeast of San Antonio.]   Fannin was on his way to the Alamo when two wagons broke down, so he decided to turn around and return to Goliad.  Then Houston says that he will fight like George Washington did, with mobility and running away to fight another day.  He says that now that the three men have been "elucidated" --  "get the hell out!" 

Watering hole, 25 miles east of the Alamo.  A group of Texas Rangers are having fun at a watering hole.  The leader is a tall man named Deaf Miller.  The men ask Deaf if it's true that after Houston quit being the Governor of Tennessee, he went to Cherokee territory and got himself a Cherokee squaw?  They talk about Houston for awhile and then move on.  They see smoke coming from the Alamo.  Deaf says: "'We lost it."  Then the group sees a war party of Karankawa headed their way.  The Karankawa are chasing a group of Mexican soldiers.  Deaf tells a man named Beans to ride out and inform General Houston of the fate of the Alamo. 

When the Texans see women in the wagon, they decide to intervene on behalf of the Mexicans.  They don't realize it, but these are the women from the Alamo.  They kill quite a few of the Karankawa and save most of the women.  Ranger Karnes got an arrow threw his left shoulder and Zacharias was killed. 

Suddenly the men see the Comanche up on the mountain.  They decide to leave the area as fast as they can. 

Goliad. March 9, 1838.  Beans rides into Goliad to tell the men there that the Alamo has fallen.  The news hits Houston hard. 

Comanche Indian Territory.  The young men are anxious to kill both the Mexicans and the Texans, but the chief tells them to let the whites see a display of the Comanche's strength, but they are not to harm the whites.  They are to keep tabs on the whites. 

Deaf's homestead, 20 miles from the Texan Army Camp.  Deaf has a Mexican wife.  He tells her that he isn't back. He just came to get the wagon on account of some women and children.  They need medical doctoring.  He promises her that he will be back before she knows it.  He hands his wife a pistol.  His wife cries as he takes off again. 

Santa Anna says that his first campaign was in Texas serving with General Arredondo who put down  a rebellion much like this one.  They left Texas covered in tears and ashes.   

Deaf comes into the Texan Army Camp with the women survivors.  Doc Ewing will tend to them.  Beans learns that Zacharias is dead.  Deaf introduces Emily West, the black female, to Houston.  She says that Santa Anna took no prisoners.  She then says that Santa Anna will attack Fannin at Goliad.  Some of the Texans hear this and immediately spread the news. 

Houston now tells Deaf to ride to tell Colonel Fannin to drive his men to Victoria where he will join with the forces of Sam Houston. 

In the morning Houston moves his army to Victoria. 

Mexican Patrol, Goliad, Texas.  The crazed Lorca who made it out of the Alamo kills a small Mexican patrol.  Then he sits down and eats their dinner food. 

A young lad puts his rooster up in a fight against Santa Anna's rooster.  The lad wins, but then the commander questions how did the lad get 8 pesos to bet with when none of the soldiers have been paid?  He suggests the lad robed and raped women.  Then he changes his tune and pays the 8 pesos to the boy.  The men are happy with this and shout their approval.

At the Texas camp there is a dance with music.  Houston pays a visit to Emily West.  She says she is going to stay in Texas and join the cause.  She asks if she can have the use of a horse.  Houston says they will discuss that in the morning. 

Deaf goes home to let his wife have her wagon back.  He also brings to her a little girl whose mother was killed in the Karankawa attack.  Her name is Elena.  Then he gives a wolf-dog to his wife. 

Nacogdoches, near Texas/United States Border.  A stranger from the East comes into a bar and a drunken bum starts harassing him almost immediately. He tries to ignore the man, but the bum won't quit.  The young man says some things back to the drunk.  The drunk pulls his gun, but the young man shoots him dead.  Another young man pulls out two pistols to make sure no one shoots the easterner.  Later the big man introduces himself as William Wallace, alias Bigfoot.  The easterner then introduces himself as John "Jack" Coffee Hays (who later became a legendary leader in the Texas Rangers).  Jacks says he's going down to the Alamo.  Bigfoot says he's a little too late.  Santa Anna wiped out everyone that was inside the Alamo.  He says now that he, himself, is going to Goliad to fight alongside his brother at Fort Defiance under Colonel Fannin's command. Jack decides to go with him.

Fort Defiance, Goliad, Texas.    Deaf and Henry Karnes deliver Houston's orders to Fannin.  Fannin just ignores the orders.  The rangers tell him that if he doesn't get going, he and his men are going to be wiped out.  Fannin just dismisses the two men. 

Young rangers Truett and Yancy go to check on Truett's family.  The place looks deserted except for a lone horse tied up.  The man Knowles who deserted the army is inside looking for things of value.  Truett and Yancy bust open the door and are amazed to find Sgt. Knowles stealing.  Truett grabs a bullwhip and starts using it on Knowles.  Knowles gets on his horse and rides out as fast as his horse will take him. 

Houston is moving his men out.  The two rebellious officers maintain that their duty is to go to Goliad and help Fannin defeat the Mexicans there.  The men agree with the two officers.  Houston says he will kill anyone disobeying his orders.  He gets his men to follow his orders.  Houston then tells Captain Baker:  " . . . tearing off on some half-assed reprisal is exactly what Santa Anna wants.  You insubordinate me again in front of my troops, I'll have you shot."

Truett and Yancy get back to Deaf and Henry Karnes. They volunteer to spy on the happenings at Goliad.  Deaf let's them go.

The rangers save the live of one Rebecca Pitt who was pinned down by a turned over wagon in a river.   Kit Acklin is the one who picks up Rebecca and takes her to the shore. 

Sgt. Knowles is trying to force some travelers to pay him for helping them cross a river.  Houston arrives and has the deserter arrested.  He says he's going to make Knowles an example for all the men. 

At camp, Knowles goes up before a military tribunal for desertion in a time of war.  Houston sentences Knowles to death.  Knowles faces a firing squad tomorrow morning. 

Emily West hears Houston shouting out during a nightmare.  She goes and sits in his large tent.  He awakens and finds her there.  She asks him to give her a stallion.   It appears that at one time down in New Orleans, Houston and Emily had sexual relations.  Emily starts opening her blouse and walks over to Houston.  She then tells him to touch her.  [slight nudity]

Emily rises early, gets some poison from the kitchen and takes off on a horse.  On her journey she passes by the crazed survivor from the Alamo.  The two pass each other without a word.

Truett and Yancy take off on their scouting duty.  They race each other and suddenly they run right into the encampment of General Urrea, who was thought to be far away from the Texan camp.  They say they have to to warn Fannin.  A Mexican guard shoots at them but misses. 

 

 

Episode 2.  Fate and Fury.

Goliad.  Truett and Yancy come tearing into the fort to warn the men and Fannin that General Urrea's whole army is headed their way.   Fannin tells his men to start packing up all the essentials for they are leaving this fort.  He doesn't want another Alamo.  The two rangers say that the Colonel isn't listening to them.  The enemy is already here.   Fannin just urges his men to keep packing. 

Santa Anna's camp, 30 miles northwest of Goliad.  Emily West has been captured and taken to Santa Anna, who seems to take a liking to Emily.  He asks her name and then tells her to go with Colonel Almonte and answer his questions.  Or she can stay here and answer Santa Anna's questions.  Emily says she would like to get to know the commander better. 

Houston watches the settlers on the move away from the Mexican army.  Occasionally his men help out the refugees. 

Emily gets to eat dinner with Santa Anna, who finds out that his men found a monogram of "S. H" on her horse's saddle.  The General asks if this stands for "Samuel Houston".  Emily admits that she was with him, but was turned off by him when she saw his fear after hearing about what happened at the Alamo.  He asks her what does she want, and Emily says she wants a warm bath with Santa Anna in it. 

Coleto Creek, March 19, 1838.  The Mexican Army under General Urrea waits in ambush for Fannin and his men.  Suddenly, the Mexican soldiers and Mexican artillery open upon on the Texans and they start ruining for some wall remnants from some old building.  Fannin gets shot in the leg.  The Colonel sends someone off to inform Houston. 

Urea sends a messenger to Santa Anna to tell him that Urea and his men have surrounded the rebels.  Meanwhile, Emily is dancing at a Mexican celebration of their victories.  Santa Anna gives a little celebration speech to the soldiers.  A little later he gets then news that they have Fannin surrounded. 

At Fannin's camp, Truett and Yancy meet the brother of Bigfoot.  The brother mentions that he sure would like to see his brother again.

Houston asks an Indian Mexican soldier with his men, to go spy on Santa Anna.  He asks Flores to assess the size and readiness of this troops.  He also wants him to find out if Emily West is there at the camp.  If she's in trouble, his job will be to get her out of there. 

Emily is having her bath with Santa Anna. 

In the morning, Urrea's troops attack.  Truett gets a head wound and can't see.  Yancy tries to save Truett, but the wounded man dies.  Yancy now says he riding to Houston for some help.   Riding on his horse, Yancy is quickly shot a multitude of times by the Mexican soldiers.  Lorca watches all this from his hidden position. 

Texan Army Camp, 50 miles northeast of Goliad.  The rangers tease Sgt. Knowles about shooting him right now.  The prisoner pleads with them not to kill him.  A ranger named Vern wants to shoot him and he tries to shoot Knowles, but Billy Anderson stops him, saying rangers don't shoot prisoners. 

Fannin surrenders to General Urrea. 

Vern tries to seduce the doctor's daughter, but the father puts a quick end to that idea.

Fannin's men are marched out to be shot.  Fannin protests.  An officer executes Fannin as the Texans are escorted out of the fort at Goliad. 

The men ask Houston for his orders.  Huston says they will continue moving east to avoid being caught between the armies of Urrea and Santa Ana, to stretch out their supply lines and pick out the best ground for a battlefield.  Personally, Houston is going to Goliad to get Fannin's head out of his ass. 

The Texan prisoners are brought to a stone pit.  There they are massacred by the Mexican troops.  Lorca watches from behind some rocks.  He cries as the men are shot down. 

Houston's men are trained when Houston is away.  Private Mirabeau Lamar complains that they train, but they don't fight.  Captain Baker calls Lamar over to him.  Baker tells his insubordinate colleague that Lamar is secretly circulating a petition to remove Houston.  The two conspirators tell Lamar that they need to get an urgent message to Secretary of War Rusk.  Lamar joins the conspiracy. 

Groce's Landing, 120 miles northeast of Goliad.  Bigfoot and Jack are preparing their supper.  Bigfoot talks about his brother Samuel and would like to see him again.  [Samuel is dead with the other men of Fannin's outfit massacred by the Mexican soldiers.]

A Mexican soldiers rides up to what looks like an abandoned wagon. He looks inside the wagon and screams.  Inside the wagon are dead, ,mutilated Mexican soldiers.  Lorca now kills the screaming Mexican. 

Harrisburg, Provisional Texas Capital.  Mirabeau Lamar arrives to speak with President Burnet.  He meets the president and tells him that Houston is not attacking the enemy and there is a great fear that there may be a mass desertion.  Secretary Rusk comes to the defense of Houston and Burnet is not in the mood.  He tells Lamar that the Santanistas are half a day's ride from Harrisburg.  "We've abandoned the capital, and I'm on the run again.  Now, if I am captured or killed, this rebellion is finished."  They currently are on their way to New Orleans to set up a provisional government.  Burnet, however, does tell Rusk to go tell Houston to stand and fight soon, or he will replace Houston. 

Houston and the rangers find the butchering of Lorca's revenge on the Mexicans.  Lorca has hung up in the trees the butchered bodies of the Mexicans he killed.  The men are repulsed at what they see.  They think that Lorca is a crazy man.  Lorca says the Texans wouldn't be so upset about these cadavers, if they had seen what the Mexicans did to the brave men of the Alamo and of Goliad.  The Mexicans slaughtered their Texan prisoners without mercy.  So now Houston knows of the massacre of the soldiers at Goliad.  And the rangers know that Truett and Yancy are both dead.

The Mexicans start burning Harrisburg and killing its inhabitants. 

The White House.  Washington, D. C.  April 11, 1838.  The question is put before President Andrew Jackson if Houston should be relieved from his command of the Texan army.  Jackson is absolutely convinced that Sam Houston is the man who can defeat the Mexican army.

A spy, named Francisco, tells Santana Anna that President Burnet has ordered Houston to meet Santa Anna on the battlefield.  (Meanwhile, Emily is listening in on their conversation.)  Emily almost gets caught by the giant servant belonging to Santa Anna.  The Indian Mexican spy for Houston named Flores comes to her rescue when two Mexican soldiers try to rape her.  He kills the two men.  Emily tells Flores where to met her later. 

Francisco gets too drunk and spouts off too much about how all the different sides pay him for his spying.  Flores hears this and he later kills Francisco. 

Two women and two men rob Jack Hays and Bigfoot of virtually all their belongings.  Jack manages to shoot the smaller of the two women, but another robber swoops her up and carries her on the back of his horse. 

Flores helps some settler prisoners escape from under Santa Anna's control. 

Emily meets with Flores and tells him to take some messages to Houston for her.  Then she tells Flores that she's staying here with Santa Anna.  She wants to kill him.  Flores gives her a pistol, but warns her that she may certainly be killed even if she manages to kill the Mexican commander.  Flores now takes off to find the Texans. 

Jack Hays finds the dead body of the smaller woman.  Bigfoot is happy to see that she died.

Bull Kill Bluffs.  The Comanche descend on Houston and his rangers.  The chief comes down and insults Houston as a leader.  Then he tells Houston that if the Mexicans don't kill him, the Comanche will.  The Comanche leave.  Billy Anderson, who lived with the Comanche, says the chief is Yellow Knife and Yellow Knife is his son. 

Victoria, Texas.  "The Runaway Scrape".  A wagon convoy is being formed up by the refugees.  A man yells that it will be single file all the way to Nueces River.  As the convoy hurries out of town, a new family arrives in Victoria.  The man, named James Wykoff, goes into talk with the thieving land agent about buying some land from him.  The agent sells the farming property and house to Wykoff in the midst of a war.  And he mentions nothing about the Comanche in the area.

Jack and Bigfoot now find the massacre site of Fannin's men.  They are stunned at what they see.  Walking amongst the dead bodies, Bigfoot discovers the body of his brother Samuel. 

Houston's two mutinous officers preach more sedition furtjer undermining Houston's position with his men.   Just as the officers are getting the soldiers all riled up, Houston and his rangers ride in.  Houston runs up on "stage" so to speak and knocks Captain Baker into the water reservoir.  Then Deaf helps out by telling the men that Fannin and all his men have all been killed by the Mexicans.  And the massacre was caused by Fannin by his disobeying orders from Houston to bring his men to Victoria and unite them with Houston's troops.  Now Houston gives a good, strong speech and gets the backing of his men.

 

 

Part 3.  Blood for Blood. 

Wykoff Homestead, Victoria.  April 13, 1838.  The family moves into their new house.  The wife tells James that it seems strange that some family left so many good things behind them.  James agrees.  He then takes a Comanche arrow head out of the front wall of the home and hides it. 

Flores comes in with new information for Houston.  Houston looks at it and is very happy to learn that Santa Anna has split his army into two parts.  He says to himself out loud:  San Jacinto. 

Lorca watches from the mountains as the Mexican soldiers bring Texas prisoners with them. 

One of the rangers, Gator Davis, talks to Knowles about robbing a bank with him.  Then they tell two other rangers, Kit and Vern, about the idea.

In the mountains, Lorca is capturing live rattlesnakes and putting them in a basket.  He then finds a position from which to attack the Mexicans with their prisoners.  As the Mexicans comes right under a large trees, Lorca drops three baskets full of rattle snakes on the heads of the soldiers.  He uses the fear and confusion then to kill the soldiers with his knife.  He kills them all. 

Lorca takes the bodies and stages them grotesquely in the back of a wagon.  Swords are thrust down the throats or into the backs of the dead Mexican soldiers. He then sends the horse and wagon into Santa Anna's encampment.  Many of the superstitious Mexicans believe this to be the work of a demon.  Santa Anna tells them this is the work of a man, not a demon. 

Vern starts back up with the doctor's daughter, even though Kit and the doctor both told him to stay away from her.  This time the doctor catches Vern bothering his daughter Sarah and balls him out.  Then he tells Vern to clear out of here. 

A young boy, Colby Pit, wants to ride with the rangers.  He says he needs to get his father's pistol fixed and asks Vern for help.  Billy tells the boy to go to the blacksmith.  Karnes points to a tent and tells the boy the blacksmith is inside the tent.  As Colby marches over to the tent, the men start laughing because the tent is actually the home of General Houston.  The boy is overly stern in his approach to the "blacksmith", even calling him a son of a bitch.  He leaves the tent and an officer asks him if the general is up?  Colby returns to the tent and is all apologetic to Houston.  He asks for his pistol back.  Houston tells him to come back later and the pistol will be fixed.  Then he sends him outside.  Houston hears some men laughing and opens the tent to see it's the rangers.  So now he tells them to get mounted up to go out on an assignment.

Lorca leads a band of refugee men on an attack on a Mexican wagon.  They catch all but one of the men taking a siesta and they kill all of them.  The Texans now take the wagon and head out.  Lorca says they're going to find another wagon to attack. 

Cactus Flats, 10 miles from the Texan Army Camp.  The rangers are taking some target practice by shooting the cactus pads of the cacti.  Kit tells Vern that he's no bank robber, but he's no snitch either. 

Bigfoot and Jack find Jack's horse taken by the robbers at a cantina.  Inside the one woman left dances in tune to the music.  The two men are there too.  They seem to have cut the throats of every man in the cantina except that of the fiddler.  Bigfoot and Jack rush into the cantina and all hell breaks out.  In the exchange of fire, the fiddler is killed.  Bigfoot stabs one of the robbers dead, but the woman and the last male get away taking Bigfoot's white horse with them. 

At the Wykoff Homestead, James keeps looking for signs of the Comanche.  He tells his wife he's going to clean out the cellar, perhaps as a defensive position.

Secretary Rush and Mirabeau Lamar arrive at Houston's encampment.  Rusk goes alone to meet with Houston in his tent.  They talk awhile about Houston's constantly ducking Santa Anna, instead of standing and fighting. 

Bigfoot and Jack are picked up by the corrupt land agent and his men, thinking that they took part is what Jack called a "shooting" rather than a massacre. 

The rangers are supposed to pick up two twin sisters, but when they get to their destination, the two sisters are two identical cannons.  Kit comes in reporting a Mexican wagon train is coming their way.  They quickly set up a cannon along the roadside and fire it at the wagon train.

Meanwhile, Bigfoot and Jack are brought into Victoria as prisoners.  There the last male robber is hanging from the town gallows.  The land agent says the man was shooting up the town.   

The rangers come back to camp with the wagon train.  Rusk and Houston come out to see what's all the fuss about.  Captain Baker comes over to ask Rusk and asks him what are his orders?  Rusk tells Baker to ask Houston because he's their general.  Houston now orders the two mutinous officers to be at the rear end of the convoy, nearest to Santa Anna and his men.  Houston indicates he's going to fight and the soldiers roar their approval and excitement. 

Emily is still planning her assassination of Santa Anna.  She comments to the commander that his giant of a servant seems not to like her.  He is jealous of her and her relationship with his employer. 

James Wykoff hears someone walking around the homestead.  He grabs his rifle and opens up a small window, but doesn't see anyone outside.  In the morning, James sends his servant into Victoria to get some seeds to plant. 

At the Houston encampment, there's music, drinking and dancing.  The tune they play is "The Yellow Rose of Texas".  Vern is alone with Sarah in the hospital tent.  She takes a drink of Vern's liquor and willing hugs and kisses him.  Dad arrives looking for Sarah.  He tells Vern to get out.  He starts arguing with Sarah and ends up slapping her.  Sarah runs off. 

Deaf confirms with  Houston that his scouts report that Santa Anna did indeed split his army, just like Emily reported. 

James Wykoff hears his horses being upset.  He gets up and looks out of the window.  The kids and the wife wake up.  James tells them to get in the cellar.  He turns back to the window and is hit by an arrow and he goes down.  A Comanche throws a spear into the body of Mrs. Wykoff.  James trips the Indian and then shoots him with his rifle.  He tells his children to get in the cellar.  The cellar is in the yard.  The children go through a plank in the wall to sneak over to the cellar.  James kills another Indian and then gets his wife to the cellar.  While he is helping his wife the little girl goes after her dog in the house, followed by her bother.  The brother is killed by a hatchet to his back.  James kills the Comanche.  The sister has her dog and starts to run back, but she is hit by two arrows in the back.  James is then killed by blows to the head.  The servant comes back with the seeds and he sees smoke coming up from the homestead.  He arrives just as the Comanche leave. 

The servant carries Mrs. Wykoff toward Victoria.  He collapses by Bigfoot and Jack at the gallows.  The cry goes up for help.  Deaf''s wife comes a running. 

"Which Way Tree", outside of Harrisburg, April 16, 1836.  Deaf and Karnes give directions to General Houston and his army.  They head for Santa Anna and his army.

News comes to Santa Anna that Houston has turned around and is headed for the Plains of San Jacinto.  Santa Anna is thrilled by the news.  The general says:  "This is our moment!"

San Jacinto, Texas, April 20, 1838.  Houston gets his troops in place for an attack.  Santa Anna puts up defensive positions, but plans to attack.

In Victoria, Mrs. Wykoff awakens.  Deaf's wife takes care of her.  The land agent suspects a Comanche attack on Victoria, so he releases Bigfoot and Jack because they need every man in Victoria on the firing line. 

Deaf and Karnes capture a Mexican courier. Vern complains about Houston's leadership.  Billy tells him to shut up and a fight ensues.  The other rangers put a stop to the fight.  Kit and Rebecca, the girl he saved from the river, seem to be in love, but there's a problem.  She has a fiancée who is setting up a homestead for them.  Kit is upset at the news. 

Santa Anna finds the small pistol Emily has hidden in the bed.  He thinks she is going to kill him.  He throws her on the floor.  Then he slaps Emily hard across the face.  Almonte arrives and the commander stops his assault.  He tells Almonte to keep Emily under guard,  He leaves his tent. 

Houston learns lots of information on Santa Anna's troop movements from the documents in a courier's bag.  

Santa Anna is expecting reinforcements from General Cos. 

Colonel Sherman was told to move up with his cavalry, but not to engage the Mexicans.  So, soon Col. Sherman is attacking the Mexicans.   An angered Houston goes out and tells the cavalry to retreat.  Santa Anna and his men see this as a victory. 

 

 

Part 4.  Vengeance is Mine. 

San Jacinto, Texas.  April 20, 1838.  [23 miles east of Houston.  Buffalo Bayou River is on the west and northwest; Burnet Bay and Crystal Bay on the northeast.]  Houston removes Colonel Sherman from the cavalry all together and places him with the 2nd Infantry. 

Vince's Bridge, San Jacinto, April 21, 1836.  Deaf and Karnes are watching Vince's Bridge.   They see General Cos and his reinforcements crossing over the bridge.  The rangers go to tell Houston.

Santa Anna learns of the arrival of General Cos.  The troops have marched 24 hours in a row and are very tired.  Santa Anna confers with his officers.  Emily is listening to all of this. 

Lorca comes riding in with his men to see Houston.  Houston says he will place Lorca with the cavalry.  Lorca says no, but he will fight beside Houston and kill lots of Mexicans.  Houston agrees to this and tells Lorca and his men to watch for his signal.

The rangers watch Vince's Bridge again.  They are going to blow the bridge up.

The spy Flores returns to speak with Houston. He says that Santa Anna's men are tired and now are resting:  "It's time to attack."

Mexican reinforcements, 2 miles from Vince's Bridge.  The rangers are placing the dynamite kegs underneath the bridge.

Houston gives a speech to his men before the battle.  "Today we are one.  We are all sons of Texas.  We give Texas our allegiance.  We give Texas our lives.   In the name of Texas, ready your weapons and unsheathe your swords and follow me to victory."

Santa Anna is preoccupied with sex with Emily. 

Reinforcements are nearing the bridge.  The rangers light the wires.  A Mexican sentinel sees and smells the smoke and hears the sound of the wire burning.  He calls over an officer and discovers the wire.  Deaf hits the officer with a bullet and Billy Anderson puts an arrow through the sentinel.  Billy now gets on his horse and races toward the oncoming troops.  With his rifle he shoots a keg and it explodes, this in turn setting off other kegs.  Billy's horse makes a huge leap to get over the last breakage in the bridge and takes Billy to relative safety. 

Houston gets his men into position. He orders the cannon to fire and after that he leads the men in the charge on the Mexican lines.  Santa Anna is awakened and mounts his horse.  Emily uses his pistol to attempt to kill Santa Anna.  She screams to him that he killed her brother at the Alamo.  She shoots but the giant servant steps in front of her and he takes the bullet.   Santa Anna hesitates and then takes off on his horse.

The rangers arrive and start shooting the enemy down.  Lorca and his men are also in the action.  Kit is wounded.  The deserter does what he does best.  He takes off to get off the battlefield.  Vince pulls Kit over to put his back against a tree, gives Kit a rifle and then rejoins the battle.  Houston is knocked down by a cannon ball explosion.  He gets himself free from his horse and gets up.  A wounded Captain Baker tells Houston to take his horse.  Houston takes the horse.

Knowles saves the live of Secretary Rusk as a consequence of his horse running into a Mexican soldier on a horse, knocking the soldier off his horse, thereby preventing the soldier from shooting Secretary Rusk.

Santa Anna manages to shoot Houston in the leg.  Then he takes off.  Rusk and others quickly help pick up Houston. 

Houston calls for a cease-fire, but the Texans are still full of vengeance and kill even those who try to surrender.  700 Mexican soldiers dead with only 9 dead Texans.  Deaf is unaccounted for. 

Houston orders his men to find Santa Anna and bring him back alive. 

Rebecca nurses Kit in the hospital.  Kit asks her if she loves her fiancée?   She says he's a good man and her daddy loved him.  Kit says that doesn't answer his question.  Rebecca says she tired of everyone making the decisions for her.  She walks off. 

Houston in the hospital asks about Emily.  Santa Anna hides in a cave with a wounded Mexican. 

Vern is going to steal Santa Anna's valuables.  He tries to enlist Knowles, but Knowles says he can't take anything now because he's kind of a hero now after saving the secretary's life.  Vern smashes the lock on the cellar door and gets access to the treasure.  Both rangers are greatly impressed at the amount of treasure. 

Santa Anna runs right into Colby Pit and the boy takes him prisoner without knowing the true identity of his prisoner.   

More honest rangers come along and make Vern, Gator Davis and Knowles give over the valuables to Texas. 

Houston recognizes Santa Anna and has the rangers bring him over to him.  Santa Anna is in a private's uniform.  He pretends he's just a private.  So Houston tells Colby to kill the private over against a tree so his brains won't splatter everywhere.  Santa Anna now quickly confesses who he is. The Texans demand a firing squad for the Mexican leader, but Houston shouts that this cannot happen.  To soothe the men he tells the officers to share the treasure with all the men. 

Lorca comes in demanding to take over the prisoner.  He wants to kill Santa Anna personally.  Houston says no and Lorca threatens to kill Houston.  Weapons are pointed at Houston, but the vast majority of the soldiers point their guns at Lorca.  Lorca eventually concedes and rides off with his men. 

On the battlefield, Deaf awakens.  He finds his horse, but also finds that his beloved horse has a broken leg.  He cries over his horse, but he has to put her down with a shot to the head. 

Lorca attacks a group of Mexican refugees.  He kills everyone and then goes to kill the boy.  The second man in charge yells at Lorca that they are done killing women and children.  Lorca screams that he's not done killing Mexicans children and women.  Lorca says they can just take off then.  So that's what the men decide to do.  They grab the Mexican boy, put him on the back of a saddle and ride out.  The man with the boy on the back keeps a pistol pointed at Lorca as he slowly moves out. 

As Lorca watches the men go, a dying Mexican man uses his last strength to put a bullet into Lorca.

San Jacinto, Texas.  April 22, 1838.  Houston asks Flores if there's been any sign of Deaf?  No.  What about Emily?  She went to Arkansas. 

Kit says he's coming back to see Rebecca after a little errand with the rangers.  They hug and kiss. 

Vern comes to see Sarah, the doctor's daughter.  Since her father is nearby, he tells her:  "I'll be seeing you."

Deaf makes it back to camp just as they are going to leave.  Houston is very happy to see him alive.  Deaf is very weak and very sick still.  Houston tells the boy Colby to take Deaf home to his wife and child.  Deaf asks Houston if he's just going to throw away old Deaf.  Houston replies by telling Deaf to go home.  He adds that the Republic of Texas thanks him for his service. 

Lorca is still alive. 

The Mexican officer who took Emily off the battlefield now offers a trade with Houston:  Emily for Santa Anna.  Houston tears up the exchange note and tells Kit to take it back to the officer.  Kit takes off.  Houston whispers to Flores to follow Kit and then the Mexican messenger to where the Mexican officer resides and bring Emily back.  Flores and Billy Anderson get going. 

Portilla's Hideout, 47 miles from Victoria.   Flores and Billy find the hideout. 

The Comanche are headed for Victoria.  Bigfoot and Jack and the townspeople have prepared a hot reception for the Comanche.  They have lots of weapons at a barricade of the street.  As the Comanche come down Main Street, men push another barricade into place behind the Comanche to block them from turning around and escaping.  They catch the Comanche in an ambush from four sides and kill a number of them.  The Indians escape through a side street. 

Lorca cauterizes his wound with a heated knife blade.

Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana.  The people of New Orleans provide a hero's welcome for Sam Houston, and with help Sam waves to them from the temporary hospital in a hotel room.

In Victoria, Deaf's wife takes care of Mrs. Wykoff.  The wounded woman says she's going to stay in Texas once she heals up.  Later Deaf is delivered to his wife.  They are both thrilled to see each other.  Deaf picks up his adopted little girl. 

Lorca goes to kill Mexicans in a church.  He is shocked to see a baptism taking place.  He just stands there in the doorwell.  The grandmother of the child welcomes Lorca to the baptism and has him sit down and takes his hand off one of the guns.  Lorca just sits there.

Mrs. Wykoff condemns the land agent when she sees him.  She says he sold them the land when he knew that the Comanche would get them.  He protests his innocence and the lady spits in his face. 

Flores and Billy come to Deaf's place to get him to help them free Emily West.  His wife is very upset with him for wanting to go with the rangers, because she figures they won't be able to see him alive again.  Nevertheless, Deaf is going.  He says goodbye to his daughter and then to his wife. 

 

 

Part 5.  The Rise of the Republic.

The Absinthe House, New Orleans, Louisiana.  Two months after the Battle of San Jacinto.  Sam Houston is recuperating in a bordello.  He likes to have sex with the prostitutes and drink to excess.  Dr. Ewing brings over Secretary Rusk to see Sam.  He wants Sam to attend to the business of Texas now.  He says Texas is in a state of chaos and they may lose Texas at the rate things are going.  Sam says he himself has lost everything.  He adds that he's not a politician.  He's merely a commander.  Now he says goodnight to his visitors and goes to sleep.

Houston still has his enemies and they want to stop Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston from grabbing the Republic of Texas and make it the state of Texas.  His enemies include Burnet, Lamar and Captain Baker.  They do admit, however, that the Texas public loves their bastard Houston. 

Lorca rides into Victoria.  He asks the land agent where he can find Mrs. Wykoff.  He gives him the directions. 

Portilla's Hideout, 47 miles from Victoria. The rangers are up in the mountains looking down on the ranch.  They plan out how they can get Emily out of there safely.  Four of the guys sneak up on the building.  A man comes out to the well and sees the men, but Billy nails him with an arrow.  Flores and Hays knock out another soldier.  Flores then helps lift Hays onto the roof.  Hays throws some plants down the chimney and then puts a blanket over the top of the chimney.  Soon the men inside are coughing their heads off.  The rangers now start opening the doors and shooting the men. Flores frees the tied-up Emily.  The men start getting on their horses to ride out.  A soldier comes out and shoots Colby in the back.  Billy puts Colby on the back of his horse.  The men ride out just before Portilla and his men come riding up to the ranch, which is now on fire.

Colby falls off the horse into some water.  Deaf pulls him out of the water and the boy dies in his arms. 

In Victoria, Colby's sister cries over his body.  Deaf brings Emily into his house for the family to take care of her.  The family now goes back to the Wykoff homestead.  One day Lorca come riding up on his horse to the Wykoff place.  He is met byPauline Wykmoff and Emily West with their weapons at the ready.  He says he will let them have a great deal of money if he could board with them.  He adds he has a very heavy heart and soul.  Pauline asks for his name.  It's Tom Mitchell.  She invites him in for supper.  The women give him a bath and a haircut. Then they give him dinner.  When Deaf sees the man, he pulls his pistol out and says he knows this man.  Pauline takes the gun away from Deaf.  She says what happened in the war is over and done.  Everyone here is starting over now. 

Houston comes back to get Santa Anna to take him to see Andrew Jackson in Washington, D. C.  Bigfoot and Jack Hays are happy to meet Sam Houston.  Houston says he wants the rangers to take Santa Anna to General Gaines at the border. 

The land agent comes out to the Wykoff place to say he has foreclosed on the place.  This really angers Pauline.  He also says he is taking their big servant.  Pauline says she has already freed her servant.  So, now the land agent wants Emily.  Emily says she will work for him, but at the end of her contract the Wykoff land belongs to them.  She signs a two year contract. 

Tom Mitchell returns and the big servant tells him how the land agent took Emily away with him.  Tom talks to Pauline.  He says land agent Buckley deserves killing.  Pauline says no to that.  Tom tells her he wants to pay for his sins. He swears not to hurt another living soul and throws his pistol into the fire. 

The Comanche attack the ranger convoy with Santa Anna aboard.  The general sees Portilla with the Comanche.  He shouts cease-fire to Portilla and says he's heading to Washington, D. C. to meet the president.  He tells Portilla to leave and he and the Comanche do leave.  In the combat with the Comanche, Billy kills his son.  And now he grieves over his son's body.  In the skirmish, Beans was also killed. 

Tom gets a job working for the land agent, in order to keep an eye on Emily's welfare.  Buckley tells Tom that he must never lighten Emily's burden.

One of Emily's worst burdens is to listen to the women who say nasty things to her, such as:  "Santa Anna' whore doesn't eat with decent folk." 

Houston and the rangers come into Victoria.  They are given a hero's welcome.  Kit sees Rebecca, but she's now with her fiancée.  He says to her that they were meant to be together.  They hug each other.   The fiancée asks Rebecca who is this fellow?   Kit does the explaining.  The fiancée asks Rebecca if she loves the man, and she says:  "I do."  She says she never meant to hurt Gavin.  Gavin says there's no sense in marrying a woman that doesn't love you.  He leaves in his wagon. 

Houston sees Emily working.  He seeks her out and they kiss.  Emily must have told Houston all about the crooked Mr. Buckley, because Houston grabs him and is going to hang the land agent.  He says that the land agent was ordered to burn Victoria to the ground.  Failing to do this is a treasonous offense, worthy of a hanging.  Buckley asks Houston what does he want from him?  Houston says he will give his hotel and saloon to Miss Emily West in recognition of her heroic sacrifice in capturing the tyrant Santa Anna and liberating Texas.  And Buckley must give the deed to the Wykoff place free and clear, all monies returned.  Buckley agrees to all of it, and is released. 

Houston asks Emily to be his wife. She says they can't do that because people won't abide it.  Emily says she will always be here right at his side, but he is meant for bigger things and they can't marry.

Vern gets drunk and starts dancing with Sarah Ewing.  Her father grabs a pistol to get Vern away from his daughter.  Vern and he struggle for the gun and it goes off killing Kit's Rebecca.  Vern gets out of Victoria. 

Houston leaves Victoria.  Emily watches from an upstairs window as he rides his horseaway.  Actually, Houston stopped to see his old buddy Deaf.  They talk for awhile and then Deaf dies.

A funeral is held for Deaf. 

Rusk asks Houston to run for president of Texas, but Houston says no because he's voting for Stephen Austin.

The White House.  "The Meeting of the Eagles."  President Jackson wants to buy all the Mexican territories between the Sabine River in East Texas and the Pacific Ocean.   Santa Anna is not interested.  Jackson tells him that his vice-president is now the President of Mexico. 

In Victoria the little Mexican boy comes after Tom Mitchell for shooting his father.  At a church social, he shoots Tom with a pistol in the chest.  Tom has the boy come over to him.  He tells the boy that he understands why he shot him.  Tom dies. 

Texas Presidential Inauguration.  October 22, 1838.  Houston is the new President of the Republic of Texas. 

Veracruz, Mexico.  Santa Anna is again President of Mexico.

Part of the Comanche are going on the warpath under Buffalo Hump.

Texan immigrants headed to Victoria.  The Comanche attack the two wagons of Texan immigrants. 

At Emily West's place, Emily toasts to Sam Houston, the new President of Texas.  Then Flores shouts out:  "To Emily West, our own yellow rose of Texas!"  While the bar celebrates, someone shouts out:  "Comanche attack, De Leon's Creek!"  The rangers rush out of the bar, get on their horses and ride for De Leon's Creek.

 

Sam Houston:  Twice president and once governor of Texas, he married 21 year old Baptist, Margaret Lea, who ended his boisterous drinking.  When informed at his baptism that his sins were washed away, Houston replied, "God help the poor fish below."

Erastus "Deaf" Smith:  "Bravest of the brave in the cause of Texas."  To celebrate his memory, the state of Texas named one of its panhandle counties after him. 

John Coffee "Jack" Hays:   Leading light of the rangers, he fought in the Indian wars, and later in the Mexican War of 1846-1848.  Hays County, Texas is named in his honor.  

William "Bigfoot" Wallace:  Descended from the Scottish legend William Wallace, Bigfoot made his living as a farmer and hunter.  In war, he served under Jack Hays' ranger command.  Bigfoot never married.

Henry Wax Karnes:  Commanded eight companies of Texas Rangers.  Karnes County, Texas bears his name.

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar.  Second President of Texas.  His ambitious dreams of a Texas Empire led to fiscal disaster, and his policies helped ignite the Comanche Wars. 

Thomas Jefferson Rusk:  Active in Texan political, military and judicial affairs.  Rusk remained in Texas for the rest of his life.  Despondent over the death of his beloved wife, Rusk committed suicide. 

Sidney Sherman:  At various times in his later life, the valiant, but impulsive Sherman saw his sawmill, railroad depot and even his house burn down.  He gave his name to Sherman County and Sherman, Texas. 

David G. Burnet:  He lost a bitter presidential election to Sam Houston in 1841 and twice challenged Houston to a duel.  He never regained political prominence and died destitute in Galveston. 

Juan Seguin:  Active in the Republic of Texas until enmity between Anglo and Mexican Texans drove him south of the Rio Grande River.  He returned to Texas off and on and is buried in the modern day town of Seguin, named in his honor. 

Juan Almonte:  Served in diplomatic missions on both sides of the Atlantic.  Later rejoined Santa Anna in the civil wars that were to plague Mexico. 

Manuel Flores:  Twice again took up arms in defense of Texas.  After the Texas Revolution, he and his wife became ranchers. 

Buffalo Hump:  After many failed treaty attempts, Texas erupted in four decades of genocidal conflict.  Buffalo Hump valiantly defended Comanche traditions.  He was eventually forced to resettle on the Kiowa-Comanche Reservation in Oklahoma. 

Emily D. West:  Some say she returned to New York in 1837, vanishing from history but passing into Texas legend as the Yellow Rose of Texas. 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna:  He served 11 non-consecutive terms as President of Mexico. He was exiled 4 times.  In the "Pastry War" he fought against the French and lost a leg that was buried with full military honors in a glass coffin.

 

Terrific and enjoyable historical account of the rise of Texas to become a nation of its own free of Mexico and then to become a state in the United States of America.  The action starts when the Alamo is in big trouble and goes to the presidency of Sam Houston of the Republic of Texas. The acting was very good.  I like that Bill Paxton fellow.  Liked him from his role in Weird Science and have kept my eye on him ever since. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

 

 

 

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