The 'Texas Rising' Cast Is Filled With More Movie Stars Than Most Theatrical Westerns

In History's newest miniseries, the cast of Texas Rising weaves together literally dozens of characters and a few handfuls of storylines to tell the story of how the Texas Rangers took the loosely formed territory in the early to mid-1800s and transformed it into the American state it is today. But hidden within the conflicts between different factions of Americans, Mexicans, and Native Americans is a fascinating group of actors.

Most of the cast of Texas Rising is made up of bona fide movie stars... from 10 to 20 years ago. Throw in a few rising TV actors and you have a cast that's a combination of grizzled (you should see a lot of the beards on these guys) and fresh. In order to keep every corner of this Western interesting, there will be a familiar face anchoring pretty much every possible storyline, from the military leaders on both sides of the Texas Uprising to the actual U..S President of the time, Andrew Jackson.

Seriously, all you need to do is look at the members of this cast. I know that now, I am deeply curious how this could possibly work, with a cast this crowded and eccentric. And these are just the top 10 most strange and impressive individuals — the cast also includes Christopher McDonald, Jeremy Davies, Jeff Fahey, Max Thieriot... and a whole bunch of others. Texas Rising is going to be packed.

Image: History

by Kayla Hawkins

Thomas Jane As James Wykoff

The Punisher himself, formerly of Hung and once of Arrested Development, Jane was the ’90s version of Tom Hardy, minus the run of spectacular blockbuster movies. But in Texas Rising, he’s playing an original character, homesteader James Wykoff, who accidentally moves his family into a war zone. Sounds like the setup for Jane to once again be on the lookout for family-related revenge.

Image: Carlos Somonte/HISTORY

Cynthia Addai-Robinson As Emily D. West

It’s Amanda Waller! You know, from Arrow! Addai-Robinson has been a working television actress for a while now, but playing the role of “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” may really boost her stardom.

Image: Prashant Gupta/HISTORY

Jeffrey Dean Morgan As "Deaf" Smith

Morgan has always been a reliable actor, from Watchmen to Grey’s Anatomy, so he’ll surely be able to do justice to Erastus “Deaf” Smith, a soldier and guide who both led a successful raid against the Mexican Army and succumbed to consumption (known in movies as the “cough blood onto a handkerchief” disease).

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Bill Paxton As Sam Houston

Not to be confused with Bill Pullman, Paxton is the one from Twister and Big Love (not Independence Day), and he’s playing Sam Houston, a real general of the state of Texas who famously refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy after Texas split from the Union, which got him forced out of office in 1861, along with his respect for Native Americans. He should be one of the most sympathetic characters in Texas Rising.

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Ray Liotta As Lorca

In a surprising turn, Ray Liotta is going from movies to TV to play a fictional Alamo survivor, Lorca, who’s described by History as “a deadly and haunted survivor” who’s only out for revenge on the men who left him for dead. Personally I find it challenging to imagine Liotta as anyone other than Henry Hill after his Goodfellas performance, but he has grown a pretty impressive beard.

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Olivier Martinez As President Santa Ana

Mexico’s president at the time of the revolution, Santa Ana will function as the villain for the American soldiers, and as a hero to his own people. French actor Martinez does have a resemblance to the real Santa Ana, if a more super-handsome version of him.

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Brendan Fraser As Billy Anderson

I’ve been rooting HARD for a Brendan Fraser comeback since 2001, when the first Mummy sequel came out, and seemingly everything that was once great about his comedic-action hero persona instantly became dated and awkward overnight. Playing a Texas Ranger known for his connection to Native Americans could be his shot at redemption.

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Chad Michael Murray As Mirabeau Lamar

This used to be the lead of One Tree Hill. He was the love interest in the Freaky Friday remake with Lindsay Lohan. Now, he has sideburns that connect with a Colonel Sanders goatee with twirly waxed ends on the mustache. Even if he wasn’t playing a high-born politician turned Sam Houston soldier, Murray playing Mirabeau would be amazing.

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Kris Kristofferson As President Andrew Jackson

Obviously, the president, with his ties to both the military and the battle to settle America’s borders with Mexico, will play an important role in Texas Rising. So getting musician/actor Kris Kristofferson to lend his trademark brand of old-guy gonzo to the show is an amazing idea.

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Crispin Glover As Moseley Baker

Crispin Glover only picks the… strangest of roles to emerge from his intergalactic orbit. A small, almost wordless role in Alice In Wonderland a few years ago, then Hot Tub Time Machine, now, Texas Rising. And he’s playing a character befitting his eccentricity, as the real Moseley Baker was passionate about Texan independence after studying law and journalism.

Image: Carlos Somonte/HISTORY