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Houston: The Legend of Texas (1986)

"From personal heartbreak to the epic fight for liberation, the glory of the Old West is captured in this grand life story of Sam Houston, the man whose bravery and vision led to the creation of Texas." -- from back of box


Peter Levin


Frank Q. Dobbs (story), John Binder (story) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Elliott ... Sam Houston
Claudia Christian ... Eliza Allen
Devon Ericson ... Tiana Rogers
Michael C. Gwynne ... Mosely Baker
Donald Moffat ... Col. John Allen
John Quade ... Sen. Stansbury
Ned Romero ... Chief John Jolley
William Russ ... William Travis
John P. Ryan ... David Burnett
James Stephens ... Stephen Austin
Richard Yniguez ... Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
Michael Beck ... Jim Bowie
Bo Hopkins ... Col. Sidney Sherman
G.D. Spradlin ... President Andrew Jackson
Ritch Brinkley ... Sen. Buckley


"From personal heartbreak to the epic fight for liberation, the glory of the Old West is captured in this grand life story of Sam Houston, the man whose bravery and vision led to the creation of Texas." -- from back of box

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

22 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gone to Texas See more »

Filming Locations:

Laredo, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A TV movie for the CBS network. See more »


Near the end of the movie when General Houston is being evacuated on a stretcher on board the river boat one of the cheering men clearly is wearing a wristwatch on his left wrist. See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting biopic about the frontiersman, soldier , and politician became the first president of the Republic of Texas
29 October 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Passable Western inspired by historical events about Sam Houston and his fight for Texas independence . Historic events and great action as well as an acceptable cast . Sam (Sam Elliott) left his mark across the West's thousand toughest miles to escape a scandal back east . From the Red River to the Rio Grande he was hunted and feared ; a restless giant in a violent land . Tall in the saddle, restless of heart , he ranged across a violent land , forging an era with cold steel . President Jackson (G.D. Spradlin) personally orders him to lead the battle for Texan independence, he overcomes his reluctance to become involved and leads his partners to a string of victories over the Mexican army . Advocate at law Sam Houston gets together with notorious Texan leaders , his compatriots as Jim Bowie (Michael Beck) , Davy Crockett , William Barrett Travis (William Russ) and Stephen Austin (James Stephens) . When the Texans revolted against Mexico rule in 1835 , Sam was made commander-in-chief of the rebel army . After the fall of the Alamo on 6 March 1836 to the Mexican army and the subsequent retreat of the Texan forces , Sam managed to keep together a small force of less than 800 men and on 21 April 1836 launched a furious surprise attack . At the end takes place the famous battle of San Jacinto , in which was imprisoned General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana (Richard Yniguez) . It's until the spectacular crushing spotlight of total defeat with Sam Houston as commander-in-chief when the movie comes alive at all .

This exciting picture about Texas fights for independence contains action Western , drama , historical happenings and is quite entertaining . Interesting writing based on a story and screenplay by Frank Q. Dobbs , a Western expert and also producer . Good main cast in which Sam Elliott stands out , he gives a good acting as impulsive as well as two-fisted leader . Ample support cast formed by notorious secondaries playing brief roles , many of them performing historical characters , such as John P. Ryan as David Burnett , James Stephens as Stephen Austin , Richard Yniguez as Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna , Michael Beck as Jim Bowie ,John de Lancie as Van Fossen , Bo Hopkins as Col. Sidney Sherman , Ned Romero as Indian chief , G.D. Spradlin as President Andrew Jackson and uncredited , Katharine Ross , Sam Elliott's wife . Atmospheric as well as thrilling musical score by Dennis McCarthy . Colorful and evocative cinematography by Frank Watts , though in television style and being necessary a right remastering . Medium budget TV film , being professionally directed by Peter Levin , though with no originality . Levin is a good craftsman who has worked in Television for decades directing a lot of films , series and episodes .

The picture is based on historical deeds about Texas independence, these are the followings : With Mexican permission Stephen Austin (James Stephens) brought the first Anglo-American colonists to Texas, the first of many, their numbers grew and they wanted self-government and this desire led to the revolt of 1835, the Texas war for Independence . General Santa Anna (Richard Yniguez) , stormed the Alamo , being defended by Jim Bowie (Michael Beck) , Davy Crockett and William Travis (William Russ) , and wiped out the garrison on 6 March 1836 . The legendary defense served as a rallying point for the beleaguered Texas . Although Santa Anna , who lost at least 600 of some 3000 troops against a force of less than 200 , referred as a small affair , the valor of the defenders gave the surviving Texan troops something to remember . But on 21 April 1836 General Santa Anna suffered a crushing defeat by Sam Houston (Sam Elliott) and was taken prisoner . Texas was declared a Republic in October 1836 and Houston became its first president. In 1845 Texas joined the US, this lead to war with Mexico and disastrous results for that country. Samuel Houston (1793-1863) well performed by Sam Elliott , was a frontiersman and politician , he went to live with the Cherokees and took a Cherokee wife . After the fall of the Alamo , he managed to keep together a small force and launched a furious surprise attack on the Mexican army of 1300 camped on the western bank of the San Jacinto River . With Texas free and independent republic , Houston was elected the first president . When Texas was admitted to the United States in 1845, Houston was a senator to Washington . Later , when civil war threatened , he was opposed to secession from the Union and refused to take oath of allegiance to the Confederate government . He relinquished his office and retired from public life .

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