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The First Texan (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 29 June 1956 (USA)
Eastern lawyer Sam Houston moves to Texas. At the request of President Jackson, he leads the Texan independence movement and wins the decisive battle against the Mexican army to gain Texas independence.


Byron Haskin


Daniel B. Ullman (story), Daniel B. Ullman (screenplay)


Airs Thu. Oct. 03, 6:30 PM on TCM



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... Sam Houston
Felicia Farr ... Katherine Delaney
Jeff Morrow ... Jim Bowie
Wallace Ford ... Henry Delaney
Abraham Sofaer ... Don Carlos
Jody McCrea ... Lt. Baker
Chubby Johnson ... Deaf Smith
William Hopper ... William Barrett Travis
Dayton Lummis Dayton Lummis ... Stephen Austin
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr. ... Col. Cos (as Rodolfo Hoyos)
Roy Roberts ... Col. Sam Sherman
David Silva ... Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana
Frank Puglia ... Pepe
James Griffith ... Davy Crockett
Nelson Leigh ... Col. Hockley


After arriving in Texas to escape a scandal back east, lawyer Sam Houston just wants to hang out his shingle, keep a low profile, and stay out of any political intrigue. However, when President Jackson personally asks him to lead the fight for Texan independence, he overcomes his reluctance to become involved and leads his compatriots to the decisive victory over Santa Anna and the Mexican army to gains Texas' independence. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

texas | See All (1) »


A GIANT OF A MAN...IN A GIANT OF A LAND! Tall in the saddle, restless of heart...he ranged across a violent land, forging an era with cold steel! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Held von Texas See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Houston arrives in Washington, there's an establishing shot which is, supposedly, the Executive Mansion (now called the White House). The building is clearly not that building. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: On the first day of December, in 1832, a man rode up to a muddy stream called the Red River. When he crossed this river, he was in Texas. He was a man in search of a new life, because his previous one had left him desolated and sick at heart. He was a man of size and strength and he had history in his hands. His name was Sam Houston.
See more »


Version of The Conqueror (1917) See more »


The First Texan
Lyrics by McElbert Moore
Music by Roy Webb
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User Reviews

You are foolish Señor, but not lacking in courage.
8 June 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The First Texan is directed by Byron Haskin and written by Daniel B. Ullman. It stars Joel McCrea, Felicia Farr, Jeff Morrow, Wallace Ford and Rodolfo Hoyos. A Technicolor/CinemaScope production, cinematography is by Wilfrid Cline and music by Roy Webb.

McCrea plays Sam Houston, who after travelling from Tennessee to San Antonio, Texas, starts to shape Texas history in spite of his initial reluctance.

OK! So it's no Sam Houston biography of considerable substance or big bucks production values, I mean how was it ever going to be so when it only runs at just over 82 minutes? Yet this is still a very colourful and engaging picture, with the core essence of the Sam Houston story firmly put forward. We are basically watching what Huston was doing as elsewhere The Alamo was playing its part in historical legend. This means that the narrative is given to mostly talky passages as political machinations and power hungry posturings come to the fore. Thankfully, in McCrea's hands Houston comes off as a fascinating and inspiring man, which in the grand scheme of things is objective achieved.

There is, perhaps inevitably, a romantic sub-plot, which explains why the gorgeous Felicia Farr is in the movie, sadly it's not only a token characterisation, but also historically suspect to say the least. But again, take it with a pinch of salt and buy into Houston the man and it never hurts the story. It all builds towards the battle of San Jacinto, where spurred on by famous chants about remembering The Alamo, Houston led his forces to victory over General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army. Financial restraints mean we don't get the big and bold battle that history deserves, but what is on offer is deftly staged regardless, as stunt-men flail about and cannons do roar.

Nothing approaching educational class standards here, but with McCrea a strong and rugged presence, and Haskin rising above budget limitations to tell a literary story, The First Texan is as solid as a San Antonio mission built with limestone that has been cemented by a stucco layer. 7/10

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