Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear is transplanted to 19th century Texas in this made-for-cable drama. Patrick Stewart stars as John Lear, the wealthiest and most powerful rancher in the territory. Failing in body and mind, Lear decides to divide his vast property among his three daughters -- Suzannah (Marcia Gay Harden), Rebecca (Lauren Holly), and Claudia (Julie Cox) -- giving the most land to the girl who most persuasively professes her love and loyalty. While her mercenary sisters fawn all over John, the headstrong Claudia refuses to feed false compliments to her father, and as a result, she is banished from his ranch. But when Lear's spread is threatened by usurpers and landgrabbers, the enfeebled patriarch realizes that Claudia is the only one of his offspring truly worthy of his affection. All of the Shakespearean highlights are intact, albeit retranslated within the genre expectations of the Western. For example, Lear's blinding is done with a branding iron. An uneasy mixture of British theatricality and John Ford-like cinematic spectacle, King of Texas (filmed in Mexico despite its title) originally aired June 2, 2002, on the TNT cable network.
by Hal Erickson synopsis