Kevin Costner (left) and Bill Paxton in Hatfields & McCoys
Kevin Lynch; Chris Large
05/30/2012 at 10:00 AM EDT
Hatfields & McCoys
, the History Channel's epic miniseries starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the heads of the famous feuding families in the post-Civil War South, comes to an end Wednesday after the trilogy's first installment Monday registered nearly 14 million viewers – a ratings record for cable.
Costner and Paxton play close friends Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy, whose personal conflict escalated into a decades-long rivalry between their families in Kentucky and West Virginia, and nearly led to war between the two states in the post-war years.
"Costner comes as close to a hero as this piece gets," opined the Los Angeles Times TV critic
. "It is a truly brilliant performance, worthy of an Emmy for the pipe-smoking alone."
Meanwhile, The Washington Post
said, "Paxton takes full advantage of his juicier role as Randall McCoy, a war camp survivor with a taste for vengeance and hellfire religion."
In terms of which side comes off better, the Hollywood Reporter
objectively observed: "No matter how hard each actor works to present the Hatfield or the McCoy side, it's a moot point. Neither family gets sympathy or respect."
Still, as the series winds down Wednesday (9 p.m. ET) on History, we want to know which actor
you find is stealing the show.