Credit: Felicia Graham/NBC
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[Spoiler alert!]

The power may have returned on Revolution, but Miles (Billy Burke), Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell), and Aaron (Zak Orth) are anything but powerful under the watchful eye of the Patriots.

That struggle only intensifies in this week’s episode, “One Riot, One Ranger,” with the appearance of Jim Beaver as John Fry, the titular ranger who, despite sharing a shaky past with Miles, may just be the key to defeating the Patriots.

“It’s not a very comfortable history [with Miles], but there are circumstances that will force them to work together,” Beaver says. “They used to know each other years before, and Fry is convinced that Miles betrayed him in a very nasty way.”

The character receives an epic entrance consisting of hundreds of extras — “It was one of the biggest scenes I’ve done for network television in a long time,” the actor says — as Fry rides into town on horseback and brings along an army of followers.

Of course, Beaver has played his fair share of “cowboy” characters on television, having recurred on Deadwood as Whitney Ellsworth, Justified as Sheriff Shelby Parlow, and Supernatural as Bobby Singer — all gruff, bearded tough guys with a sympathetic side.

But Fry is not one for sympathy.

“I’ve made this sort of non-deliberate career path of playing gruff but lovable types, and Fry is just as gruff but he ain’t near as lovable,” he says of his John Wayne-like character. “He’s not completely admirable… He’s strong and tough and he stands up to Miles. These days, you don’t get too many chances to ride into town on a horse and stare down an angry mob, so it’s a great, tough, self-reliant character.”

Still, Beaver adds, being on set in Texas meant working in “900 degree heat.”

“It was some of the hottest work I’ve ever done,” he said. “But when you get to play cowboy, you don’t complain too much about that.”

Revolution airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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