Part 1 of the two-night production was seen by 9.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable telecast of the year. The audience was almost three times larger than the next largest attracted by AMC.
(By comparison, the season premiere of TNT's hit drama, The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick was seen by 8.2 million viewers on June 12, making it the most-watched scripted weekly series on basic cable in 2006.)
"Broken Trail has been a labor of love and I am very proud of the project, so obviously I am honored by the nation's wide response," said Duvall, who also served as executive producer.
"The western film genre has helped tell the story of America, and it is this style of movie-making that will always be ours. "
Directed by Emmy Award-winner Walter Hill, the film features Duvall and Church as a pair of cowboys on an epic journey driving 400 horses from Oregon to Wyoming at the end of the 19th century.
"Broken Trail is the kind of original that easily builds on AMC's heritage of quality movies from every decade," Ed Carroll, president of AMC, said of the first movie made by the cable channel.
"Our established leadership in the western genre, combined with the first-rate talent on the project, made Broken Trail the ideal vehicle to launch AMC's expansion into high-profile originals."
National ratings for Part 2, which aired Monday night, will not be available until later today.