Throughout this year, our staff at AMERICAN EXPERIENCE kept seeing the subjects of our January 2012 Wild West Collection cropping up in the news. The headlines were a constant reminder that stories of characters like Billy the Kid and George Custer continue to resonate today. Check out some of the headlines below that made us look forward to programs coming up in 2012...
December 31, 2010: Despite having been dead for more than a century, outlaw Henry McCarty, aka Billy the Kid, was up for consideration to receive an official pardon from New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson. On his last day in office, Richardson announced his decision not to pardon the Kid on national television. Billy The Kid premieres on January 10th at 9/8C.
June 26: The only original tintype photograph of Billy the Kid sold at an auction in Denver for $2.3 million. Billy the Kid premieres on January 10th at 9/8C.
November: Iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz tracked down an ace-of-hearts target used by sharpshooter Annie Oakley for her new book Pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is a compilation of iconic American figures that have shaped her view of cultural inheritance. Annie Oakley, described by Will Rogers as "the greatest woman rifle shot the world has ever produced," rebroadcasts on January 31st at 8/7C.
November 23: More than $1 million of historical weapons were auctioned off at the Wild West guns and weapons auction, including a rifle owned by Geronimo ($100,000), Wyatt Earp's shotgun ($65,000) and Custer's saber ($20,000). The Wild West Collection (including the films Custer's Last Stand, Wyatt Earp, and Geronimo) premieres on January 10th at 9/8C.
November: Michelle Bachmann is criticized for claiming her great-great grandfather won a farm from Jesse James in a poker game in her new book Core of Conviction. A part of the Wild West collection, Jesse James portrays the story of one of America's most cherished myths. Rebroadcasting January 31st at 9/8C.
November: More than 125 years after the surrender of Apache leader Geronimo, the Fort Sill Apache won the right to establish a reservation in southern New Mexico. Geronimo fought against Mexico and the United States for the expansion of Apache lands. Hear his story when Geronimo rebroadcasts on January 24th at 9/8C.
November 29: The new book The Smoking Gun, written by a woman claiming to be Jesse James' great-granddaughter, argues that Robert Ford did not kill Jesse James. Supported with photographs, the book attempts to demonstrate how Jesse James pulled off one of the biggest bluffs in American history by faking his own murder in 1882, fleeing to Texas and dying there as James L. Courtney. The facts in the book have been contested by many. Jesse James rebroadcasts on January 31st at 9/8C.
Tory Starr is a Production Assistant for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.