Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to  Billy the Kid, from Custers Last Stand to Geronimo's fight against the U.S. government, learn the real stories behind some of America's greatest western tales.

" /> The Wild West . American Experience . WGBH | PBS

The Wild West

The Wild West collection features documentaries about some of the most controversial and mythic figures in American western history.

From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to  Billy the Kid, from Custers Last Stand to Geronimo's fight against the U.S. government, learn the real stories behind some of America's greatest western tales.


Films in this Collection


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

A biography of the last outlaws of the American Wild West


Billy the Kid

The boy behind the myth, who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan to the most feared man in the West and an enduring icon. Part of The Wild West collection.


Custer's Last Stand

The Last Stand, the final act of General George Custer's larger-than-life career, played out on a grand stage with a spellbound public engrossed in the drama. Part of the Wild West collection.


Wyatt Earp

A central figure in the narrative of how the west was won, Wyatt Earp and his story became an American legend. Part of the Wild West collection.


Geronimo

The Chiricahua Apache medicine man and warrior who refused to accept white man's 'civilization.' Part of The Wild West collection.


Annie Oakley

As the star attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Annie Oakley thrilled audiences around the world with her shooting feats. Part of the Wild West collection.


Jesse James

America's Robin Hood who robbed not only the rich but the poor and defenseless as well, always saving the treasure for himself. Part of the Wild West collection.


Buffalo Bill

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.


Kit Carson

The ultimate frontiersman, Carson inspired popular novels before being associated with the "Long Walk" of the Navajo people.


Special Features




My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

From Billy the Kid to Wyatt Earp, and George Custer to Geronimo, the real-life people who helped tame the west would shape the western heroes celebrated in film and television for decades.


Series Blog

2011 Wild West Headlines

December 30, 2011

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... 

Read more...


  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH