His exploits on the American frontier inspired dozens of dime novels. But the stories told in these wildly popular books belie the complexities of the real Kit Carson, whose life embodies the contradictions in the story of the American West.
An illiterate mountain man, he was fluent in Spanish and five Indian languages; he twice married Native American women, yet led a brutal war against the Navajo. When the West was a mystery to most Americans, Carson mastered it, and his expertise made him not only famous, but also sought after. Eventually, by helping to spur a migration that would change the West forever, he unwittingly became an agent in the destruction of the life he loved.
Combining rich archival materials of the period with original recreations this AMERICAN EXPERIENCE production brings the legendary trapper, scout, and soldier to vivid life, and provides a lens on a pivotal but little-understood era in American history.
P.T. Barnum -- huckster, con man, promoter, entertainer and founder of "The Greatest Show on Earth".
The story of Native peoples’ valiant resistance to expulsion from their lands and the extinction of their culture.
The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.
John Wesley Powell's epic journey into the unknown Grand Canyon was filled with adventure as his team mapped the Colorado River for the first time.
How five abolitionist allies turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation.
Creating Miami Beach from a narrow spit of Florida swampland, Carl Fisher made a fortune until a devastating hurricane and the stock market crash of 1929 wiped him out.
The founding father laid the groundwork for the nation's modern economy, including the banking system and Wall Street.
General Douglas MacArthur led American troops in World Wars I and II before being fired by President Harry Truman during the Korean War.