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.
Their intense faith and strict adherence to 300-year-old traditions have by turn captivated and repelled, awed and irritated, inspired and confused America.
Today one of the most-recognized figures in American literary history, poet Walt Whitman was denounced by critics in his own time.
A man who symbolized African American equality fought a proponent of Hitler's Aryan racial theories on the eve of World War II.
In 1897, Arctic explorer Robert Peary caused a sensation when he returned from Greenland with five Eskimos.
The story of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century.
A biography of the last outlaws of the American Wild West
Engineer James Eads tamed the mighty Mississippi, turning New Orleans into the second largest port in the nation.
The life story of Aimee Semple McPherson, religious evangelist instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture.