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.
Cuba's Communist leader defied the odds, surviving his Soviet benefactors, the wrath of U.S. presidents, two diplomatic crises and assassination attempts.
Football coach Knute Rockne of Notre Dame was a pivotal figure in the sudden rise of sports to a position of power in American culture.
President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger initiated a secret diplomatic breakthrough with Mao Tse-tung that shocked and changed the world.
The founding father laid the groundwork for the nation's modern economy, including the banking system and Wall Street.
The influential musical pioneers from Appalachia whose recordings lifted spirits during the Great Depression.
The journey of Prince Maximilian, German naturalist, and artist Karl Bodmer, who explored the Mississippi River area from 1832-1834.
Martha Ballard was a midwife and mother in Maine following the American Revolution.
Thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit was the long shot that captured America's heart during the Depression.