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.
The remarkable story of how a railroad was built connecting California to the East.
A brilliant scientist, Oppenheimer was tasked with the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.
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.
Bascom Lamar Lunsford and his campaign to preserve mountain music and dance.
Richard Nixon faced impeachment but also ended the Vietnam War. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The Native American leader fought against U.S. expansion onto Apache tribal land. The story of a tragic collision of two civilizations.
Quilting and the intimate clues it yields about the lives of 19th century women.
The story of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century.