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 women's suffrage movement won the right to vote when the 19th Amendment passed in 1920.
Before he became the first U.S. president, service to the colonies would profoundly change George Washington.
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.
The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.
A look at JFK's assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald and the subsequent investigations that lead to a widespread loss of trust in government institutions.
The Native American leader fought against U.S. expansion onto Apache tribal land. The story of a tragic collision of two civilizations.
At the height of segregation, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to a pioneering medical breakthrough.
Richard Nixon faced impeachment but also ended the Vietnam War. Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.