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 journey of Prince Maximilian, German naturalist, and artist Karl Bodmer, who explored the Mississippi River area from 1832-1834.
Head of the most powerful family in America, billionaire John D. Rockefeller's vast philanthropy changed his family's reputation.
America's first great songwriter, Stephen Foster, wrote 200 songs but died a penniless alcoholic at 37.
A star in baseball's golden age, Joe DiMaggio's celebrity status and tumultuous marriage to Marilyn Monroe brought him pain.
The world famous escape artist could escape from everything - except his own mortality.
The legendary tale of Emeline Gurney, who - as the story goes - sold an illegitimate child at the age of 14 only to marry him at a later age.
The young CBS reporter changed his pacifist ideals after reporting on the rise of fascism in Europe during World War II.
Cuba's Communist leader defied the odds, surviving his Soviet benefactors, the wrath of U.S. presidents, two diplomatic crises and assassination attempts.