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THEMATIC: The American Landscape:

Cities  |   Natural Disasters  |   The Environment  |   Westward Expansion

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams
The legendary photographer who captured America's wild beauty.
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From the day that a 14-year-old Ansel Adams first saw the transcendent beauty of the Yosemite Valley, his life was, in his words, "colored and modulated by the great earth-gesture of the Sierra." Few American photographers have reached a wider audience than Adams, and none has had more impact on how Americans grasp the majesty of their continent. In this elegant, moving and lyrical portrait of the most eloquent and quintessentially American of photographers, producer Ric Burns seeks to explore the meaning and legacy of Adams' life and work. At the heart of the film are the great themes that absorbed Adams throughout his career: the beauty and fragility of "the American earth," the inseparable bond of man and nature, and the moral obligation the present owes to the future.

Battle for Wilderness (no website available)
The first major battle for wilderness preservation.
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The first major battle for wilderness preservation erupted over the building of Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park in 1906. On the one side were the purists who argued that wildlands were to be left as God made them; on the other, those who believed in the wise management of natural resources. President Roosevelt, an ardent conservationist, was caught between the two.
Building the Alaska Highway

Building the Alaska Highway
One of the biggest and most difficult homeland defense projects ever undertaken.
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In May of 1942, across the rugged sub-Arctic wilderness of Alaska, British Columbia, and Yukon Territory, thousands of American soldiers began one of the biggest and most difficult construction projects ever undertaken -- the building of the Alaska Highway.

The United States had toyed for 80 years with the idea of building a road link from the lower 48 states to Alaska; but it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that spurred Washington into action. Worried that the Japanese might invade Alaska, President Roosevelt directed that a supply line be built to U.S military bases in the region.

Interweaving interviews with the men who were there, archival footage and beautiful cinematography of the sub-Arctic route the road took, this American Experience production tells how for eight months, young soldiers, some of whom had never left the southern United States before, battled mud, muskeg, and mosquitoes; endured ice, snow, and bitter cold; bridged raging rivers, graded lofty peaks, and cut pathways through primeval forests to push a 1,520-mile road across one of the world's harshest landscapes.

Eric Sevareid's Not So Wild A Dream (no website available)
Based on Sevareid's best-selling book of the same title.
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A touching memoir beginning with life in a small Minnesota town and taking us through a young man's early days as pacifist. Reporting on the rise of fascism in Europe, Sevareid, as a young CBS reporter, would change his belief. Based on Sevareid's best-selling book of the same title.
Kit Carson

Kit Carson
The legendary trapper, scout, and soldier's exploits on the American frontier inspired popular dime novels, but those tales belie the complexities of the real Kit Carson.
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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.

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (no website available)
Her warning sparked a revolution in environmental policy and created a new ecological consciousness.
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She had been a biologist for the federal government when she first took note of the effects of the unregulated use of pesticides and herbicides, especially DDT. Magazines refused to publish her articles because they were afraid of losing advertising. When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1963, she was viciously attacked, called "an ignorant and hysterical woman." But her warning sparked a revolution in environmental policy and created a new ecological consciousness.
The Alaska Pipeline

The Alaska Pipeline
An 800-mile pipeline transports crude from the largest oil field in North America. Native Alaskans, oil company representatives, environmentalists, geologists, politicians, and others tell the story of its construction.
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The pipeline built to bring North Slope oil to market was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. For more than three years, workers battled brutal Arctic weather to construct an eight hundred mile pipeline that traversed three mountain ranges, thirty-four rivers, and eight hundred streams, and that withstood earthquakes and sub-zero temperatures. The men, machines and money the pipeline brought to Alaska would forever transform what had long been regarded as America's last great wilderness. The pipeline's construction pitted America's need for energy against its desire to protect land and wildlife, sparking one of the most passionate conservation battles in American history.

Wild By Law (no website available)
Three men dedicate their lives to protect the shrinking wilderness.
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For years there was no federal law to protect the shrinking wilderness from encroaching industry and tourism, until three men dedicated their lives to finding a remedy. Robert Marshall, Aldo Leopold, the prophet of the modern environmental movement, and Howard Zahniser struggled for decades to create a permanent system of federally protected wilderness areas. The fruit of their efforts, the Wilderness Act, passed in 1964.

Yosemite -- The Fate of Heaven (no website available)
A stunning film portrait of Yosemite National Park.
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A stunning film portrait of Yosemite National Park. The film's narration is taken from using the 1851 diary of the first expedition of soldiers into the sacred valley home of the Ahwahnechee tribe and introduces today's hikers and campers, to whom Yosemite is a true shrine.
THEMATIC: The American Landscape:

Cities  |   Natural Disasters  |   The Environment  |   Westward Expansion

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