In the spring and summer of 1918, a new flu outbreak, dubbed Spanish Influenza, moved with soldiers from the European battlefields of World War I to the homefront. By September, the flu began to exact a toll on the civilian population; in the month of October alone, 195,000 Americans died of the disease. In total, more than 500,000 Americans succumbed to the flu that year, more than all the combat casualties in all the wars of the 20th century. Globally, the death toll has been estimated at anywhere between 20 and 40 million people.
He has been portrayed in countless movies and television shows by some of Hollywood’s greatest actors, including Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart and, more recently, Kevin Costner, but these popular fictions belie the complexities and flaws of a man whose life is a lens on politics, justice and economic opportunity on the American frontier. As a young man, Wyatt Earp was a caricature of the Western lawman, spending his days drinking in saloons, gambling, visiting brothels and gaining notoriety as the legendary gunman in the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Shortly after his death in 1929, distressed Americans down on their luck transformed Wyatt Earp into a folk hero: a central figure in the American narrative of how the west was won, a man who took control of his own destiny.
The program premieres online (pbs.org/video) on the same date.
Visit the website at www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/.
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