– Some were down right bad and some were just plain misunderstood. But they all were legendary and they all
shaped America's West. –
Tuesday, January 10 at 9:00 p.m.
Billy the Kid
On April 28, 1881, 21-year-old Henry McCarty, alias Billy the Kid, just days from being hanged for murder, outfoxed his jailors and electrified the nation with the latest in a long line of daring escapes. Just a few weeks later, the notorious young outlaw was gunned down by an ambitious sheriff. Demonized by the lawman who killed him, the Kid was soon mythologized by a never-ending stream of dime-store romances and later, big-screen dramas. But in all the narratives, Billy the Kid’s real story has been obscured. Born to impoverished Irish immigrants, the Kid led a hardscrabble, itinerant life that became harder still when his mother died of tuberculosis.
Tuesday, January 17 at 9:00 p.m.
Custer's Last Stand
On June 26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory, General George Armstrong Custer ordered his soldiers to drive back a large army of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. The battle pitted two larger-than-life antagonists against one another: Sitting Bull, the charismatic and politically savvy leader of the Plains Indians, and Custer, one of the Union’s greatest cavalry officers and a man with a reputation for fearless and often reckless courage. By day’s end, Custer and nearly a third of his army were dead. This biography of one of the most charismatic and contradictory American leaders of the 19th century takes viewers on a journey from Custer’s memorable charge at Gettysburg, which turned the tide of the battle, to his lonely, untimely death on the windswept plains of the West.
Tuesday, January 24 at 8:00 p.m.
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.
Tuesday, January 24 at 9:00 p.m.
Born around 1820, Geronimo grew into a leading warrior and healer of the Chiricahua. But after his tribe was relocated to an Arizona reservation in 1872, he became a focus of the fury of terrified white settlers and of the growing tensions that divided Apaches struggling to survive under almost unendurable pressures. To angry whites, Geronimo became the archfiend, perpetrator of unspeakable savage cruelties. To his supporters, he remained the embodiment of proud resistance, the upholder of the old Chiricahua ways. To other Apaches, especially those who had come to see the white man's path as the only viable road, Geronimo was a stubborn troublemaker, unbalanced by his unquenchable thirst for vengeance, whose actions needlessly brought the enemy's wrath down on his own people.
Tuesday, January 31 at 8:00 p.m.
This is the story of the star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, the young woman who thrilled audiences around the world with her daring shooting feats. While her act helped fuel turn-of-the-century nostalgia for the vanished, mythical world of the American West, the legend of Annie Oakley had little to do with the real Annie. Although famous as a western sharpshooter, Oakley lived her entire life east of the Mississippi. A champion in a man's sport, Oakley forever changed ideas about the abilities of women, yet she opposed female suffrage. Her fame and fortune came from her skill with guns, a concept that was counter to her Quaker upbringing.
Tuesday, January 31 at 9:00 p.m.
The story of Jesse James remains one of America's most cherished tales ... and one of its most fictitious. James, so the legned goes, was a western outlaw, though, in fact, he never went west; America's Robin Hood, though he robbed from the poor as well as the rich; a gunfighter, though his victims were almost always unarmed. Less heroic than brutal, James was a member of a vicious band of Missouri guerrillas during the Civil War. With a life steeped in violence and bloodshed, he met what was perhaps the most fitting end.
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