An Evening of the Old West

An Evening of the Old West

Tue, 10/26/2010 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Pictured: Cover of a dime novel about Kit Carson. 

Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Three documentaries on legends of the wild, wild west.

The night begins with Kit Carson: American Experience at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26 followed by Death of the Old West at 8:30 p.m. and Buffalo Bill: American Experience at 9 p.m. on WXXI-World (cable 524/DT21.2).

Kit Carson: American Experience - To some, he was one of America's greatest heroes: a brave and loyal guide who laid out a path for the westward-moving nation, an Indian tracker who could follow any trail, and a fearless warrior featured in dozens of best-selling novels. But to others, Christopher "Kit" Carson was a villain who waged a merciless crusade against Native Americans. In the end, his contradictions would define his legacy -- and tell the true story of how the West was won.

Death of the Old West - As the sun began to set on frontier life, a vigilante act ripped apart a young Oklahoma community and brought shame to citizens struggling to distance themselves from backwater violence. In the early morning hours of April 19, 1909, a group of Ada residents — many of them community leaders — avenged the murder of a popular local rancher and former U.S. Deputy Marshall A. A. "Gus" Bobbitt by lynching the four suspects. The mob effectively drove the outlaw element out of town, but in the process perpetrated a terrible miscarriage of justice. To date, no person has ever been identified or prosecuted in connection with the killings.

Buffalo Bill: American Experience - Presenting a portrait of the man who made the American West into the American story. From filmmaker Rob Rapley, Buffalo Bill is a one-hour documentary that draws upon rich archival materials to explore the man behind the legend, revealing the complexity of William Cody's extraordinary life. "Buffalo Bill was a phenomenon unlike anything the world had seen. He turned the story of the west into a phenomenon as well," says Rapley. "Cody blurred the line between truth and entertainment, history and myth. And he was wildly successful doing it."