Description

"The West" brings the saga of the American West -- full of tragedy and triumph, hope and harsh reality -- to life, tracing the lives of a diverse cast of characters, from explorers, soldiers and Indian warriors to settlers, railroad builders and gaudy showmen, who share their stories in their own words, through diaries, letters and autobiographical accounts.

    • $39.99

Description

"The West" brings the saga of the American West -- full of tragedy and triumph, hope and harsh reality -- to life, tracing the lives of a diverse cast of characters, from explorers, soldiers and Indian warriors to settlers, railroad builders and gaudy showmen, who share their stories in their own words, through diaries, letters and autobiographical accounts.

    • EPISODE 1

    The People

    This series chronicles the saga of the American West, tracing the lives of a diverse cast of characters, from explorers, soldiers and Indian warriors to settlers, railroad builders and gaudy showmen, who share their stories in their own words, through diaries, letters and autobiographical accounts. The West has always been a land of myth. Across two million square miles of the most spectacular landscape on earth, the original Native American inhabitants linked their creation stories to majestic mountains, pristine rivers, searing deserts and silent forests. This had been their home, as the Kiowa said, since the time long ago "when dogs could talk." To the Europeans, the West was a "wilderness" to be conquered -- filled with boundless treasure, souls to save and new territories to explore. Cabeza de Vaca, the first white man to wander the West, was surprised to discover friendship among the Indians; yet the conquistador Coronado saw them only as enemies as he swept through their villages searching in vain for the Seven Cities of Gold. And nearly 100 years before the American Revolution, the Pueblo people of the Southwest rose up against their European masters and drove the Spanish from their lands. With America's purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1804, Lewis and Clark set off to find the fabled Northwest Passage -- as a confident young nation prepared for its own epic march across the West.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 22 Minutes

    This series chronicles the saga of the American West, tracing the lives of a diverse cast of characters, from explorers, soldiers and Indian warriors to settlers, railroad builders and gaudy showmen, who share their stories in their own words, through diaries, letters and autobiographical accounts. The West has always been a land of myth. Across two million square miles of the most spectacular landscape on earth, the original Native American inhabitants linked their creation stories to majestic mountains, pristine rivers, searing deserts and silent forests. This had been their home, as the Kiowa said, since the time long ago "when dogs could talk." To the Europeans, the West was a "wilderness" to be conquered -- filled with boundless treasure, souls to save and new territories to explore. Cabeza de Vaca, the first white man to wander the West, was surprised to discover friendship among the Indians; yet the conquistador Coronado saw them only as enemies as he swept through their villages searching in vain for the Seven Cities of Gold. And nearly 100 years before the American Revolution, the Pueblo people of the Southwest rose up against their European masters and drove the Spanish from their lands. With America's purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1804, Lewis and Clark set off to find the fabled Northwest Passage -- as a confident young nation prepared for its own epic march across the West.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 22 Minutes
    • EPISODE 2

    Empire Upon the Trails

    In the early 1800's, no one knew who would control the seemingly infinite spaces of the West. Many nations and many peoples still laid claim to much of it. Hopeful Americans now began moving there nevertheless, and the individual trails they followed merged into "Manifest Destiny." Mountain men, such as the legendary Joe Meek, found more adventure than profit as they scoured the uncharted Rockies for furs. Missionaries like Narcissa Whitman left the safety and friendship of home to travel west in a quest to convert Indians to Christianity. In Mexican Texas, Sam Houston led the fight for an independent republic. And Virginians Henry and Naomi Sager, following a restless dream of better times over the next horizon, set out with their children on the Oregon Trail -- but their deaths left unfulfilled dreams and seven orphans to reach the continent's farthest shore alone. Regardless of their reasons for going west, once they got there, the Americans soon determined to make the West -- all of it -- their own.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes

    In the early 1800's, no one knew who would control the seemingly infinite spaces of the West. Many nations and many peoples still laid claim to much of it. Hopeful Americans now began moving there nevertheless, and the individual trails they followed merged into "Manifest Destiny." Mountain men, such as the legendary Joe Meek, found more adventure than profit as they scoured the uncharted Rockies for furs. Missionaries like Narcissa Whitman left the safety and friendship of home to travel west in a quest to convert Indians to Christianity. In Mexican Texas, Sam Houston led the fight for an independent republic. And Virginians Henry and Naomi Sager, following a restless dream of better times over the next horizon, set out with their children on the Oregon Trail -- but their deaths left unfulfilled dreams and seven orphans to reach the continent's farthest shore alone. Regardless of their reasons for going west, once they got there, the Americans soon determined to make the West -- all of it -- their own.

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    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes
    • EPISODE 3

    The Speck of the Future

    In 1848, a sawmill worker named James Marshall reached down into the stream bed of the American River in California -- and came up with the future of the West in the palm of his hand. He had discovered gold. During the next year alone, more than 50,000 fortune-seekers swarmed into the Sierra Nevada in a headlong scramble for riches. Like many "49ers," William Swain left his home and family to endure hardships and disappointments for a "pocketful of rocks." Wild mining camps with names like Whiskey Diggings, Grizzly Flat and Murders' Bar sprang up -- and then disappeared with each new strike. A once-sleepy village on a magnificent bay changed overnight into the thriving international city of San Francisco; a merchant declared himself "Emperor of North America"; and a shrewd Mormon shopkeeper became the gold rush's first millionaire. But with the overwhelming influx of Americans, thousands of Indians were killed in the pursuit of land and slave labor, foreign miners were coerced from mining and Mexican-Americans lost their land. The Gold Rush changed the West forever.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 25 Minutes

    In 1848, a sawmill worker named James Marshall reached down into the stream bed of the American River in California -- and came up with the future of the West in the palm of his hand. He had discovered gold. During the next year alone, more than 50,000 fortune-seekers swarmed into the Sierra Nevada in a headlong scramble for riches. Like many "49ers," William Swain left his home and family to endure hardships and disappointments for a "pocketful of rocks." Wild mining camps with names like Whiskey Diggings, Grizzly Flat and Murders' Bar sprang up -- and then disappeared with each new strike. A once-sleepy village on a magnificent bay changed overnight into the thriving international city of San Francisco; a merchant declared himself "Emperor of North America"; and a shrewd Mormon shopkeeper became the gold rush's first millionaire. But with the overwhelming influx of Americans, thousands of Indians were killed in the pursuit of land and slave labor, foreign miners were coerced from mining and Mexican-Americans lost their land. The Gold Rush changed the West forever.

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    • 1 Hour 25 Minutes
    • EPISODE 4

    Death Runs Riot

    The West had always symbolized hope and new beginnings, but in the 1850s, as more American pioneers poured west to start over, they brought with them the nation's oldest, most divisive issue -- slavery. The rough frontier would supply the sparks that ignited the Civil War. No one was safe. Indians were dragged into the "white man's war," while a group of besieged Mormons committed a terrible massacre of innocent pioneers. A brave Mexican-American rancher declared his own republic in southern Texas and became the "Robin Hood of the Rio Grande." A young writer named Sam Clemens escaped the bloodshed to find adventure and opportunity in Nevada's bustling silver camps, where he became a journalist named Mark Twain. Then, as the bitter Civil War drew to a close, celebrated Union heroes like George Armstrong Custer and William Tecumseh Sherman used the tactics that they had employed to defeat the South against the Native Americans of the West.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes

    The West had always symbolized hope and new beginnings, but in the 1850s, as more American pioneers poured west to start over, they brought with them the nation's oldest, most divisive issue -- slavery. The rough frontier would supply the sparks that ignited the Civil War. No one was safe. Indians were dragged into the "white man's war," while a group of besieged Mormons committed a terrible massacre of innocent pioneers. A brave Mexican-American rancher declared his own republic in southern Texas and became the "Robin Hood of the Rio Grande." A young writer named Sam Clemens escaped the bloodshed to find adventure and opportunity in Nevada's bustling silver camps, where he became a journalist named Mark Twain. Then, as the bitter Civil War drew to a close, celebrated Union heroes like George Armstrong Custer and William Tecumseh Sherman used the tactics that they had employed to defeat the South against the Native Americans of the West.

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    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes
    • EPISODE 5

    The Grandest Enterprise Under God

    After the Civil War reunited North and South, Americans set out with renewed energy and optimism to finally unite the nation, East and West. To do this, they embarked on one of the greatest technological achievements of the age -- building the first transcontinental railroad, conquering forbidding mountains, harsh deserts and awesome distances. Railroads soon transformed the West. Cowpokes such as Teddy Blue Abbott rode dusty cattle trails to deliver herds of longhorns to boisterous railheads like Dodge and Abilene, while buffalo hunters like Frank Mayer drove a magnificent animal that symbolized the West to the brink of extinction. For Emmeline Wells, suffragette and seventh wife of a prominent Mormon leader, the rails meant non-Mormon neighbors and Eastern ideas -- as well as the prospect of the West's becoming the first place in America where a woman could vote. And railroads brought in landless Europeans as well as poor but determined American families like Uriah and Mattie Oblinger, whose dream was a farm they could call their own. The binding of the country by iron rails would signal, as nothing else had, that the United States was not only a continental nation, but an emerging world power.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes

    After the Civil War reunited North and South, Americans set out with renewed energy and optimism to finally unite the nation, East and West. To do this, they embarked on one of the greatest technological achievements of the age -- building the first transcontinental railroad, conquering forbidding mountains, harsh deserts and awesome distances. Railroads soon transformed the West. Cowpokes such as Teddy Blue Abbott rode dusty cattle trails to deliver herds of longhorns to boisterous railheads like Dodge and Abilene, while buffalo hunters like Frank Mayer drove a magnificent animal that symbolized the West to the brink of extinction. For Emmeline Wells, suffragette and seventh wife of a prominent Mormon leader, the rails meant non-Mormon neighbors and Eastern ideas -- as well as the prospect of the West's becoming the first place in America where a woman could vote. And railroads brought in landless Europeans as well as poor but determined American families like Uriah and Mattie Oblinger, whose dream was a farm they could call their own. The binding of the country by iron rails would signal, as nothing else had, that the United States was not only a continental nation, but an emerging world power.

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    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes
    • EPISODE 6

    Fight No More Forever

    By the 1870s, only a few groups resisted the nation's push to conquer the West. On the Great Plains, Sitting Bull followed his mystical visions and urged his Lakota Sioux people to fight rather than surrender their sacred Black Hills and traditional way of life. On a hot summer day at the Little Big Horn, they defeated another warrior equally sure of his invincibility -- George Armstrong Custer. Custer's "Last Stand" also became, in effect, the last stand of the Sioux as a free people. In Utah, the Mormon patriarch Brigham Young, who had led his people to sanctuary in the desert, was forced to choose between saving his church or sacrificing his spiritual son. Farther west, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, who had struggled for peace all his life, found himself helping to lead one of the most extraordinary military campaigns in American history, as army after army relentlessly pursued him across the West. In the end, he was defeated not by rifles or cannons, but by starvation and freezing cold. This remarkable, eloquent man would also become the symbol of the pride, dignity and plight of all Native Americans.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 25 Minutes

    By the 1870s, only a few groups resisted the nation's push to conquer the West. On the Great Plains, Sitting Bull followed his mystical visions and urged his Lakota Sioux people to fight rather than surrender their sacred Black Hills and traditional way of life. On a hot summer day at the Little Big Horn, they defeated another warrior equally sure of his invincibility -- George Armstrong Custer. Custer's "Last Stand" also became, in effect, the last stand of the Sioux as a free people. In Utah, the Mormon patriarch Brigham Young, who had led his people to sanctuary in the desert, was forced to choose between saving his church or sacrificing his spiritual son. Farther west, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, who had struggled for peace all his life, found himself helping to lead one of the most extraordinary military campaigns in American history, as army after army relentlessly pursued him across the West. In the end, he was defeated not by rifles or cannons, but by starvation and freezing cold. This remarkable, eloquent man would also become the symbol of the pride, dignity and plight of all Native Americans.

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    • 1 Hour 25 Minutes
    • EPISODE 7

    The Geography of Hope

    The conquest of the West was nearly complete by the 1870s. In one remarkable decade, with Indians effectively confined to reservations, over four million new settlers arrived to stake their claim to the future. Homesteaders proudly built homes of prairie sod, then battled drought and hard times in order to survive. Pap Singleton, an ex-slave from Tennessee, became the era's "Black Moses," leading his people to the free soil of Kansas. A bookish ethnologist named Frank Hamilton Cushing, sent west to study the Zuni, became a prominent member of the tribe, taking an enemy scalp and becoming a war chief. A frail New York politician, Theodore Roosevelt, turned himself into a rugged North Dakota rancher. As Americans tried to "tame" the West, the nation's greatest showman, Buffalo Bill Cody, offered adoring crowds his enthusiastic version of the "Wild West" -- heroic, glorious, romantic, and most of all, mythic.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes

    The conquest of the West was nearly complete by the 1870s. In one remarkable decade, with Indians effectively confined to reservations, over four million new settlers arrived to stake their claim to the future. Homesteaders proudly built homes of prairie sod, then battled drought and hard times in order to survive. Pap Singleton, an ex-slave from Tennessee, became the era's "Black Moses," leading his people to the free soil of Kansas. A bookish ethnologist named Frank Hamilton Cushing, sent west to study the Zuni, became a prominent member of the tribe, taking an enemy scalp and becoming a war chief. A frail New York politician, Theodore Roosevelt, turned himself into a rugged North Dakota rancher. As Americans tried to "tame" the West, the nation's greatest showman, Buffalo Bill Cody, offered adoring crowds his enthusiastic version of the "Wild West" -- heroic, glorious, romantic, and most of all, mythic.

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    • 1 Hour 24 Minutes
    • EPISODE 8

    Ghost Dance

    By the late 1880's, Americans were astounded by the changes they had brought to the West. Mining towns such as Butte, Montana were now full-fledged industrial cities, magnets of opportunity to workers from around the world, but also places where the landscape itself was under assault. Defeated militarily, Native Americas throughout the region now flocked to the call of a Paiute mystic, who offered the illusionary hope that the lost world of the buffalo could be brought back by a Ghost Dance. But its promises would be trampled in the snow and blood of Wounded Knee.

    • CC
    • 58 Minutes

    By the late 1880's, Americans were astounded by the changes they had brought to the West. Mining towns such as Butte, Montana were now full-fledged industrial cities, magnets of opportunity to workers from around the world, but also places where the landscape itself was under assault. Defeated militarily, Native Americas throughout the region now flocked to the call of a Paiute mystic, who offered the illusionary hope that the lost world of the buffalo could be brought back by a Ghost Dance. But its promises would be trampled in the snow and blood of Wounded Knee.

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    • 58 Minutes
    • EPISODE 9

    One Sky Above Us

    In place of the great Native American cultures which once dominated the Plains was a new culture, epitomized by the Oklahoma Land Rush, in which 100,000 eager settlers lined up for a mad dash to stake out a farm and a future.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 3 Minutes

    In place of the great Native American cultures which once dominated the Plains was a new culture, epitomized by the Oklahoma Land Rush, in which 100,000 eager settlers lined up for a mad dash to stake out a farm and a future.

    • CC
    • 1 Hour 3 Minutes
© 1997 The West Films Projects, Inc.

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