Kit Carson: American Experience

Kit Carson

Season 20, Episode 5 of 10

Kit Carson's exploits on the American frontier inspired dozens of dime novels, but the stories told in these wildly popular books belie the complexities of the real Kit Carson, whose life embodies the contradictions that are the story of the American West. An illiterate mountain man, he was fluent in Spanish and five Indian languages; he twice married Native-American women, yet led a brutal war against the Navajo. 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. Combining rich archival materials of the period with original re-creations, this program brings the legendary trapper, scout and soldier to vivid life and provides a lens on a pivotal but little-understood era in American history.

Previously Aired

11 p.m.
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