The American West – Ep 5 Sneak Peek
Spanning the years from 1865 to 1890, The American West, shows how, in the aftermath of the Civil War, the United States transformed into the “land of opportunity.”
The 8-episode series chronicles the personal, little-known stories of American Western legends such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.
The west was won in the 40 years between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century. From the Civil War veterans first heading out into the unknown, to the final gunshot that closed the Frontier, the west would come to define American identity. But the land didn’t come without a fight. As the borders expanded further and further, outlaws ruled the land, and in this lawless territory, the only justice was power.
Brutal gang wars raged, and by necessity, came the earliest form of law. But in the west, money and greed ruled everything, and having the law on your side meant nothing: the only thing that mattered was who could shoot the fastest.
The American West catapults you into a violent world of cowboys, Native Americans, outlaws and gunslingers. The ground runs red with the blood of their stories, from Jesse James to Billy the Kid. These men were the first to live the American dream, and the first to die for it.
Executive Producer Robert Redford’s knowledge and passion for this period is apparent in each of the eight episodes, as well as appearances from Ed Harris, James Caan, Kris Kristofferson, Mark Harmon, Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds and Kiefer Sutherland.
After their defeat at Battle of Little Bighorn, the U.S. Military seizes the Black Hills, forcing Sitting Bull to flee to Canada, and Crazy Horse to turn himself in to a reservation. With the buffalo eliminated from the Great Plains, cattle take their place, populating the West with rough boomtowns like Dodge City, requiring the unorthodox tactics of lawmen like Wyatt Earp.
As the railroads build further west to capitalize on the cattle boom, in Lincoln County, New Mexico, a young cattle thief named Billy the Kid gets caught up in a corrupt war. And as Jesse James tries to adjust to an anonymous life in hiding, Crazy Horse decides he’s had enough of life on a reservation – but winds up paying the ultimate price.