EVERY THURSDAY American History

Land of the free and home of the brave. See the stories of bold visionaries who set a course for the new world and helped to build the American Experiment.


October 6, 2022

All times Eastern
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Story Feature

When Cowboys Were Kings

Return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, when the Western was the backbone of American movies. When names like Tom Mix, Gene Autry, and Lash LaRue stood alongside a Gable or Garbo in popularity charts. This 2-hour special traces the Western from the early Thomas Edison Studios through B-Western to TV aftermath and today's sad festival of bursting blood bags. Features rare clips and interviews with Bruce Dern, Carroll Baker, Ernest Borgnine, John Ritter, Ricardo Montalban, and Tom Selleck.




Cowboys & Outlaws

The Real Lonesome Dove

Two cattle partners set off to blaze a trail to reach new markets. Only one returns. the epic adventure of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving defines the spirit of the American cowboy and the brutal reality of the West in the wake of the Civil War.




Cowboys & Outlaws

The Real Billy the Kid

This is the true story behind one of the most notorious names from the Golden Age of the Wild West. Who was "Billy the Kid"? A cold-blooded killer who murdered 21 men? Or an orphaned teenager driven to revenge the death of the only man who offered him a place to belong? Welcome to gang warfare--Wild West style.




Cowboys & Outlaws

The Real McCoy

At the dawn of the cowboy era, a mysterious disease threatens to derail the dreams of Texas cattlemen and their cowboys. One man vows to find a cure--and get fabulously rich at the same time. In a bold gamble, Joe McCoy builds a city in the middle of nowhere: Abilene--the first "cow town"--whose legacy would reshape the West.




Cowboys & Outlaws

The Real Wyatt Earp

The fabled Wyatt Earp, credited with spreading law and order in the Wild West, was in reality a complex character who straddled both sides of the law. Throughout most of his career he rarely used a pistol to kill a man, but when his little brother is shot, he snaps and embarks on a bloody vendetta. This action seals his place in history... but obscures the real man behind the myth.




Cowboys & Outlaws

Frontier Hitman

The notorious Tom Horn, hanged for a murder of a 14-year-old boy in 1903, is a pivotal figure in the taming of the Old West. A cowboy-turned-range-detective for big ranchers, he built a fearsome reputation as a professional hit man. Was he a cold-hearted assassin or a framed innocent man?




Cowboys & Outlaws

Range War

In 1889, Wyoming erupts in the West's most brutal range war--a campaign of terror pitting the wealthy cattle barons against the homesteaders, and "the powerful" against "the people." From barn burnings to lynchings to gangland slayings, the barons will stop at nothing to defend their claim to thousands of acres of government land.




Story Feature

Comanche Warriors

They invented the swirling, circling wagon train attack. They took captives...or decorated their lances with the scalps of those who fought back. From a ragtag band of scavengers, the Comanche transformed themselves into superior warriors by becoming the first tribe to tame the wild mustangs. In less than a generation, the Comanche became the world's greatest horsemen. For more than 150 years, the Comanche of the Southwest were ferocious raiders who stuck terror into the hearts of the plains tribes, Mexican villagers, and frontier settlers. They became the most feared and powerful tribe to follow the massive buffalo herds across the American heartland. We detail the motivation, tactics, weapons, and experiences of these nomadic Native Americans known as the "Lords of the Southern Plains".