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Watch The West

The West

IMDB: 8.4/10DocumentaryHistory1996 - 19961 Season

The West, sometimes marketed as Ken Burns Presents: The West, is a documentary film about the American Old West. It was directed by Stephen Ives and the executive producer was Ken Burns. The film originally aired on PBS in September 1996.

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Season 1

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 The People (1500-1806)

S01 E01

The People (1500-1806) Sep 15, 1996

The West begins as the whole world to the people who live there. It becomes a New World when Europeans arrive, a world shaken by incompatible visions. And almost three centuries later, when Lewis and Clark venture west to find a Northwest Passage, this world becomes the testing-ground for a young nation's continent-spanning dream.

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 Empire Upon The Trails (1806-1848)

S01 E02

Empire Upon The Trails (1806-1848) Sep 16, 1996

Americans head west along many pathways -- following the fur trade into the mountains, fighting for self-determination in Texas, seeking religious freedom in Utah or a better life along the Oregon Trail. But whatever direction they travel, they move closer with every step to a “Manifest Destiny” that will make the West their own.

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 The Speck Of The Future (1848-1856)

S01 E03

The Speck Of The Future (1848-1856) Sep 17, 1996

The Gold Rush brings the whole world to the West, as 49ers from Asia, South America and the eastern states scramble for “a share of the rocks,” littering the hills with mining towns and creating the West’s first metropolis. But in the push to strike it rich, many are violently pushed aside.

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 Death Runs Riot (1856-1868)

S01 E04

Death Runs Riot (1856-1868) Sep 18, 1996

Civil war comes early to the West. In “Bleeding Kansas,” abolitionists battle for free soil. In Utah, federal troops march against Mormon polygamy. And along the Rio Grande, oppressed Mexican Americans rebel. The war between North and South unleashes brute savagery in the West, and leaves behind an army prepared for total war against the native peoples of the plains.

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 The Grandest Enterprise Under God (1868-1874)

S01 E05

The Grandest Enterprise Under God (1868-1874) Sep 19, 1996

A triumph of the human spirit, the transcontinental railroad opens a new era in the West, carrying homesteaders onto the prairies, bringing cowboys up the cattle trail from Texas, helping give women the vote in Utah and sending buffalo hunters onto the plains, where they drive a symbol of the West -- and a way of life -- to the brink of extinction.

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 Fight No More Forever (1874-1877)

S01 E06

Fight No More Forever (1874-1877) Sep 20, 1996

The federal government tightens its grip on the West, but three bold spirits remain defiant -- Sitting Bull, who prophesies his people's greatest victory but cannot prevent their ultimate defeat; Brigham Young, who must sacrifice a spiritual son to save his church; and Chief Joseph, who triumphs in defeat as an indomitable voice of conscience for the West.

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Watch SHOW TITLE Season 01 Episode 01 The Geography Of Hope (1877-1887)

S01 E07

The Geography Of Hope (1877-1887) Sep 21, 1996

Newcomers arrive by the millions, bringing a new spirit of conformity to the West. Indian children are taught to forsake their heritage, Mormons are told to abandon a tenet of their faith, and new laws deny Chinese and Mexican Americans a place in society. Yet the legend of the “Wild West” lives on, thanks to the greatest showman of the age.

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