American Experience: Kit Carson Series
Lectures curated around American Experience: Kit Carson, which profiles the legendary trapper, scout, and soldier of the western frontier.
This program shows how the storied life of Christopher "Kit" Carson, is one of pride and shame, much like the history of America as a growing nation. Kit Carson earned his living as a trapper, one of a small band of white men living among the native peoples of the mountain West. They were deep in the wilderness, survival depended on making alliances with friendly tribes whenever possible, and then living more or less as the tribes did. Eventually, Carson learned at least half a dozen American Indian tongues and mastered the universal sign language used by the western tribes. When he was twenty-five, he took an American Indian wife, an Arapaho woman with whom he eventually had two daughters. In 1842, Kit Carson met a young Army lieutenant named John C. Fremont, who was about to embark on an expedition to map and survey the West, and had yet to hire a guide. After more than ten years as a trapper, there was no trail Carson had not traveled, and no wilderness challenge he couldn't meet. Fremont hired him on the spot. The encounter would change both Carson's life and the West forever.
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