This is one of the more difficult biographies I've seen. Difficult, I say, because Kit Carson was a very enigmatic man--one who cannot be categorized as a hero or devil--he had a bit of each within him. To me, this makes him complex and interesting, but I am sure some won't like the film because of this--or because of the nasty things he did--which, at the time, seemed palatable.
Carson was a very early mountain man--a trapper who lived out west among the Indian tribes well before the flood of white settlers to these same lands. Because he was well acquainted with these people and the land, he eventually became a mythical sort of folk hero--one who never possibly could have done a tenth of the things they claimed he did! What he actually did was eventually go to work for the US government because he knew the tribes and he helped implement US policy--for good and for bad. In his day, most white folks saw this as a good thing--he helped open up the west for settlers. But I am sure he was widely reviled among natives, as he helped force some natives into reservations (where many starved) and even killed as he felt was necessary (such as with his brutal campaign against the Navaho). It was so odd--he was complicit with eliminating and subjugating many but also was a voice for their protection and preservation. All in all, a very interesting and complicated story about a man who is practically forgotten today--even though he was incredibly famous in his day.
By the way, early in the film they briefly talked about John Charles Frémont. It sure would be great to see a film about him and hope that "The American Experience" one day do this. Considering he was a famous explorer, the first Republican candidate for president and was the first Senator from and help organize California as a state, he sure had a big impact on his day. And, his failures (such as his record in the Civil War) would make an interesting contrast. I hope someone important reads this and considers such a film...
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