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Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997)

The story of the most important American exploration expedition in American history and the participants in it.


Ken Burns


Ken Burns (book), Dayton Duncan (book) | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
John Logan Allen John Logan Allen ... Self - Geographer
Stephen Ambrose Stephen Ambrose ... Self - Historian (as Stephen E. Ambrose)
Adam Arkin ... Merriwether Lewis (voice)
Gerard Baker Gerard Baker ... Self - Mandan-Hidatsa
Matthew Broderick ... John Ordway (voice)
Tantoo Cardinal ... (voice)
Tim Clark Tim Clark ... (voice)
Kevin Conway ... Patrick Gass (voice)
Dayton Duncan Dayton Duncan ... Self - Writer
Erica Funkhouser Erica Funkhouser ... Self - Writer
Murphy Guyer ... William Clark (voice)
Ken Little Hawk Ken Little Hawk ... (voice)
William Least Heat-Moon William Least Heat-Moon ... Self - Writer
Hal Holbrook ... Narrator (voice)
Gene Jones ... Joseph Whitehouse (voice)


This film documents the exploration expedition led by Meriwether Lewis William Clark into the interior of North America in the early 19th century. We follow the Corps of Discovery as they winded their way across the unknown territory gained in the Louisana Purchase by the United States in their futile search for the legendary Northwest Passage. Along the way, they discovered wonderous new things as they depended on the aid of Native Americans like their adept guide, Sacagawea, as they conducted the most important exploration mission in American history. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

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Did You Know?


Due to numerous inconsistencies, oddities and lack of hard facts and evidence, the death of Meriwether Lewis became, in time, a topic of great discussion, wild speculation and genuine controversy as more and more people including some historians began to favor the idea that he was in fact murdered. Examples of this discussion can be found in pop culture as well. For instance, in one of the first chapters of The Secret History of Twin Peaks, a companion book to the television series Twin Peaks, it's theorized in great semi-fictional detail, some of it based on actual historical facts, that the man behind the conspiracy to murder Meriwether Lewis was none other than General James Wilkinson, commander of the U.S. army during the first three American Presidents who was discovered after his death to have been a spy for the Spanish Crown. He was also the first Governor of Louisiana Territory until Lewis took over this duty. The book suggests that Lewis had evidence against Wilkinson and that this was the real reason why he had decided to personally travel to Washington by horse in 1809. After Lewis' tragic demise, Wilkinson's men including Major James Neely, Lewis' shady companion during the final leg of his journey, covered up all evidence of murder, took most of Lewis' valuable belongings and incriminating evidence and paid off the owners of the cabin where Lewis had died to keep quiet and repeat the agreed cover story of suicide if anyone ever asks them about it. See more »


Himself - Historian: It's a great story. it's a human story. It's the story of those who went first. They were first. They led the way. They opened the trail.
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Cheyenne Eyes
Written and performed by Gary Stroutsos, Epamindondas Trimis, Joseph Fire Crow
From "Winds of Honor"
Courtesy of Makoche Music/BMI
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User Reviews

Can't get past the awful music
2 February 2019 | by suzysasseSee all my reviews

This is what we would now all call a typically enjoyable film by Ken Burns, if one could only get past the gawdawful music accompaniment.

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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

4 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Льюис и Кларк: Путешествие трупов с Дискавери See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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