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History made entertaining
A superb, entertaining series that is well written and includes believable, detailed reenactments with insightful commentary by several historians. Actor Brian Dennehey is well used as the series narrator (his actor son even appears in one of the segments). Especially well done are the Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickock segments. The versatile New Mexico locale where the series was shot is used creatively by the director for the various reenactments that took place all across the west--the New Mexico desert substitutes for Tombstone, Arizona; a New Mexico aspen forest is the setting for a Wyoming train robbery by the Wild Bunch, etc. This is probably the best researched documentary series about the 19th century American frontier in the past 20 years. Thankfully, this is a return to meat-and-potatoes television documentaries and it mercifully lacks the depressing white guilt and introspective gloom of the vastly overrated PBS- TV documentary "The West" directed by filmmaker Rick Burns. Instead, this series celebrates the American West and its people; it's unafraid to find the frontier spirit in America's splendid past of reckless, lawless freedom. As an aside, the program's bad-boy country-rock theme music is perfect at setting the series' tone.
- Feb 8, 2007
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