This Weekend: Discover the Frontier on AMC’s The American West

The American West © AMC Film Holdings LLC. Credit: Lawrence French/Getty Images For AMC
The American West
Derek Chariton as Billy the Kid    Image credit: Michael Moriatis/AMC

AMC’s eight-part docudrama The American West premieres Saturday, and transports viewers to the wild and wonderful American frontier with a blend of dramatic reenactments and interviews with historians and Western movie notables. The series is executive produced by the award-winning Stephen David (The World Wars, The Men Who Built America) in association with Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions, and features interviews with actors whose work on Western films helped bring this era of American history to life. Some of the series’ famous faces include Redford, James Caan, Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon and Ed Harris.

In the post-Civil War period from 1865 to 1890, westward expansion — and the newly built railroads — brought wide-eyed settlers and legends such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull together under the same wide expanse of sky.And as the Western wilds were tamed, the transcontinental railroad further paved the way for westward expansion, and created new, booming economies.

It also allowed outlaws to boost their own economies. “The railroad was just on one track, and it was kinda stuck,” muses Redford, who starred as a train robber in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. “But [outlaws] had horses, so they could rob a train and … ride away.” It’s this deft interweaving of historical moments and intimate personal details of Western legends with the fascinating insights of the actors who portrayed these men who exemplify the time, the spirit and the history of America’s Western frontier.

Check out a clip from the series that explains how sex ruled the west

The American West > AMC > Saturdays at 10pm ET/9pm CT  beginning June 11


  1. Almost all of these supposed true stories of Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Billy the kid, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, George Custer have been altered so much that they are all but unrecognizable. Why Hollywood producers feel the need to change the truth over and over for movies is very confusing and completely frustrating. Especially when the truth is, on its own, more exciting and much more interesting in the first place. Shame on Robert Redford. I was expecting something so much better. Many people new to the history of our West will never know the truth if they base it on this sad series. This said, I did like some of the actors portraying our legends…good and believable acting. Good directing of these actors irregardless of it being true or not.

  2. I really was enjoying the american west series , but now that I see how you show how Billy the kid escaped from jail it is all wrong. The story is deputy belle was taking Billy to the privy and shot him on the stairwell. I saw the bullet hole personally , Billy shot ollenger from the second story window. If u are going to tell a story please tell it correctly.

  3. Saw the first episode. What a disgrace. Custer was indeed a controversial figure, but he was no buffoon, as he was presented to be by this show. It looks like more revisionist history Hollywood style. Much has been said about his conduct in this campaign, and the true historical record shows that what he did was pretty much ‘by the book’. Lots of myths exist about Custer. He had enormous respect for the Indians and their abilities. The conflict on the Plains between the Indians and the ‘whites’ was not the one sided slaughter or injustice that is all the vogue in describing today. I don’t have many expectations from anything involving Robert Redford, and this series appears to live down to those expectations so far. Too bad. REAL history is a great thing..

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