Premieres include Custer’s Last Stand and Billy the Kid
The Real Story Behind the Wild West’s Most Notorious Heroes, Outlaws, Legends and Desperadoes
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, television’s most-watched history series and the recipient of 30 Emmy
Awards, will launch its 24th season on PBS in January 2012 with a month-long re-examination of some of
the most controversial and mythic figures of the Wild West. The western series begins with a new look at
Billy the Kid on January 10, 2012. Directed by John Maggio (The Lobotomist, Kinsey), Billy the Kid
reveals how a skinny Irish orphan boy from New York City became the most wanted man in the West.
Then, on January 17, 2012, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE premieres Custer’s Last Stand, an illuminating
new two-hour biography of one of the most celebrated and controversial icons of nineteenth-century
America, directed by Stephen Ives (The West, Seabiscuit).
“We’re thrilled to start our 24th season by presenting the real stories behind two of the most mythologized
figures of the American West,” says AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Executive Producer Mark Samels.
“While many of us have heard the phrase ‘Custer’s Last Stand,’ that watershed event can’t be truly
understood without really getting to the heart of who Custer was — a charismatic, complicated, flawed,
egotistical and brilliant general. His life and career provide a fascinating lens through which to examine the
story of America in the second half of the 19th century. And Billy the Kid may be the most fascinating and
enigmatic of all the Western icons. His life was so short and we know so little about him, which left lots of
room for the legends that were created about him. This new film reclaims Billy and explores his journey
from the slums of New York to the vastness of New Mexico, where he finds himself at the intersection of
three great worlds: the Mexican, the Native American, and the incoming Anglo world. As with Custer, we
dig deep to reveal who Billy really was and what he can tell us about the American West and ourselves.”
In addition to the premieres of Billy the Kid and Custer’s Last Stand, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will
present encore broadcasts of Wyatt Earp, Geronimo, Annie Oakley, and Jesse James.
Explore the vastness of the West and its people, places and history through the extensive resources on the
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE website. Features include photo galleries, interviews with filmmakers,
preview clips and a library of full-length streaming films (The Donner Party, Geronimo, We Shall Remain
and many more), at