Synopsis by Steve Blackburn
The saddle tramp cowboy was made into a hero in large part by the movies. As early as 1903, Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery was helping to create a mystique about men who rode horses and wore that special type of hat. Although Westerns usually had little to do with historical reality, life began to imitate art, as cowboy movie heroes such as John Wayne became real-life role models. This is the eighth installment in the 13-volume American Documents documentary series, which presents United States history in an entertaining, yet well-researched manner. Highlights of this program include archival photographs and clips from various motion pictures. The documentary is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Ben Johnson, star of The Wild Bunch and The Last Picture Show, who was at one time being groomed to become the next John Wayne.
cowboy, hero, legend [fable]