July 15, 2013

Alternative History: Looking at BBC Home Video's THE WILD WEST

(Special thanks to BBC Home Entertainment for providing a complimentary DVD for review. My opinions are my own)

(Courtesy BBC Home Entertainment)
Sometimes, you find an all-too-brief documentary series that you wish had been produced further - not only does it provide great insight, but it also enjoyable to watch.

The Wild West, a joint BBC/Discovery Channel co-production from 2011, is such a show. The DVD is very bare-bones, but the content - three episodes focusing on figures from American history - is fascinating.

The series focuses one episode apiece on three major Wild West figures - George Armstrong Custer, Billy the Kid, and Wyatt Earp. Part dramatization and part exploration, these three episodes reveal some of the truth behind the myth...and which is extremely fascinating. From the The Wild West provides some exceptional examples of how history can be explored without relying solely on either auctions or a purely "docudrama" approach.
(Courtesy BBC Home Entertainment)
factors that cost Custer Little Big Horn to rumors of Billy the Kid's "pardon" to the trial of Wyatt Earp,

And for those concerned about scenes being "dramatized", these are more to provide a context than to proclaim true historical accuracy....although for the segment on the shootout at the OK Corrall, actual trial transcripts were used).

It may not be a high profile release, but The Wild West is a pretty solid watch, and quite honestly, fans of Westerns and history will really enjoy this. It is available via a
(Courtesy BBC Home Entertainment)
variety of outlets, including BBC America's Online Store. It may only be three one-hour episodes, but this is definitely a "hidden treasure" for anyone interested in watching some great Westerns, looking at American history....or just some casual viewing which is both educational and enjoyable)

Very highly recommended.

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