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American Experience

Season 24 2012

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  • 2012-01-11T02:00:00Z on PBS
  • 55 mins
  • 14 hours, 10 mins (13 episodes)
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary, History
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14 episodes

24x01 Billy the Kid

  • Season Premiere

    2012-01-11T02:00:00Z — 52 mins

A fascinating look at the myth and the man behind it, who, in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan boy to the most feared man in the West and an enduring western icon.

24x02 Custer's Last Stand

  • 2012-01-18T02:00:00Z — 112 mins

A profile of Gen. George Armstrong Custer (1839-76), nicknamed "the boy general" for his Civil War exploits, who died with many other members of the 7th Cavalry while battling the Cheyenne and Lakota along the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory. The documentary details his time at West Point, where he became infamous for his rebellious nature; his relationship with his wife Libbie; his year-long suspension from the service; and the campaign against the Cheyenne that led to his death.

24x03 Clinton (1): The Comeback Kid

  • 2012-02-21T02:00:00Z — 55 mins

Part 1 of a two-part profile of former president Bill Clinton charts his path from Hope, Ark., to Washington, D.C., ending midway through his first term when the GOP, led by Newt Gingrich, took control of the House of Representatives and Senate. The documentary details the scandals and setbacks that Clinton weathered to that point; and features remarks from such Clinton associates as Harold Ickes, Dick Morris, Mike McCurry, Dee Dee Myers, Robert Reich and Betsey Wright.

Hour 2 chronicles the tumultuous first two years of the Clinton presidency, years that see the beginning of the Whitewater scandal, the shocking death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster and the humiliating defeat of Hillary's healthcare bill.

24x05 Clinton (3): A Real President

  • 2012-02-22T02:00:00Z — 112 mins

Clinton wins the 1996 election in a landslide, pulling off one of the greatest turnarounds in political history. But events have been set in motion that will soon divide the country and nearly destroy Clinton's presidency.

24x06 Clinton (4): The Survivor

  • 2012-02-22T02:00:00Z — 82 mins

The conclusion of the Bill Clinton biography recalls the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which led to Clinton becoming the second U.S. president to be impeached. It also details his face-off over the federal budget with Newt Gingrich, whose refusal to compromise led to a government shutdown, and successful 1996 reelection campaign. Among those commenting: Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr; Paula Jones' attorney James Fisher; and White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum.

24x07 The Amish

  • 2012-02-29T02:00:00Z — 52 mins

The first documentary to deeply penetrate and explore this profoundly attention-averse group, The Amish answers many questions Americans have about this insistently insular religious community, whose intense faith and adherence to 500-year-old traditions have by turns captivated and repelled, awed and irritated, inspired and confused for more than a century.

24x08 Grand Coulee Dam

  • 2012-04-11T01:00:00Z — 55 mins

Featuring the men and women who lived and worked at Grand Coulee in the wake of the Great Depression and the Native people whose lives were changed alongside historians and engineers, this film explores how the tension between technological achievement and environmental impact hangs over the project's legacy.

24x09 Jesse Owens

  • 2012-05-02T01:00:00Z — 55 mins

Despite Jesse Owens' remarkable victories in the face of Nazi racism at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the athlete struggled to find a place for himself in a United States that was still wrestling to overcome its own deeply entrenched bias.

24x10 Death and the Civil War

  • 2012-09-19T01:00:00Z — 55 mins

With the coming of the Civil War, and the staggering casualties it ushered in, death entered the experience of the American people as it never had before -- permanently altering the character of the republic and the psyche of the American people. Contending with death on an unprecedented scale posed challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began. Americans worked to improvise new solutions, new institutions, and new ways of coping with death on an unimaginable scale.

Examine the forces leading to war and to the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

24x12 Henry Ford

  • 2013-01-29T05:00:00Z — 55 mins

An absorbing life story of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century, Henry Ford offers an incisive look at the birth of the American auto industry with its long history of struggles between labor and management, and a thought-provoking reminder of how Ford's automobile forever changed the way we work, where we live, and our ideas about individuality, freedom, and possibility.

24x13 Silicon Valley

  • 2013-02-05T05:00:00Z — 55 mins

Led by physicist Robert Noyce, Fairchild Semiconductor began as a start-up company whose radical innovations would help make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, changing the way the world works, plays, and communicates. Noyce's invention of the microchip ultimately re-shaped the future, launching the world into the Information Age.


  • no air date — 55 mins
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