the-american-west-episode-101-george-custer-800x600
Full Episode
26 days left

Season 1, Episode 1

America Divided

Jesse James forms a gang in order to ensure his family's survival. Custer looks for glory in the Indian wars. Crazy Horse fights back against the US.

Show Full Recap

Full Recap

At the end of the Civil War, Jesse James serves in a Southern guerilla military group known as Quantrill's Raiders. In a battle against Union soldiers, James is shot and captured. He’s forced, under torture, to swear an oath to the Union. After the surrender of the Confederacy, America is left shaken and still divided. Soldiers like James return home to the South, finding a wasteland.

For Jesse James, the only option to provide for his single mother is to rob and steal. Jesse and his brother, Frank, form a gang with other former Confederate guerilla fighters. Jesse fully embraces the life of an outlaw, stealing from the Union where he can.

In reaction to the outbreak of violence from Confederates like James, Commanding General of the U.S. Army, Ulysses S. Grant, sends troops to the South, which incites further riots from James and others like him.

Amidst the chaos, the U.S. government knows they must unite the country to avoid another Civil War, so they look to expand west by giving away land to the railroad companies, who in turn sell the lands to settlers. The only problem: The West is not empty. It’s occupied by numerous Native American tribes, like the Sioux, who aren’t willing to give up the land without a fight.

Lakota Sioux warrior Crazy Horse leads the resistance against the settlers and the U.S. Army. Crazy Horse has had a vision that he’ll always remain unharmed by his enemies and in a battle with U.S. forces. Emboldened by that vision, on Dec. 21, 1866, Crazy Horse employs a strategy called “Riding the Brave Line,” in which he rides alone to draw the U.S. troops’ fire, then the Sioux warriors surprise and attack U.S. forces while the soldiers are reloading their guns. Crazy Horse and the Sioux proceed to kill 100 soldiers and hand the U.S. Army a crushing defeat. In response, General Grant sends Civil War hero George A. Custer west to fight the Sioux on the Plains.

Meanwhile, Jesse James begins to go after Union wealth by robbing banks. But he’s unable to control his rage over the outcome of the war and kills a man he mistakes for a Union soldier during a botched robbery.

As the U.S. tries to avoid another war in the South, they may be starting a new one in the West, with the arrival of General Custer and his troops.