Nathan Stevens as Robert Ford, David H. Stevens as Jesse James, Samuel Dunning as Charley Ford - The American West _ Season 1, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Michael Moriatis/AMC

Season 1, Episode 8

The Last Vendetta

Wyatt Earp abandons the law in search of justice. Jesse James is confronted by the Ford brothers. Sitting Bull is accused of inciting rebellion.

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Full Recap

In Tombstone, Arizona, Wyatt Earp, his brothers and Doc Holliday face off against Ike Clanton's gang at the O.K. Corral. In a matter of 30 seconds, 30 rounds are fired, killing three of Clanton's cowboys and wounding Holliday and both of Wyatt's brothers, Morgan and Virgil. Clanton is also wounded, but escapes. Only Wyatt Earp emerges unscathed.

Clanton brings up charges of murder against the Earps and Holliday. Though the charges are dropped, Wyatt's image is forever damaged.

Months after the O.K. Corral, the Earp brothers try to move on with their lives. But Clanton won't let the feud go. Clanton's men murder Morgan and cripple Virgil in retaliation for their men who died at the O.K. Corral. Earp feels like the law has failed and plans to take matters into his own hands. He and Doc Holliday form a posse and hunt down Morgan's killers one by one, blurring the line between lawman and outlaw.

In Missouri, Jesse James has rekindled his reputation as a fearsome outlaw with the help of Charley and Robert Ford. But Robert, fearful that he and his brother are in danger as long as they run with Jesse, cuts a deal with Governor Thomas Crittenden to betray James and collect a $10,000 bounty.

When the opportunity comes, Ford shoots Jesse in the back of the head. Three days after his death, more than 2,000 Americans flock to Clay County, Mo. for a final glimpse of the legend.

Back in Arizona, Wyatt Earp and his posse execute more of the men responsible for his brother's murder. Fed up, authorities in Tombstone form their own posse to arrest Earp.

Now a fugitive, Earp gives up on his hunt for Clanton, disbands his posse, and escapes Arizona. His reputation in shambles, he fades from the public eye.

Meanwhile, after touring America with Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull is disheartened by what he sees throughout the country and returns to the reservation. Upon arriving, he finds a new movement has taken hold among the Lakota Sioux: ghost dance. The Lakota believe they can use the ritual to make time go backward and restore the land to Sioux control. But as the movement gains momentum, the U.S. Government becomes fearful of its consequences. Unable to find the ghost dance leaders, 40 armed men are sent to arrest Sitting Bull.

When the attempt to arrest the Sioux leader goes horribly awry, Sitting Bull is killed. In the wake of Sitting Bull's murder, his followers flee the reservation and set up camp at Wounded Knee. The U.S. Army marches on Wounded Knee, where they massacre 200 men, women and children.

With the Native American population cut in half and outlaws like Billy the Kid and Jesse James dead, the Government frees up 1.9 million acres of former Native American territory in Oklahoma. Within hours, 50,000 settlers arrive in what is known as the Oklahoma Land Rush. The West is settled. The American Frontier is officially declared closed.

Decades after fleeing Arizona, Earp emerges in Hollywood as a consultant in the motion picture industry. He inspires the Western genre and actors including John Wayne, helping to shape the American identity.