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Closed captioned for the hearing impaired. "Ken Burns presents The West, a film by Stephen Ives"--Container Executive producer, Ken Burns; producers, Stephen Ives, Jody Abramson, Michael Kantor; writers, Geoffrey C. Ward, Dayton Duncan; photography, Buddy Squires, Allen Moore; editor, Richard Hankin; supervising editor, Paul Barnes; narrator, Peter Coyote; music, Matthias Gohl; consultant, Geoffrey C. Ward. Originally produced as a TV series by WETA-TV, Washington, D.C. VHS Historical TV documentary series.

To the original Native American inhabitants, the West has been a land of myth. To the Europeans, such as Cabeza de Vaca and Coronado, the West was a "wilderness" to be conquered. Nearly 100 years before the American Revolution, the Pueblo people of the Southwest rose up against their European masters and drove the Spanish from their lands. Then, with America's purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1804, Lewis and Clark set off to find the fabled Northwest Passage, as a confident young nation prepared for its own epic march across the West.