User Review: The American West

This month RLJ entertainment releases the 8 episode factual docudrama of The American West. The series recently aired on Foxtel’s History Channel and now it’s available to own on DVD.


The American West will take you back to the violent world of cowboys, outlaws, gunslingers and Native Americans. Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, General Custer, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse; they are all household names and this series chronicles their personal and little-known stories. These men were the first to live and die for the American dream and their legends live on.

Robert Redford is the executive producer of the series and his knowledge and passion for the period is apparent throughout every episode.

The American West also features appearances from Ed Harris, James Caan, Kris Kristofferson, Mark Harmon, Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds and Keifer Sutherland; all of whom have starred in great western movies immortalising these legends of the American West.

Thanks to RLJ Entertainment we were able to get a copy of the DVD to five of our Beauty and Lace Club members to review. I look forward to hearing what they think in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “User Review: The American West

  1. As hubby and I both love watching the old westerns I was excited to be chosen to review “The American West” 2 disc set. Produced by Robert Redford and starring some big names including Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds and Kiefer Sutherland it is set after the Civil War and is a great account of “How the West was Won.”
    The mini-series showcases some of the most famous figures and events including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, George Armstrong Custer, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull. It ends with a surprising connection between Wyatt Earp and John Wayne.
    The recreations are perfectly made for a TV production. Whilst the actors playing the historical figures are not very famous the series also uses historians and famous actors as talking heads to explain the significance of the events. It definitely has some educational values to it and I loved how it placed the stories in chronological order enabling me to place all those old western movies I’ve seen over the years into some perspective.
    Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it for Sunday afternoon viewing!

  2. Wow, this DVD was absolutely brilliantly scripted and so interesting. My husband and I grew up in the days of watching movies of cowboys, Indians and outlaws. Yes we have heard of all the names but this DVD consists of 2 Discs which take you on such an enthralling ride. We watched it over 2 days as it takes 6 hours to watch it. It has alot of strong violence so it is restricted to a 15+ age group.

    The American West DVD takes us during and after the Civil War. It’s not a movie that you are watching, it is like a documentary of stories but unknown actors play the parts of the outlaws and Indians. Each actor that played the part of the outlaw portrayed that person very well. Throughout watching the outlaw’s stories, Robert Redford who is the Executive Producer for this DVD also narrates throughout the two discs following all the outlaws consisting of Jesse James, Billy The Kid, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, General Custer and Wyatt Earp.

    We also see others giving their view on the outlaws like Historians, Curators, Authors and we also get to see actors who have actually been in western movies commenting like Tom Selleck, Keiffer Sutherland and Danny Glover. It has been fabulously written and you learn more about America with the stories.

    My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed watching these DVDs. We have had visitors come over and seen the cover and say “That looks interesting”. We say IT IS.

    Alot of these outlaws although killed and robbed people, some would be known as legends in the American West.

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching and definitely would recommend others to watch. It is fascinating and interesting to know that little bit more that maybe you do not know about The American West.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and of course RLJ for giving me the opportunity of watching this fantastic DVD.

  3. I haven’t had a chance to watch all the episodes yet, but am really enjoying what I have seen so far. Sat down and started watching it with my son, explaining some family history as we watched ( I had a great grandfather and great uncle who left Ireland and travelled to America – uncle apparently headed out west and was shot to death in a “dodgy” card game).
    I found it interesting learning some of the history behind the well known names, eg: Jesse James – understanding how his upbringing and involvement in the Civil War would have contributed into shaping him into the person he became.
    It appears to be a well researched documentary into the lives and stories of some of the well known figures from this time in USA’s history and I’m looking forward to seeing the remainder.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for opportunity to view these DVD’s.

  4. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The American West, but I was pleasantly surprised. Part history doco, part drama, The American West has a bit of everything for those interested in the “Cowboys & Indians” era of American folklore.

    Hosted by the famous Robert Redford (who has a very comprehensive knowledge of the subject), I was intrigued to discover some little known tidbits of the Jesse James stories & was impressed with the quality of the actors (we are talking Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds & James Caan to name just a few!).

    As this is MA15+ rated I wouldn’t recommend it for kids but older teenagers might appreciate the blood & guts aspect of the wild west! This would be a great gift for Dads/Granddads or really just anyone interested in the American Wild West & the history of it told in an interesting & dramatic way.

  5. What a terrific DVD! My husband and I sat down and actually polished this off in one weekend and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.
    I sadly admit I actually had no knowledge of any of the stories, I had heard of most of the names but never knew what the significance was behind the names, even to not realising that some were real people! This made the stories even more interesting and I just couldn’t believe what some of these men achieved. My heart broke over how the Indians were treated and it was infuriating to see how lawless these times were. I did love the surprising little ending of the connection between Wyatt Earp and John Wayne – what a great little titbit!
    Robert Redford is the executive producer and speaks throughout the stories and is so passionate about this period of time, it was incredibly inspiring. I really enjoyed having so many famous (and favourite!) actors speak throughout as well, it added to the interest and we both thought the whole series was really well put together, educational, interesting and just great viewing. How cool would it be to learn history like this at school!
    Thoroughly recommend this to any and all people (it does have some good blood and guts though so keep it for over 15’s) and the only downside was hubby and I found it a little annoying how it would sort of stop and start again obviously where commercials would have been due to it being made for TV. Not a biggie though.
    Thanks so much for allowing me to view this, truly enjoyed it and am keen to find out more now, never would have thought it!

  6. An interesting series; however, the fact that John Tunstall was a Londoner and was only 24 should have been mentioned.

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