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Ray Mears looks at how the landscapes of America's five great deserts, from the Great Basin desert to Arizona's Sonoran desert, challenged the westward push of the pioneers.

Ray Mears looks at how the landscapes of America's five great deserts challenged the westward push of the early pioneers.

As Ray travels through the cold high mountain Great Basin desert and the hot Sonoran desert of southern Arizona, he discovers how their hostile geography and rich geology shaped the stories of fortune hunting and lawlessness in the Wild West, and were the setting for the last wars between the US Army and the Apache warrior tribes.

Ray's journey begins in Monument Valley, whose dramatic desert landscape has become synonymous with the Wild West years. He explores how plants and animals survive in this waterless climate and how the Navajo Indian people adapted to the conditions. In Tucson, he meets up with desert coroners Bruce Anderson and Robin Reineke, who show him how the desert still kills people today.

He explores how the Apache adapted their warfare methods to the desert and how the US cavalry struggled in the hot arid landscape. In Tombstone, he gets to grips with the myths around lawmakers and lawlessness and how it flourished in the remote desert regions of the Old West. He discovers how this forbidding landscape was the perfect refuge for bandits and pursues the outlaw trail to Butch Cassidy's hideout at Robber's Roost. His journey ends with the story of Geronimo's surrender which marked the end of the Indian Wars, and of the Old West.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 27 Sep 2018 02:30

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Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Ray Mears
Producer Phil Coles
Producer Beth Sowersby
Executive Producer Andrea Cornes

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