I am a History Hitter — a subscriber to Dan Snow’s online streaming service History Hit, touted as “Netflix for history buffs.” It’s a cheap subscription for a lot of quality content, from documentaries to podcasts. I find them a fine way to wind down a day.
They just dropped a solid half-hour doco titled Buffalo Bill: The Man Behind the Legend.
William F. Cody did more than any other single individual to mythologize the “Wild West.” One of the most fascinating phenomena in my study of Frontier Partisan history is how self-consciously that mythologizing was undertaken, even as the frontier was being settled. Benjamin Church, for example, created his own legend, which was based on real exploits, but packaged for commercial consumption in the early 18th Century. Daniel Boone was elevated to near-mythic status during his own lifetime by Filson’s account of his life, which Boone reputedly pronounced (with tongue firmly in cheek):
“All true. Not a lie in it.”
There was never a time when you could entirely separate fact from folklore on the world’s frontiers. And, as Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone universe has demonstrated, we still long for that larger-than-life West.
Anyway, the doco is worth your time.
As is Ray Mears’ two-parter on the Roman invasions of Britain. I really like Ray Mears — bushcrafter, archaeologist, wilderness survival expert, and no-hype presenter.
Like the Frontier Partisans Patreon, History Hit costs little, and offers a way to support the creation of worthwhile historical content.
My co-conspirator in the promotion of folk music, Dick Sandvik, scouted up a young gun riding the modern Western music trail blazed by Ian Tyson.
Saving Country Music served up a strong review of Sam Munsick’s work:
You may recognize the last name of “Munsick,” even if you don’t recognize Sam. Sam’s brother Ian Munsick has been rising rapidly on the country music depth charts with his immediately-recognizable tenor voice, and from combining Western themes with more sensible and commercially-applicable songs. Ian Munsick’s collaboration with Cody Johnson on “Long Live Cowgirls” put him on the radar of many, and now he’s working with major label Warner Music Nashville.
That’s not exactly the direction his brother Sam Munsick goes on his new album Johnny Faraway. Instead of looking to crash into the mainstream, Sam is looking to strictly uphold the Western tradition in country. Instead of coming out on a major label, Johnny Faraway is self-released. Sam digs deep into the traditions of Western songwriting for a riveting and authentic experience that reminds listeners of some of the best of Ian Tyson, Don Edwards, and Corb Lund. It’s an old approach, but with new invigorated music.
Well, that got my attention. Here’s a couple of his songs:
The thing mythologizing the Frontier is that every so often what seems like an exaggeration turns out to be true. It was undoubtedly a hard life on the Frontier, but people sometimes do extraordinary things in hard times.
lane batot says
Speaking of “The American Experience”(as you were a few posts back….), the episode on Buffalo Bill is a good ‘un, I think. Recently re-watched that one, too!