tv Legends Lies The Real West FOX News May 17, 2015 12:00am-1:01am PDT
bill o'reilly's "legends & lies" starts now. news is the first draft of history. it is immediate and takes place in realtime. legends take longer to develop and are sometimes based on myth. this fox news series looks at the truth behind the legend. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. do you think mr. crockett will be making it today? i don't think so. it will be just like last money. i am going to win. spent too much time in the woods and not enough time amongst
civilized human beings. is that davy crockett? >> you should read all day long about the people if you still don't know how to be with the people. you're just a punk. that is slander. >> you tell him! >> fitzgerald, you called me a liar. any man that calls me a liar is going to get a beating. >> he's got a gun! [ laughter ] >> oh, don't worry, folks. he's harmless. >> ladies and gentlemen, the famous david crockett.
into a new frontier. they would shape a nation, they hold the destiny and birth a new mythology. but with the passing of time, every myth has its reckoning. david stern crockett, a true frontiersman. but behind every hero stands a man and behind every legend lies the truth. >> the legend of david crockett is that of a folk hero of the western frontier. a wild man who wrestles bears and kills indians. but the truth is, david crockett is no simple. he's an ambitious man with political aspirations that take him to the nation's capital where he serves his country as the united states congressman. >> wild, untamed, the tennessee frontier is beyond the reach of all but the bravest and hardest of men.
frontiersmen, daring, a adventurous and bold. >> i knew that bear wanted to hug me. so i recon here's the chance. >> why did you put down your rifle? >> shoot, corners too close for old betsy. plus, i just do it with a knife. >> it was here that i began to distinguish myself as a hunter. and to lay the foundation for my future greatness. >> now, another time when i was just a cub, i can recall --
>> he's a jokester and remarkably funny and he's affable. people like him. >> 6 or 7 by the creek running into another bear. >> well, tennessee at the time was still the american frontier. you've got wild animals, you've got fights and it was in this world where there's no kind of solid, established law that david crockett begins the process of becoming the myth. >> david crockett, a third generation frontiersman after the signing of the declaration of independence. >> john crockett is what is called an over mountain man. they oppose british rule and come east to join their fellow americans to fight in the revolutionary war.
with such a father, it's no surprise that david crockett becomes an american patriot. >> here, boy. gather up this wood here and take it on into the house. contrary to legend, david crockett never goes by davy. even as a child he prefers david, a name given to him in honor of his grandfather who was killed by indians. >> frontier life is a constant struggle and the family farm bankrupts the crocketts. to pay his debts, john is forced to make a difficult decision. >> well, here's my boy. his name is david. >> shake his hand, boy. >> davy crockett becomes a form
of an endangered servicemen to pay off a debt. this had a significant impact on crockett. >> we shouldn't, as modern people, judge john crockett too harshly. the role of children in the early 19th century was vastly different than it is now. >> the work is grueling but david makes the best of a difficult situation. he knows education is his best shot at escaping poverty and later trades more work on the farm to pay for basic tutoring. >> get back to work. >> that's the only education that crockett only had but in that time, he says, i learned how to read, i learned how to write and i learned how to sif
officer. >> after a year working off his family's debt, david is finally granted his freedom and continues a practical education that will catapult him to great notoriety. >> it's time for to you become a man. >> it's a rite of passage, a tool men use to protect, a symbol of independence and freedom. one crockett grows to cherish. >> crockett would not have been anything without the tennessee [ inaudible ].. [ inaudible ]. it's not a military weapon. it is designed as a hunting weapon. >> crockett's reputation on the
frontier as a skilled hunter with deadly aim earns him more than just admiration from his fellow riflesmen. >> he was intense see loyal. he would always share his meat with those in need. >> in 1886, david marries a girl called poly finley. but like his father, crockett struggles to feed his family. >> i found out that farming wasn't cracked up what it was to be. it was therefore more necessary for me to hunt to get along. >> david is not only esteemed among the other hunters of the region, he's putting money in his pocket and food on the table. >> crockett trades on his hunting skills, keeping his family fed and out of debt. he now has status and
respectability and a life worth fighting for. >> now, one time in the dead of winter, i almost froze. >> crockett! out alabama way, 500 are dead. >> the creeks. >> during the war of 1812, creek indians attack fort mimms. the massacre leaves 500 men, women and children dead. many of them trapped and burned alive. >> if every man waited for his wife to be willing for him to go to war, we'd all be killed in our homes. >> david crockett has found his call to glory. but to answer it, he must risk his life and leave his family alone on the frontier.
>> all right, son. >> this is what men do at the time. this is how army's are built. your wife, your children, your farm, your life all become secondary. the call to duty comes first. >> the call to war sets crockett's life on a course that crockett's life on a course that mr. auto-mo-deal!s! hey, it's the wheel deal! hey, hey, the duke of deals! i know a few guys in the rental car biz. let's go, 'wheels'. rental car deals up to 40% off.
by 1812, america has been a sovereign nation for more than 30 years. but the creek nation, alive with the british, attacks the newly united states over unclaimed land. fighting breaks out on the frontier and spreads throughout alabama, tennessee's neighbor to the south. >> in 1813, the creek indian tribe was supplied with the firearms and gunpowder from the british to help them in the war of 1812 to try to defeat the americas. 300 settlers and approximately
250 militia were all herded together in fort mims and massacred by the creeks. >> crockett hunts down the creeks. >> these are the people who murdered his grandparents. these are the people who forced crockett to leave a loving wife and family. now we have david crockett, the soldier, for the first time in his life. >> leading the militia and advancing on the creeks is a man known for being as ambitious as he is arrogant. general andrew jackson. >> david crockett is serving under jackson.
there were atrocities under jackson's orders against the creek people. >> jackson orders a surprise attack on the creek town but experiencing the brutal teas of war first dls hand has an unexpected effect on crockett. >> crockett, he was pretty trauma advertised by some of the events in the creek war. he was not a killer. he wasn't a violent person. >> unlike the general he serves under, he recognizes the humanity of the impressive creek warriors. he admires their strength in battle and their courage in the face of death. >> the legend of david crockett is that he's taming the frontier with heroics and battles but the truth is kills when he has to. crockett has more in common with native-american warriors than he
does with most military men. >> andrew jackson's militia engages in another battle. but when hundreds of creek escape, jackson is enraged. he's determined to destroy his enemy. no matter the cost to his men. >> jackson kept on pushing him and pushing him to the point where they ran out of supplies. >> if we were actually to apply the rules of war to andrew jackson's campaign, he would probably be considered a war criminal. >> the question permission to leave to get food and other needs. >> we don't have the time to get anything, scout. >> sir, the men --
>> dismissed. >> andrew jackson called up the militia and says, guys, it's going to be rough. we're going to go hungry some days. if anybody desserts, i'm going to prescribe the penalty for that, which is death by firing squad. >> how you boys doing? >> crockett and a number of others decide, what the hell, man, we've got to get some supplies here. so in didefiance of jackson's order, they get supplies. >> we had our plans already picked and guns already primed. that if we were fired upon, we would fight our way through or
all die together. >> as your commanding officer, i order you to return to camp. first, be sure that you write and then go the hill ahead. >> you volunteer, go out and fight and at your pleasure you volunteer to go home again. i volunteer to do for your men what you will not. >> even as a volunteer, crockett risks being court-martialed.
still, he takes the 500-mile round trip journey to winchester and back and returns with supplies and food. >> here you go, boys. >> crockett took credit of being one of the volunteers who ignored jackson's order for them to stay in camp. historians disagree on this. i doubt if he would put something in his autobiography that others could have read and known that it was false. >> his unit and jackson's part ways. there is no record of crockett being charged with desertion. the war has changed the country and the man. crockett returns to a life that will never be the same. polly, his wife and mother of three, is near death with an
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the war of 1812 is over in march of 1815 after a treaty is signed between america and the british. upon his return, crockett finds his young wife polly on her death bed. within month, she is gone. >> death entered my home and tore from my children an affectionate and good mother and took from me a tender and loving wife. >> crockett struggles after polly's death and sets out as a widower to forge a new life for him and his children but before long crockett is presented with an unusual opportunity. >> america is changing as the war of 1812 comes to an end. self-made men like david crockett enter politics and appear to the public more than traditional money candidates.
crockett sz reputation as a frontiersmen and soldier make him an outstanding candidate. >> hey, young man. you going to go hunting with me one of these days? >> a successful career in politics is unlikely for a widow we are and three kids. fate lands a hand when he meets and soon marries elizabeth patton, a widow with two small children of her own. >> may i ask you where you come from? >> right here. >> elizabeth lost her husband in the creek war. she has a substantial, more than enough to finance her new husband's political career. crockett's first campaign is against a local militia captain for the office of lieutenant colonel. >> i'm captain matthews and with my experience, the great state of tennessee can only benefit from my knowledge of the int tra
sees of politics. >> intrakra sees of politics? i think these people need to be better served by somebody of their own kind. >> yeah! >> it's hot as blazes out here. i bet you all are thirsty. >> yeah! >> i hope i get you. >> david falls in love with politics and introduces a new style of campaigning. >> you've got my vote. >> yes, sir, good. >> one that includes whiskey drinking and story telling. david crockett was a politician, the frontiersmen was part of his image making campaign in order to get elected from a population who did not want to hear from the old-time politicians. >> after dab belg in local politics, crockett makes a bid for a seat in the tennessee legislature. as he builds momentum, his
detractors begin mocking him in the press, referring to him as the gentleman from the cane. >> the phrase, gentleman from the cane, referred to the unexplored areas where crockett lived and it's con trued as redneck or backwoodsmen. >> before long, his support of local farmers puts him at odds with james mitchell, a prominent lawyer. >> this bill will not work. it will not be agriculturely productive and that, my esteemed colleagues is why we will not count this motion, no matter how much the assemblyman crockett claims, it will be a boom to local farmers. >> i recon i'd like to rebut you, mitchell.
>> i don't have the words and i would still like to say my own peace. my fellow colleagues, we will not, we cannot, we shall not countenance this motion. did i offend your delicate sensibilities, mister? >> david crockett becomes the voice of the struggling classes, labors, tradesmen, pioneers and farmers, those building america into the powerhouse it is becoming. but in the process, he's criticizing the democrats, including andrew jackson's inner circle. >> as it turned out, crockett wasn't trying to criticize jackson but jackson took it so
personally, he said, i'm going to crush this little pepsqueak. >> crockett's growing prop layer tea puts him at odds with the party leadership. andrew jackson, now the presidential democratic front-runner, has his old scout in his sights. >> andrew jackson was once involved in a duel. someone had insulted him. he went into that duel determined to not only hit his opponent but kill his opponent. if jackson told you he was going to kill, you best get your affairs in order. >> so jackson and the democrats see trouble on the horizon. dave crockett was on the higher office and really caused this trouble in the future. all right. we've got to par him now.
after losing his first run for congress, david crockett heads home looking for work. andrew jackson, known as old hickory for his toughness, is rising through the senate on his way to the white house. desperate to climb out of debt and finance his next campaign, crockett takes on a risky business venture. while transporting his goods, a boating accident costs him a fortune in inventory. and almost his life.
>> david crockett? >> yeah, i tried to bring some -- but i ain't never been on that river. >> now don't you worry about that, mr. crockett. somebody get him a blanket. >> after barely making it to shore, he meets a wealthy businessman from memphis named marcus winchester. with the help of winchester's financial backing, a group opposed to the democrats decides crockett is their man to go to washington and help them to throw andrew jackson. crockett accepts their offer. the group eventually forms the wig party. >> ladies and gentlemen, one time i faced off with a mountain lion with a water mock ka sin crawling up my leg, i had to choose which one was the threat and i had to go after him first.
today, that threat is old hickory. >> crockett has made a remarkable journey, from bound boy to the united states congress and now with his eyes on the white house, he wastes no time ruffling feathers. >> andrew jackson has a near singular focus, passing the indian removal act, which will relocate numerous native-american tribes to greater west. even though it will benefit his constituency, david crockett has strong moral objections to forcing native people from their ancestoral lands. >> i move to provide the removal of any native americans west of the mississippi, how do you vote?
>> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye for an eye. >> mr. crockett? >> nay! >> given his history with the indians, it is remarkable that he had the humanity in him to be their defender, to go up against andrew jackson. >> crockett's voice infuriates the jackson dems who, once again, target his campaign. >> william fitzgerald was a candidate hand picked to bring down crockett and, ironically, he used some of the same folksy down-home tactics that crockett had mastered against him successfully which annoyed crockett. >> any man that calls me a liar is going to get a beating.
>> i think you might want to take a step back, congressman crockett. >> crockett's refusal to stand up to fitzgerald leaves voters confused. their disappointment shows at the ballot box. >> ladies and gentlemen, the famous david crockett. >> crockett bounces in and out of congress for the next four years. after losing one final election, he begins to look elsewhere for opportunity. the republic of texas has become the new land of promise. americans move southwest staking claim to rich mexican soil in texas. ousted politicians like sam houston make the new republic an opportunity to revive their political ambitions. >> i'd rather be beaten and be a
man than to be elected and be a little puppy dog. since you have chosen to elect a man to succeed me, you may all go to hell. i'm going to texas. >> crockett, the politician, is defeated and disillusioned but crockett the frontiersman is looking for a fresh new start. crockett sets out looking for a new family home. >> crockett, he's this politician, he's got no kind of political future, as far as he can see in tennessee, and so where the hell can he get elected to office? well, texas is a possibility. >> my dear son and daughter, this is the first time i've had an opportunity to write to you with convenience. i've got through safe and have been received by everybody with an open arm of friendship.
>> the texans were essentially the anglo settlers and started coming in the last days of the spanish regime and the first days of the new mexican republic. these guys were coming to texas in order to make texas into a new america. >> but mexico and general santa ana stand in the way. crockett meets with an old friend from his washington days, sam houston, commander of the texan army. >> politics, did that. this is war. i've selected 65 excellent rifl riflemen. i want you to reinforce the garrison there and hold it. what do you say?
in 1836, victory over mexico feels close at hand for the men fighting for a sovereigned texas. only months before david crockett arrives from san antonio, soldiers drive out mexican troops seizing control of the former mission now a military fortress called the alamo. >> for the texans, there's lots and lots of guns. >> but for the mexican military, the alamo represents something very different. general santa ana is the supreme
commander of the mexican army known as the napoleon of the west. the general is enraged when he receives word that the texans have taken over el alamo. >> state your business. >> we're here to fight for the republic of texas. >> open the gates up. >> santa ana is determined to take back what belongs to mexico and he sees only one way to do it. >> if you're going to teach these texans a lesson, you need to teach them at the alamo. >> numerous women and children as well as soldiers are hunkered inside the walls of the alamo. crockett takes his place as the private under two men. >> you have travis in charge of the texas regulars and then you
have jim in charge of the volunteers. >> they are expecting a fight at the alamo, they just don't expect it this soon. at the time, texas is in turmoil with pockets breaking out across the country believing santa ana has their hands full, they do not suspect be a immediate threat. of course, they couldn't be more wrong. >> santana is advancing north. >> we're going to need a whole lot of reinforcements. >> travis gets the message and he discounts this information. travis doesn't expect the
mexicans to show up until spring and he's got people like crockett and his rifle. >> well aware of the advancing mexican army, crockett has a small window to escape. but he has no intention of retreating. >> when this war is won and texas has achieved their independence, these people are going to need a strong leader. and i intend to give them what they need. . >> for weeks, he has been assemblies an army of nearly 2,000 soldiers. on february 23rd, 1836, general santa ana begin surrounding the alamo. >> erases a black flag of no
text yance >> march 5th, 1836, davy crockett and 200 texians are under siege at the alamo. they fight off a steady barrage of gun fire, starving, sleep deprived and out numbered more than 10-1 they refuse to surrender and are prepared to fight until death. santa ana informs his men that they will storm the alamo in the morning. >> he was willing to stand a politic -- send a political mes to the united states and to the people of mexico using the blood of his men as the ink for this message. >> he had some special salts that came up. these guys came in determined to
>> there are approximately 25 different accounts of how crockett died at the alamo. there's no way to know, because there are no credible witnesses to it. all i can tell you is crockett became a texas icon by dying. he was only in texas for two months before he met his death at the alamo. >> of all of the accomplishments in his 49 years it is his death at the alamo that secures the myth of davy crockett. >> in the days leading up to the siege at the ago mow davy crockett is free to leave. instead he chooses to fight for the liberation of texas, rather than retreat as a coward he fights living up to an image
created the popular culture of his time. >> in death davy crockett breaking tonight, a daring raid in syria killing a senior isis commander. hello, and welcome to "justice." thanks for being with us. defense secretary ashton carter announced the raid that killd the oil and financial operation, u.s. forces also captured his wife. my exclusive with a former commander of the elite delta force in just a few moments. but, first, a fox news correspondent with the latest.