In an ongoing effort to offer insight into the Western Lifestyle, we are compiling a library of well-made, compelling documentaries.  Keep coming back here as titles will hopefully remain and new documentaries will be added.

The Great Western Trail Celebration

Year Published: 2019

Run Time: 1:26:17

Color / Sound

Michael Martin Murphey joined his pals Andy Hedges and Waddie Mitchell at this year’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to celebrate The Great Western Trail.  Running parallel to the old Chisholm Trail, cowboys drove herds on the Western Trail from Texas to rail yards in Kansas and Nebraska and north to Canada.  Joining trodden soil to steel tracks, drovers along The Western Trail faced red dirt, infrequent saloons, grazing tolls and risk of stampeding. Traveling the Trail meant plenty of time to croon to the cows. 


This performance from these three great trail bosses is a wonderful celebration of The Great Western Trail.  

Historic footage of Paniolo cowboys in Hawaii, ca. 1937

Year Published: 2012

Run Time: 3:19


Silent color film clip of Paniolo cowboys, possibly at the Parker Ranch on Hawaii's Big Island, working with sheep and herding cattle into the ocean then hoisting them onto a boat for transport. This clip is part of a longer amateur travel film shot by Charles Boys, a medical doctor, on a trip to Hawaii, circa 1937. This film is part of the collections of the Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

Stinging Dust & Forgotten Lives: The Dust Bowl

Year Published: 2008

Running Time: 58:28

Color / Sound

Ponder for a moment that you are huddled around a dimly lit lamp in a vast dusty room with your family. All eyes have a look of fear from the gusty winds shaking your home. The next morning, after the storm blows over, you look outside to find your house, barn, animals, fence, and water well have all been buried by feet of soil. All is lost. You must live...but how? Over a hundred years ago people left the American east to find a better life. They migrated and established homestead throughout the Great Plains. There, they would prosper with fields of plenty, until, they exhausted the land. Again, they migrated westward to find a better life and provide opportunities for their starving children. STINGING DUST & FORGOTTEN LIVES presents the effects of the Dust Bowl on humanity during the 1930s. Meteorological conditions are often the first to blame, however, it was economic gain of the nation that doubled the unfortunate fate of the dusters. For more information visit​sdfl

The Real Doc Holliday!

Year Published: 2018

Running Time: 44:06

Color / Sound

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Year of production: 2014

Running Time: 1:18:49 min

Color / Sound

On March 6, 1836 the 13-day siege of the Alamo ended. Among the dead were three men destined to become martyrs and heroes: David Crockett, James Bowie and William B. Travis. Cries of Remember the Alamo! would eventually fuel an American victory over Mexico. The Alamo and its defenders grew into enduring symbols of courage and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds.

Controversy has always been part of the history and legend of the Alamo. Whether they hold traditional or revisionist views, people are passionate about their add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me and you can start adding your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.


Year of production: 2014

Running Time: 56:40 min

Color / Sound / Subtitled

Why the Cowboy Sings explores the inspiration behind the music and poetry that accompany ranch life. Featuring Stephanie Davis, Glenn Ohrlin, Henry Real Bird, and Larry and Toni Schutte, with cameos by Ramblin Jack Elliott, Wallace McRae and Waddie Mitchell, this one-hour documentary was produced in collaboration with KUED-Channel 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was featured as part of the Olympic Arts Festival for the 2002 Winter Games. A 16-minute high definition adaptation is shown on-demand Monday-Saturday in the Western Folklife Center's Black Box Theater at our Elko, Nevada headquarters, 501 Railroad Street. Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis, producers.I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me and you can start adding your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

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