PBS announced an encore broadcast of the critically acclaimed Ken Burns film “LEWIS & CLARK: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery,” on July 9 and 16, 2013, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). Originally broadcast in November 1997, the four-hour film, written by and produced with Burns’s longtime producing partner Dayton Duncan (THE NATIONAL PARKS, THE DUST BOWL), tells the story of the most significant expedition in American history and of the extraordinary friendship between two exceedingly different men.
Following each episode of this special encore of LEWIS & CLARK, PBS will present for the first time a clip from Burns’s upcoming film, THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY , scheduled to air in fall of 2014.
At the time of its original broadcast, LEWIS & CLARK garnered the second-highest ratings in PBS history and received high praise from critics. The Plain Dealer called it “an absorbing rediscovery and armchair expedition of the first rank.” Daily News wrote, “LEWIS & CLARK is loaded with low-key moments that resonate with meaning and power…it’s a TV treat you owe to yourself to discover.” Weekly Variety wrote, “Burns’ account of the Lewis and Clark expedition is, simply enough, gorgeous…[it] demonstrates how much there is yet to tell about America and its valiant pioneers, and how perishable even relatively recent history can be. And how worthwhile.”
“Making LEWIS & CLARK was tremendously satisfying because it gave us an opportunity to put ourselves in Lewis and Clark’s shoes
and see the country anew through their eyes, to discover it with them and share their sense of awe,” said Burns. “We’re very pleased that PBS is revisiting this story so that those who didn’t see the original broadcast or haven’t seen it in many years can share in this experience.”
“This film is one of several I have made now with Ken, including THE NATIONAL PARKS and HORATIO’S DRIVE, that explore American history through the land we inhabit, and how this vast, dynamic space has shaped our national psyche,” said Dayton Duncan. “I’m thrilled that a new audience will have an opportunity to join Lewis and Clark on this adventure.”
“As summer is often a time when families make trips around the country to discover new places, we thought it was fitting to revisit America’s ultimate story of discovery,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “LEWIS & CLARK is as compelling, exciting and poignant as it was when it was first broadcast nearly 16 years ago, and we are very proud to share this journey once again.”
Nearly four years in production, the documentary tells the dramatic story of the momentous journey that began on May 14, 1804, when Meriwether Lewis – the young and mercurial personal secretary to President Thomas Jefferson – and his trustworthy friend, William Clark, and their Corps of Discovery headed up the Missouri River on what would be the United States’ first official exploration into unknown spaces.
In their two and a half years’ traveling from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River and back, Lewis and Clark would become the first U.S. citizens to experience the immensity, splendor and rigors of the Great Plains and to see the daunting peaks of the Rocky Mountains. They would be the first to cross the Continental Divide and the first of their nation to reach the Pacific Ocean by land. But they would ultimately fail to find what Thomas Jefferson and others had imagined existed far beyond the Mississippi: a Northwest Passage, an easy water route that would link the Atlantic with the Pacific.
While they never found the Northwest Passage, the explorers discovered much more in its place: a vast territory with wildly varying climates; 122 animals and 178 plants never before described by science; and a dizzying diversity of Indian tribes, some of whom had never before seen white men. Their journey, which began a legacy of exploration that stretches all the way to the modern space program, became one of the greatest adventure stories in American history.
LEWIS & CLARK: THE JOURNEY OF THE CORPS OF DISCOVERY was directed and produced by Ken Burns, and written and produced by Dayton Duncan. The editors were Paul Barnes and Erik Ewers. Cinematography was by Buddy Squires, Ken Burns and Allen Moore. It is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC. GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION is the sole corporate underwriter. Additional funding is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting Service, William T. Kemper Foundation, Commerce Bank Trustee, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Travel Montana.