Narrator: It's been said that the west was won with guns and gold. It was not. It was won by the courage of simple people, who pushed their ponderous wagons forever west, through 200.000 square miles of awesome wilderness. Some were drawn by the lure of gold, but for the most part they were families, moved by the dream of a new beginning. This story is about such a family. Their name: Macahan. The sons and daughters of Katherine Macahan were destined to write their own brilliant pages into the history of the west. But in the beginning, the only member of the family who's name had already been touched by the stuff of legend was a man cut in the image of Bridger and Bowie and Jeremiah Johnson. His name: Zebulon Macahan.
Dutton: [to Zeb] Being locked up, I don't like it. I need the sky over my head, just like you. Huntin' and trappin', that's the only life for a man.
Zeb Macahan: Now look, I told the colonel you're the man for the job while I'm gone. You let me down, you're gonna be lookin' for your praying bones. Meantime, don't you forget what I taught you. You should 'em where they look the biggest. And don't go far as hell for no woman. So long, Billie Joe.
Jessie Macahan: Uncle Zeb? Since I was high as a grasshopper I've been hearin' about you. You're a mighty legend around here.
Zeb Macahan: Kate, I'm gonna tell you something, if you bring so much as one more feather out of that house, I'm gettin' on my horse an', an' I'm gonna ride, alone.
Timothy Macahan: [about Laura] The minute she was born, I knew we had a beauty on our hands. And they're trouble. You see, I've had some experience when it comes to... dealing with beauties.
Henry Jethro: [raising his voice as Seth leaves on horseback] Go back home, Seth. Before this war turns on you. You hear?
Kate Macahan: Who was Billie Joe?
Zeb Macahan: Oh, he was an indian boy, Kate. He was a reservation runaway. First time I ever met him, he was trying to steal my horse. He was about... fifteen I guess, then, and dirty and scrawny. We washed him all down, we found a pure Cheyene indian underneath. Being Cheyenne, he was... worth the trouble salvaging. I thaught him what I know. I guess he was kinda like a son to me.
Kate Macahan: He'll never see it.
Seth Macahan: What, ma?
Kate Macahan: California, Oregon. What he waited 25 years to see.
Narrator: The Macahan family. Like thousands of others, came... and saw... and endured. In a sense they were a typical family but they were only typical of a very special breed of people. Their likes we will never see again. But they have given us a herritage and a courage that was not only unique, but has survived to become our great American tradition.