The End to the Wild King of the Frontier

In the movie ‘Davy Crockett ‘King of the Wild Frontier’ Crockett is portrayed as a legendary hero who is an expert frontiersmen pushing forward westward expansion to tame the wild west (5), much like Daniel Boom in his quest for exploring the unknown west, although in real life Crockett was renowned for his large political role during the time. in the progression of the expansion of the west he was elected to a seat of the 20th, 21 and 23 congress, with Davy Crockett’s large political group he continued to pushed for the expansion of the west, after losing the congressional election of 1836  he grew disillusioned with politics and decided he would join the battle front in the fight to of the Texas Revolution.  Davy Crockett is remembered as a courageous frontiersman who expanded the western front and would sacrificed his life for the sake of battle, however in reality, he was a renowned congress member dealing with politics in society rather than a glamorous death at the Alamo.

In the movie, “The Alamo,” Davy Crockett has set his sights on embarking to fight alongside the defendants at the Alamo, along with his battle friend George Russell who fought side by side with him at the Creek War under the control of General Andrew Jackson. In the movie Crockett meets a comanche whom they nickname Busted Luck, do to his bad of getting constantly thrown off his horse and his fruitless effort of killing buffaloes (5). From here they track all the way to the Alamo in just a few short hours to where they join the Texas Garrison (4). Several documents contradict these findings as a treacherous trudging through the landscape, for close to an entire day of dodging Santa Anna’s troops and look outs. (1) After arriving it is described as only a short few hours of sleep and look out until Santa Anna wielded  his assault between 5am and 6am. (1)

In the movie Davy Crockett is shown fighting side by side with the other defendants when his best friend George makes a heroic move to eliminate some of the soldiers only to be shot twice and killed. Crockett gets in a furious rage and dash at the enemy’s where he is able to take down several Mexican mercenaries but utterly was gunned down (5). Both De La Pena journal and Dolsons first hand accounts both contradict the story in the movie as Davy Crockett’s final  heroic stand. Both accounts describe Santa Anna’s men broke through the barrier of the Alamo to which many of the defendants including Crockett were corralled to a corner of the Alamo once out of bullets they were then taken prisoner (1), Castrillon working under Santa Anna took the men  outside to where Santa Anna arrived promptly to the scene, he then decided the fate that the captured men were to be executed immediately for the reasoning there would be no prisoners of war (2).

Throughout the movie Davy Crockett ‘King of the Wild Frontier’ is portrayed as a legendary hero who is an expert frontiersmen pushing forward westward expansion, but after further analysis of documents from three separate first hand accounts we are able to see that Davy Crockett’s death was anything but legendary although he had the pride to fight the Mexican militia the defendants who stood alongside him were brutally beaten and killed (3)(4). Davy Crockett is remembered as a courageous frontiersman who expanded the western front and would sacrificed his life for the sake of battle, however in reality, he was a renowned congress member dealing with politics in society rather than a glamorous death at the Alamo.

Annotated Bibliography

Upon starting a new topic I choose to analyze Davy Crockett’s last stand at the Alamo and how his  death in legend and in the movie ‘Davy Crockett ‘King of the Wild Frontier’ is compared to primary and secondary sources than significant records, journals and first hand accounts.

Primary Sources:

  • José Enrique de la Peña,With Santa Anna in Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Revolution by José Enrique de la Peña, ed. and trans. Carmen Perry (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 197s), 52-54; Crisp, The Little Book That Wasn’t There,” 288-289.

This was a book/diary was written during time and has first hand accounts of the battle at the Alamo, although there is a comparison with  two other account including Caro and Dolson. Using all three first hand accounts both the Caro, Dolson, and the de la Pena accounts all agree that Castrillon found the defenders, Castrillon brought them to Santa Anna, the defenders were taken to a place where soldiers were in ranks. After this De la Pena journal describes Davy Crockett as one of the defenders that was captured and taken to Santa Anna who decided the fate that the captured me were to be executed which they promptly were from this book. On the other account, Caro, it states that there was no specific evidence that Davy Crockett was captured and brought along to Santa Anna. Also it was lacking many specific details of the environment and what the soldiers looked like, while in Dolsons accounts it shows many similarities to De la Pena which describes Davy Crockett as being captured and wounded and then being taken to Santa Anna where Davy and other defenders were executed.

  1. E. G. Littlejohn. Texas Stories: Sam Houston and David Crockett, No.3. (Richmond: B.F. Johnson Publishing Company, 1901)

This is a first hand account describes how Davy Crockett along with a few others being corralled into a corner of a church where they were brutally wounded with blood seeping out and  covered in gunpowder they were forced to there backs up against the wall. There Crockett was taken hostage and described as having a large gash across his forehead. They were then taken in front of General Castillion who vouched for the prisoners to be spared. Santa Anna in a rage decides right there to execute them on the spot to which after the men were dead they were brutally mutilated by the Mexican soliders.

Secondary Sources:

  1. Lind, Michael. “The Death of David Crockett.” Michael Lind’s, The Death of David Crockett. The Wilson Quarterly.One Woodrow Wilson Plaza. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.  Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

This source is a secondary source due that it’s from a historian analyzing people’s journals such as James Crisp and Dan Kilgore also a first hand newspaper account. In this analysis Michael Lind originally published the paper in the Wilson Quarterly goes into detail and overshadows Davy Crockett as the new great American Frontiersmen taking over the legacies of Daniel Boone. The main focus of this document is the  description on Davy Crockett’s death. In the Great legacies of Day Crockett it is described that he’s battling in last-ditch defense of the Alamo where he is killed, but recent scholars from notable sources suggest that instead he was executed by Santa Anna including several others.

  1. James Wakefield Burke, David Crockett (Austin: Eakin Press, 1984). Richard Boyd Hauck, Crockett: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1982). Dan Kilgore, How Did Davy Die? (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1978). Michael A. Lofaro, ed., Davy Crockett (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985).

The secondary source here is an explicit biography of Davy Crockett’s life it gives precise dates such as when Crockett died on March 6, 1836. Also something different from the other documents was that a a publishing of a diary in 1975 of lieutenant Jose Enrique De La Pena..who was Susan Dickson a wife of Officer Almaron Dickinson a soldier in the army, he stated that Crockett died outside and was one of the first to be wounded and killed. Through the reading it talks about Joe who is slave and the only Texan to survive the war describes seeing Crockett lying dead next to killed Mexicans all around him. I can use this information to help support my objective that Davy Crockett death was not as legendary as portrayed my many movies and stories alike.

  1. Davy Crockett King of the Wild Frontier, directed by Norman Foster. 1955. CA: Walt Disney. 2015

This source is the movie portraying the tail of Davy Crockett, it was necessary to use to compare and contrast to physical documents of the time and now

Blog Written by Adam Ugorowski

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