When I was boy, my friends and I were fascinated, thanks in part to Walt Disney and his various mini-series on Daniel Boone, Francis Marion “The Swampfox”, Scarecrow (set in England), and Davey Crockett. We would play all day long in the woods (that are now the Beltline and North Hills, er… excuse me, Midtown), attacking the British, fighting the Japs (no mention of Korea?), and bravely defending the Alamo to our last breath. While an undergrad at State, I learned that Dr. Crisp was exploring the authenticity of the diary of a Mexican soldier who had fought at the Alamo. The soldier’s account had Davey Crockett not dying in the final assault but surviving, only to be executed later that morning. There is still much controversy about the matter, but the movie The Alamo (2004) starring Billy Bob Thornton as Crockett is the first attempt to show this possibility in a major motion picture. I have included the death scene clips from both movies for your viewing pleasure.
That Crockett might have survived might at first glance cause some people to doubt his courage, to think that the only way anyone could have survived the assault was to hide, but the movie does a convincing job of portraying Davey’s courage during the final assault and his bravery (and wit) during his execution.
The problem with all of these films is that they all ignore the facts of the matter of Texas, a land that was offered by Mexico to the Texians if they would abide by some simple but very hard to follow rules, including practice Catholicism and, the deal-breaker, refrain from owning slaves. The whole image of the defenders of the Alamo changes once one realizes the Texians were fighting for their freedom to enslave others. Like many topics in US History, this is another one that white-washes (pun intended) history by ignoring or bending the truth. These occurrences would all be great topics to discuss and teach, but correcting our history books is not covered by the EOC.
The Alamo (1960) starring John Wayne as Davey Crockett – Crockett dies during the final assault, taking out the gunpowder with him.
The Alamo (2004) starring Billy Bob Thornton as Davey Crockett – Crockett survives the final assault, only to be executed later that morning (this follows the account of the alleged diary of a Mexican soldier)
Final Assault: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XxmPAoca58
The Execution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ1L_vkzjcc&NR=1