Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride to the White House is the exciting story of a physically challenged young man from Harvard who came to the western frontier in 1883. Theodore Roosevelt bought a ranch, learned how to ride, shoot, hunt and acquired the skills that would make him a war hero and American President. It was in the Badlands of Dakota where young Roosevelt became a cowboy and learned about democracy and the American West.

Buy Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride to the White House on DVD.


LENGTH: 1 x 60 Minutes
FORMAT: Special, American History
CAMERA: HD (16:9)
ASPECT RATIO:   16 x 9
PRODUCTION YEAR:  2006- 2010
SUPPLIER: Dorgan Films
RIGHTS TERRITORY: Worldwide, exclusive of the US

Filmed on location at the Roosevelt ranches in the heart of the beautiful and wild Badlands of North Dakota, the growing of age life experiences of the nation’s 26th President, brought to life by nationally acclaimed historians H.W. Brands, Douglas Brinkley, Clay Jenkinson, and great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt.

Henry William Brands is the author of 22 books and a professor at the University of Texas in Austin. Among his work: TR: The Last Romantic.

Douglas Brinkley is an award-winning author and a professor of history at Tulane University. He has also served as a director of the Theodore Roosevelt Center for American Civilization and is a commentator for CBS News.

Clay S. Jenkinson is an American Humanities and Rhodes Scholar and noted author. A Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt scholar, Jenkinson often does re-enactments of both. He is also the Chief Consultant to The Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University.

Tweed Roosevelt is the great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. He is the Chairman of Roosevelt China Investments of Boston. Roosevelt, like his great-grandfather a Harvard graduate, is a frequent contributor to books, seminars and other historical projects about President Theodore Roosevelt.

Funding assistance for the production of Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride To The White House was provided by the North Dakota Council on the Humanities, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, and SW REAP. Production assistance was provided by Prairie Public Television of North Dakota.


“Theodore Roosevelt’s visits to the North Dakota Badlands took up only about a year of his life, but the landscape and people of the American West left an indelible impression. As he would later say, “I would not have been president if it hadn’t been for my experience in North Dakota.” Filmmaker Darrell Dorgan’s Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride to the White House—which features a pitch-perfect script, lush photography, and a thoughtful score—details T.R.’s time in the Dakota Territories and follows the threads of his experience through his later life, both as leader of the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War and as the youngest man ever to occupy the White House. Insightful commentators include historian Douglas Brinkley and T.R.’s great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt. We witness snobbish Harvard dilettante Roosevelt discovering the local saloon (Big-Mouth Bob’s Bug Juice Dispensary) as he comes to embrace both the romance and the hardships of frontier life along the Little Missouri River. He rides hard, lives simply, and narrowly escapes a duel that would certainly have been fatal (Roosevelt’s poor eyesight kept him from ever being a good shot). When nasty weather turns a buffalo hunt—the object of T.R.’s first visit to the Badlands—into a cold, wet, and muddy morass, his only comment is, “By Godfrey, this is fun!” The same could be said of this engaging documentary. Highly recommended.Three and a Half StarsVideo Librarian

“Gr 9 Up-The impact of the North Dakota landscape on Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, is explored in this masterful, versatile film. His first visit was in 1883 at the age of 25 when he came to hunt and kill a bison. A few years later, after the death of his wife and mother, Roosevelt returned to North Dakota and bought a cattle ranch. The wide-open spaces and quiet solitude of the rolling hills gave him time to grieve, to heal, and to come to understand the importance of the frontier in the development of the American character. It is the thesis of this program that it was Roosevelt’s time in North Dakota that propelled him towards the presidency where he championed a Square Deal for all people and fought for direct democracy as a progressive reformer. Stunning visuals of North Dakota and the Badlands provide the background for the informative narration. Historic photographs, including some by Roosevelt, are combined with a few re-created scenes, commentary from historians such as Douglas Brinkley (author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, HarperCollins, 2009) and Tweed Roosevelt, the president’s great grandson. Environmental studies, history, and government classes can utilize this informative, insightful program.”-Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Mt. Carmel – School Library Journal

“…a documentary biography of the rough-and-tumble cowboy-turned-President destined to establish pioneering conservation efforts and America’s National Parks, filmed on-location at the Roosevelt ranches. Highly Recommended” – Bookwatch