For the United States, the Battle of the Alamo is in many ways its version of the Greeks' Thermopylae. In February 1836, a few hundred defenders of a small fort that once served as a mission found themselves besieged by several thousand Mexican soldiers under Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Rather than withdraw, the defenders requested reinforcements and instead made a determined stand at the Alamo, eventually falling nearly down to the last man on March 6, 1836.
Like Thermoyplae, much of the narrative regarding the Battle of the Alamo is comprised of myths and legends that have been embraced, supported, and protected, turning the most famous defenders into American legends. Accounts are also wildly contradictory. The famous frontier hero Davy Crockett, who has been portrayed by none other than John Wayne, may have been among the last to die or may have been captured and executed shortly after the battle. William Barret Travis, who had abandoned his wife, son, and unborn daughter and departed for Texas, did not draw the fabled "line in the sand" with his sword and ask those who wished to stay with him in the Alamo to cross it. The number of defenders was almost certainly not the 189 long held sacred by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.