Custer wrote a book, published in 1874, "My Life on the Plains or Personal Experiences with the Indians."

 

Walt Whitman, on hearing the news of Custer's death, wrote the poem "From Far Dakota's Canyons"

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The 1970 movie, "Little Big Man" directed by Arthur Penn, portrayed Custer as a racist and psychopath.

 

The book "Son of the Morning Star," published in 1984 shows Custer in a more favorable light.

 

In 1860, there were more than 500,000 Indians in the American West. By 1880, their population had fallen to less than 250,000.

George Armstrong Custer

Myths and Facts

Geroge CusterCuster's defeat and death at the Little Bighorn made the life of what would have been an obscure 19th century military figure into the subject of countless songs, books, and paintings. Critics of Custer say his blunders caused his death and the death of his men. His supporters say he was only following standard military tactics of his time.

Custer's Last StandPaintings and writings about "the Custer massacre" depict Custer as a gallant victim, surrounded by bloodthirsty savages intent upon his annihilation. Forgotten is the fact that Custer started the battle by attacking the Indian village and that most of the Indians present were forced to surrender within a year of their greatest battlefield triumph.

Sioux TeepeeIt is said that the Indians did not scalp or mutilate Custer's body out of respect for his fighting ability, but few participating Indians knew who he was. To this day no one knows the real reason they left his body intact.

Custer and the other Generals repeatedly ignored warning from their scouts of large groups of Indians converging in the Little Bighorn area. After the battle, the Indian scouts told white settlers of the massacre and they still refused to believe the Indians until they saw the battlefield.

The story of Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn continues to provoke debate. The events that unfolded that day on the Montana prairie had all the makings of a great story. The brave, dashing hero who had a weaker side. The bumbling commanders who directed him and underestimated the Indians' fighting abilities. The Indian tribes who were fighting for their heritage. The mystical medicine man, Sitting Bull who had a vision of many soldiers falling in death. This is a event that is burned deep into the American pysche. Right or wrong, good or evil, this moment in time will not be forgotten.

Custer Battlefield
Custer Battlefield

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