The Battle Of The Little Bighorn

Fate brought Custer and Sitting Bull together one bloody June evening at the Little Bighorn—and marked the end of the Wild West

Act 1: The Characters Read more »

Little Big Man’s Man

Thomas Berger, the author of a classic novel of the American West, speaks about its long-awaited sequel—and about what is to be learned in the challenging territory that lies between history and fiction

In 1992 American Heritage asked various historians, artists, and writers to name their candidate for best historical novel. Several of them, including the writer Charles McCarry, the artist Edward Sorel, and myself, nominated Little Big Man , Thomas Berger’s masterly 1964 epic of the Old West.Read more »

Into The Face Of History

Starting with a single, haunting battlefield image, an amateur photo detective managed to reconstruct a forgotten photographer’s life and uncover a treasure of Indian portraits.

I had waited six months to see it. A long-time collector, I loved to roam the monthly swap meet in Long Beach, California near my home. Half a year before, I’d stopped at the booth of a dealer in old photographs and asked if he had anything related to General Custer or to the Battle of the Little Bighorn, both favorite topics of mine. He told me that he had a stereo view of the Custer Battlefield, but he hadn’t brought it with him, and it wasn’t for sale. “It’s by a photographer I’ve never heard of,” he explained.Read more »

The Little Bighorn

In the fall of 1960 a novelty-song about Custer’s Last Stand climbed its way inexplicably onto the Billboard charts. To the ominous beat of a tom-tom, an Andy Devine sound-alike named Larry Verne, portraying a trooper of the 7th Cavalry, implored, “Please, Mr. Custer. I don’t want to go,” in a cracking, hopeless chorus. Read more »

Echoes Of The Little Bighorn

No single battle in American history has won more attention from more writers than the relatively insignificant defeat of a handful of cavalry by a few thousand Indians on the Little Bighorn River in 1876. How could there be anything new to say about it?Read more »

“There Are No Indians Left Now But Me”

So spoke Sitting Bull, greatest of Sioux chiefs, as he bitterly watched his people bargain away their Dakota homeland

If Sitting Bull had not put his faith in a miracle, in the fateful winter of 1890, the American struggle with the Dakota Sioux—the last big Indian “war”—might have faded into a peaceful if pathetic accommodation between conqueror and conquered. But a miracle seemed the only refuge for the great old chief in that bitter season of a bitter year; and he thought he saw one coming.

The Man Who Killed Custer

To Stanley Vestal, the old Sioux warrior White Bull describes the day when he counted his greatest coup

FOREWORD

Few episodes in American history have held more fascination for writers—or the public—than George Armstrong Custer’s Last Stand. More has been written on this relatively unimportant incident in American history than on the Battle of Gettysburg—and probably no two accounts agree in all details.