CUSTER, General George Armstrong

   The legendary 7th Cavalry commander has come to stand for all that was wrong with American Native Americanpolicy. He met his end at the Battle of Little Big Horn in June 1876. The defeat at the hand of Crazy Horse and his Sioux warriors was seen as a humiliation for the cavalry. Buffalo Bill’s famous Wild West show always featured an act involving Custer’s Last Stand. The popularity of that act carried over into the earliest days of film, and there were numerous treatments of Custer’s career in the silent era.
   Among the many films recounting the “glorious martyrdom” of General Custer’s career are Custer’s Last Raid(1912), starring Francis Ford; The Plainsman (1936) ; and They Died with Their Boots On (1941), starring Errol Flynn. Beginning with The Great Sioux Massacre(1965) and continuing with the antimyth Little Big Man(1970), Westerns have become critical of Custer’s treatment of Native Americans. The essential details of General Custer’s life portrayed in Westerns include his flamboyant dress, his heroism in battle, his reputation for insubordination, and his death at Little Big Horn. Custer adopted colorful dress during his days at United States Military Academy at West Point, where he finished last in his class. During the Civil War, however, Custer was given a battlefield promotion to brigadier general due to bravery, and he returned home to Michigan a war hero. After the war, Custer rejoined the army with the rank of lieutenant colonel and was given command of the 7th Cavalry. Throughout his career, Custer was a controversial figure, usually in trouble one way or another with his military superiors.
   In what was once called the Indian Wars, Custer became a hero with his victory over the Cheyenne in 1868 at the Battle of Washita Creek in Indian Territory. Today that battle is usually interpreted as a massacre of the Cheyenne by Custer. At the time, however, the battle was considered the first great victory in the final conquest of the West after the Civil War. Unfortunately, the hero of the first battle led his 7th Cavalry into an ambush at Little Big Horn in 1876, and Custer and all his men were killed.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • George Armstrong Custer — n. General George Armstrong Custer (1839 1876), United States Union general during the American Civil War …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Custer, George Armstrong — born Dec. 5, 1839, New Rumley, Ohio, U.S. died June 25, 1876, Little Bighorn River, Montana Territory U.S. cavalry officer. He graduated from West Point and at age 23 became a brigadier general. His vigorous pursuit of Confederate troops under… …   Universalium

  • George Armstrong — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Armstrong.  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie différentes personnes partageant un même nom. William George Armstrong (1810 – 1900), industriel du bassin de la Tyne, est le fondateur du trust industriel… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George Armstrong Custer — noun United States general who was killed along with all his command by the Sioux at the Battle of Little Bighorn (1839 1876) • Syn: ↑Custer, ↑General Custer • Instance Hypernyms: ↑general, ↑full general …   Useful english dictionary

  • Custer,George Armstrong — Cus·ter (kŭsʹtər), George Armstrong. 1839 1876. Library of Congress American soldier. A brigadier general at age 23, he was killed and his troops annihilated by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at Little Bighorn. *… …   Universalium

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