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The Great Sioux Massacre (1965) Starring Joseph Cotten

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The Great Sioux Massacre (1965)

Starring Joseph Cotten

A look at what happened to Custer and his troops at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Custer, an outspoken believer in fair treatment for the Indians, is ousted from his post and forced into retirement. Fueled by ambition when a senator convinces him to run for president, Custer decides to upstage General Terry at Little Big Horn.

Director: Sidney Salkow
Writers: Marvin A. Gluck (screenplay) (as Fred C. Dobbs), Sidney Salkow (story)

Stars: Joseph Cotten, Darren McGavin, Philip Carey, Julie Sommars, Nancy Kovack, Michael Pate, Don Haggerty, Iron Eyes Cody

The screenplay by Salkow and Marvin Gluck was credited as "Fred C. Dobbs", the name of Humphrey Bogart's character in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and then the name of a nightclub on Sunset Strip.
Italian American and faux Native American actor Iron Eyes Cody, who also played Crazy Horse in Salkow's Sitting Bull, had appeared in the 1936 Custer's Last Stand. Iron Eyes also acted as technical adviser on the film.
Louise Serpa, who played Mrs Turner, was a renowned rodeo photographer.
At one time, Custer was portrayed by heroic types like Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan (note: Reagan played a young, pre-war Custer in "Santa Fe Trail" and did not come anywhere near the Little Bighorn). Later, Custer became as close as anyone to the perfect American monster. "The Great Sioux Massacre" teeters between these two portrayals.
They accurately showed how Custer split his group into three forces, which ended up being a bad idea and to this day inexplicable. They showed Custer as a Colonel, not a General -- he was a temporary General during the Civil War, but was returned to Colonel rank once it was over. They referred to the fact that Custer had family members in his outfit -- a brother, and I think a nephew. He wasn't depicted as a megalomaniac as in "Custer" nor just a maniac as in "Little Big Man," but rather a competent general with too much ego for his own good. They didn't even show him being killed last which likely was improbable, though there were no Cavalry soldiers who survived, so it's hard to tell what really happened in the final moments.