They Died with Their Boots On (1941) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • Highly fictionalized account (see 'goofs' for examples) of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. He has little discipline at the academy but is prepared to stand up to the senior cadet, Ned Sharp, who makes his life miserable. While there he catches the eye of the commandant, Col. (later General) Phil Sheridan and also meets his future bride, Elizabeth Bacon. Graduating early due to the Civil War, it is only through a chance meeting with General Winfield Scott that he finally gets assigned to a cavalry regiment. He served with distinction during the war and when he is promoted to Brigadier General in error, he leads his troops in a decisive victory. He has little to do after the war turning down lucrative positions in private industry and it's his wife who arranges with Gen. Scott for him to be appointed a Lt. Colonel and given command of the 7th Cavalry. He is depicted as a friend of the Indians who will fight for injustice, in the form of his old nemesis Ned Sharp who is taking advantage of them and trying to provoke a war with his own financial gain in mind. Custer died in the the now famous battle on June 25, 1876 at the age of 36.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • This is the story of General Custer from the time he enters West Point military academy, through the American Civil War, and finally to his death at Little Big Horn. The battle against Chief Crazy Horse is portrayed as a crooked deal between politicians and a corporation which wants the land Custer gave to the Indians.

    - Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>
  • The EIGHTH and final movie featuring Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland is definitely not an accurate History lesson; it is, instead, a retelling of the Custer myth - with the added sheen of magnetic stars, colorful (and even distinguished) character parts and rousing action sequences. Most of the first half of this long movie has a refreshing comic element as Custer bungles and brawls his way through West Point; the start of the American Civil War introduces some well shot and convincing battle scenes; the final part of the picture covers Custer's achievements with the fabled 7th Cavalry in the Dakota Territories. The romantic relationship between Flynn and De Havilland's characters touchingly links the different segments - both were instinctively aware that this was their last picture together and it gave their shared scenes a special poignancy. Throughout the movie, Custer is represented as a noble and heroic figure - so devoid of cunning and guile that he is almost bound to make a less than brilliant strategist. A completely ficticious plot-line turns him into a defender of Native American lands as unscrupulous businessmen conspire to start a war between the USA and the Sioux Nation. Ultimately, Custer and his regiment are forced to intercept the Sioux and their allies. Destiny awaits them at The Little Big Horn.

    - Written by Deadlypen


The story of George Armstong Custer from his life at West Point to at the age of 23, the youngest general in the civil war...

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