16 user 4 critic

Little Big Horn (1951)

A small band of cavalry attempt to warn Custer of an impending massacre. Friction develops when commander of the patrol suspects his subordinate of having an affair with his wife.


(story), (screenplay)

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Capt. Phillip Donlin
Lt. John Haywood
Celie Donlin
Cpl. Doan Moylan
Wally Cassell ...
Pvt. Danny Zecca
Pvt. Al DeWalt
Pvt. James Corbo
Richard Emory ...
Pvt. Mitch Shovels
Sgt. Vet McCloud
Robert Sherwood ...
Pvt. David Mason
Sheb Wooley ...
Larry Stewart ...
Bugler Stevie Williams
Cpl. Arika (as Rod Redwing)
Dick Paxton ...
Pvt. Ralph Hall (as Richard Paxton)


In 1876, during the Great Sioux Wars, U.S. Cavalry Capt. Phillip Donlin serves at Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Montana Territory. His duties take him away from his wife, Celie Donlin, who feels neglected and unhappy.She is having an affair with Lt. John Haywood, whom she tries to persuade to resign the army and run away with her.Unknown to them, her husband overhears their conversation and confronts them.Heartbroken, he leaves the next morning on another patrol.His latest mission is to arrive at Camp Yellowstone and warn General Custer and his meager forces numbering a few hundred men of the large buildup of Sioux forces gathering at the Little Big Horn River.During a stop at a watering hole, Capt. Donlin's patrol is reached by Lt. Haywood's unit and told to return to Fort Lincoln but the captain disregards the orders and decides to attempt to warn general Custer whose forces already left for Little Big Horn River. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fifty painted Sioux to every one of their GALLANT few! See more »




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Release Date:

15 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rio de la muerte  »

Box Office


$183,849 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Ireland's wife, Joanne Dru, was tested for the role of Celie Donlin, which ultimately was played by Marie Windsor. See more »


In the scene where Lt. Haywood is fighting with the Indian, it is easy to see they're using rubber knives. See more »


Moylan: Why does anyone have to ride point?
Haywood: The Army works on the principle that it's better to sacrifice a few to many. It's hard to be one of those "few."
See more »


Remade as Desert Hell (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Meets the test of a classic
11 March 2004 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

Saw this when it first came out and have seen it several time over the years. Still stands up and is worth watching.

The performances, story and production are tops and keep you glued to the screen through the entire movie.

The attention to detail of uniforms and other costumes is excellent, along with the horse handling.

It is well photographed and edited, with good lighting, especially the night scenes.

I haven't seen it in about 20 years, wish they would put it on television again.

Hope they at least bring it to my local video store.

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