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Little Big Man (1970) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (2) | Continuity (2) | Factual errors (2) | Incorrectly regarded as goofs (1) | Revealing mistakes (2) | Spoilers (5)

Anachronisms 

Following the movie time line, Jack Crabbe should have been rescued from the Indians around 1865. When he enters his gunfighter period around 1866, Jack is carrying two 1873 Colt Peacemakers while Hickok's pistol is an 1882 Colt.
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When Jack first sees Mr. Merriweather, Merriweather is using a bass drum pedal. The first bass drum pedal was not patented until 1909 by William F. Ludwig.
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Continuity 

When Jack Crabb is shown drunk during a heavy rainstorm shots alternate back and forth from being on an overcast day to being ones in bright sunshine.
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When Shadow That Comes In Sight rescues young Jack and Caroline after their parents were killed, you can see Caroline put her foot up to a stirrup as she mounts the horse behind Shadow. When she dismounts it appears that Shadow, like most other Cheyennes, rides bareback.
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Factual errors 

When Jack and Olga are being photographed in front of their store the photographer removes the lens cap to expose the film and we see the image being taken reversed on camera glass. In reality the film holder would have blocked any view during the exposure.
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Many inaccuracies regarding the Battle of Little Big Horn are copied from They Died with Their Boots On: see goofs for that movie.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

..or maybe not. If the movie is just a tall tale told by Jack Crabb, then most factual errors and anachronisms are simply the character's mistakes or quirks. However, since this is debatable, they are left on this list for your consideration.
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Revealing mistakes 

The wires forcing a horse to fall are visible in the final battle scene, just before Custer exclaims "Fools! They're shooting their own horses!"
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During the credits at the beginning of the movie, young Jack comes out of hiding and looks at a man's body, with an arrow sticking up out of it. The top of the arrow moves slowly as the "dead" man breathes.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

Custer's attack on the Cheyenne at the Washita River occurred in the winter of 1868. Since Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the summer of 1876, Jack's drunk period would have lasted about eight years. Also the Battle of Little Big Horn was on June 25, 1876; Hickok was killed August 2, 1876, more than one month later.
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In the saloon scene where Wild Bill Hickok is killed (1876), there is a Miller beer "Girl on the Moon" picture on the wall. Although Miller beer started operations in 1855, the "Girl on the Moon" advertising was first used in 1907 and it wasn't the same picture as the one in the movie.
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Continuity 

During the stagecoach battle, the body of the dead driver appears and disappears between shots.
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Factual errors 

When Wild Bill Hickok is gunned down, he lives long enough to have a conversation with Jack Crabb about the Widow. The shooter is apprehended immediately, claiming Hickok killed his father. In reality Hickok was killed instantly by Jack McCall, who ran away and was later found hiding in a local butcher shop. McCall's claim was that Hickok killed his brother not his father. The film also neglects to depict an important part of the Hickok mythos: he died holding two aces and two 8s, the origin of the proverbial "dead man's hand." And as noted elsewhere, Hickok's fall occurred AFTER Custer's Last Stand, not before it.
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In the film, Custer and many of his men are killed by arrows. By the time of the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Plains Indians realized that bows and arrows were obsolete, and the braves who wiped out Custer's command were armed with rifles, lances and tomahawks.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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