Jack Crabb is 121 years old as the film begins. A collector of oral histories asks him about his past. He recounts being captured and raised by indians, becoming a gunslinger, marrying an indian, watching her killed by General George Armstrong Custer, and becoming a scout for him at Little Big Horn.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dustin Hoffman was put in The Guinness Book of World Records as "Greatest Age Span Portrayed By A Movie Actor" for portraying the character of Jack Crabb from a teenager to age one hundred twenty-one. See more »
..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. See more »
I am, beyond a doubt, the last of the old-timers. My name is Jack Crabb. And I am the sole white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, uh, uh, popularly known as Custer's Last Stand.
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53. LITTLE BIG MAN (western, 1970) From his Hospital bedside 121-year old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman) recounts his exploits to a reporter: Captured by Cheyenne Indians at the age of 10 he's integrated into their 'alien' society and made the son of Indian 'Old Lodge Skies' (Chief Dan George). Proving his courage despite his short stature he's given the name of 'Little Big Man'. During the Indian Wars Jack is returned to white society. There he works as a shopkeeper, gunfighter, and finally used as an Indian Scout. The latter landing him under the command of General Custer (Richard Mulligan), who's putting together an army to fight the Indians at Little Big Horn.
Critique: Extremely enjoyable, epic western directed by Arthur Penn. Praised for its depiction of Native Americans, it has biting satirical (and political) touches, saddled with farcical historical accounts of the Indian Wars. The once controversial aspects were meant to represent the ideologies of the time, but it has not lost any of its grit.
What I like the most is its unique interpretation of Indians. Never in the long cycles of American westerns were Indians presented as almost alien, coming across as a mythical people whose ignorance of political maneuvers and technology proved their downfall. A very bitter and sad farewell swansong to what war and genocide has taken away.
Atypical cast delivers strong passages but you won't forget the 2-standout roles of General Custer as portrayed by the maniacal Richard Mulligan and 'Old Lodge Skies' played by the philosophical Chief Dan George.
QUOTES: Old Lodge Skies: "There is an endless supply of white men. But there has always been a limited number of 'human beings'. We won today, we won't win tomorrow."
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