General Custer is one of the most controversial figures in American history. He is perceived by some to be an egotistical, murdering, glory hunting pariah but to others he is almost a saintly figure to whom history has been most unkind. The truth inevitably lies somewhere between the two. Custer was indeed egotistical and also very ambitious, but he most definitely was not a murderer. Custer was a man of his time, a professional 19th century soldier obliged to carry out the duties of his office. No matter what he personally (and a letter exists to prove that Custer was against an Indian war) felt about his orders. Son of the Morning Star makes the mistake many make when dealing with Custer. It places 20th century 'politically correct' sensibilities upon the events of his later years which distort the truth to an alarming degree. Custer did not 'murder' women and children at the Battle of Washita, evidence exists to prove that he did, in fact, prevent soldiers from such acts although many were killed before he could intervene. Custer did not 'leave some of his men to die' after the battle, he was forced to withdraw as a large army of Sioux approached his position and he was ill-equipped to deal with them. Custer was vigorous in his determination for Indian Agencies to supply the reservation tribes with the food etc that they were entitled to, risking his own career in the process. And finally, at the Little Big Horn, he did not go charging in without thought or rationale. He presumed (incorrectly) that the tribes were escaping and, after giving orders to his subordinates which they did not obey, went in pursuit. Unfortunately there were many more Indians to deal with than expected so he held a defensive position and waited for reinforcements which did not come, due to the failure of others. Consequently he and his men were annihilated. Custer was a complex man, something that this film attempts to touch upon but is let down by it's emphasis on debunking anythinhg positive to be said about him. it's about time someone made a 'real' film about Custer. One that portrays his fine record in the Civil War (he is still the youngest ever General in the US army) and how he was an inspiration to his men. How he displayed great tactical knowledge and extreme bravery under fire. People laugh at Errol Flynn's portrayal of 'Saint Custer' and indeed the latter stages of They Died With Their Boots On are laughable, but the depiction of Custer during the Civil War is (although heavily stylised) very accurate. The flamboyant uniform, the cry of 'ride you wolverines!', marching to Garry Owen - this stuff really happened. After the war Custer was given one tawdry job after another by the army. He disgraced himself on more than one occasion and was ultimately court martial-ed, but he performed his duty for his country and should be remembered for the role he played as a winner in the Civil War, not just as the loser at the Little Big Horn. Cinematically, the film is escellent, with good attention to detail and fine staging of the battle scenes. It's a shame it is flawed by a ha'porth of tarred scripting.
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