6 February 2007 | Marlburian
Reasonable film adaptation of respected Little Big Horn novel
The book "Bugles in the Afternoon" is regarded as one of the better novels relating to Custer's Last Stand, and this film is a reasonable adaptation, not that it devotes much time to the battle itself. Rather it concentrates on a love triangle, with some good cavalry action with the Indians that is almost incidental to the Custer massacre.
I blinked a little at Kern Shafter's appearance on arriving to enlist at Fort Abraham Lincoln; he looked extremely smart, even for the gambler he had become. I assume his motivation in rejoining the colours was nostalgia for army life,though this wasn't completely evident.
The well-known participants in the battle - Custer, Reno, Benteen - don't get much screen time, and the General himself has only a few lines. At least he looks the part, with the short hair he favoured for a hot campaign rather than his trademark long locks. Purists may raise their eyebrows at the cavalry using repeating rifles, when in fact they carried single-shot carbines, and pack-animals rather than the wagons shown supplied the troops in the general battlefield area.
But all in all, it's a reasonable cavalry Western, but not in the same league as those of John Wayne and John Ford.