By all accounts this is the most accurate of the screen adaptations of the famous General Custer and his last stand. It is definitely one of the better TV Movies to date at the time of its release. The attention to detail and the balanced screenplay are impressive as is the depth of the story with a good deal of political procedures and insights of Washington D.C. at the time.
Manifest Destiny is defined in an unrestrained utterance by President Grant. It is basically “my way or the highway” to use a modern alliteration. It has a rich and thoughtful look and has more production values than television usually presented. The film covers a ten year period and makes some use of Custer’s Civil War record and earlier campaigns to present us with a foundation and lets us in on the major mistakes and flaws as well as virtues in this military man’s career.
The performances are very good with David Strathairn and Rosanna Arquette standing out. Gary Cole is adequate and is held up by the surroundings, script, and substance. The voice-over narration ties some things together and the battle at Little Bighorn is impressive and a fine finale that displays an engaging feeling of the event in both the location and the personnel.