7th Cavalry Returning to Fort Lincoln, Captain Benson learns of Custer’s defeat at the Little Big Horn. At the inquiry as Custer’s Officers blame Custer for the defeat, Benson tries to defend him. But Benson was suspiciously absent at the time of the battle and is now despised by the troops. So when an order to retrieve the bodies from the battlefield arrives, Benson volunteers for the dangerous mission of returning back into Indian territory.
Back to the Little Big Horn
7th Cavalry A cavalry officer (Randolph Scott) who wasn’t with Custer when he and his regiment were wiped out, faces recriminations back at the fort for not having died with them. It is a good thing that the film doesn’t remain at the fort where most of the lines go from bad to worse. An investigation is conducted about the Custer debacle which does have some interesting interpretations about what happened and about Custer’s dubious decision making. The movie uses Scott’s character as Custer’s friend, as someone who will punch anyone who questions the general’s fitness, seemingly trying to preserve his iconic image for the audience watching the film. He volunteers to organize a platoon of men to go out to the battle site at the Little Big Horn to retrieve the bodies of the fallen 7th Cavalry. The mission gives the film a unique perspective on the Custer story, a post mortem that includes the Indians. The “volunteers” that accompany Scott, the worst of the lot at the fort, who were too drunk the day Custer led his men out, turn out to have been mostly ordered to do so, and the procession out to the battle site gets increasingly mutinous, which is by far the film’s best done plot. You don’t see too many cavalry films with such a loser lot of men riding horseback. Scott faces mutiny and murder (see Frank Faylen as Kruger) along the way.