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Custer of the West

Custer of the West

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The story of U.S. Army commander George Armstrong Custer, a flamboyant hero of the Civil War who later fought and was exterminated with his entire command by warring Sioux and Cheyenne tribes at the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

Forget history and enjoy the action.

Nothing brings together Indians, anti-imperialist lefties, and white southerners together (albeit for different reasons) quite like their disdain for General George Armstrong Custer.

Custer Of The West tries hard to walk a fine line between portraying the man as the cold, amoral, arrogant man his detractors claim him to be and the all American hero that others think he was. My opinion is that ultimately he was portrayed as the former.

Robert Shaw is okay in the title role even though he barely manages to hold back his English accent, with frequent slips that he probably couldn’t have gotten away with if the dialog wasn’t so crisp.(Thank you Bernard Gordon.) The supporting cast does well too, especially Robert Ryan in his pointless cameo as the gold hungry deserter. Mary Ure is wasted as Mrs. Custer.

What makes Custer Of The West worth viewing are the mesmerizing action sequences (well directed by Robert Siodmak) as the US Army and the Cheyenne each try to massacre their way to victory. I especially enjoyed the first person shots of the logging canal, the runaway train, and the out of control rolling wagon.

The action hits a roadblock when Custer is called back to Washington. However, it does provide an interesting contrast between the officers in DC with the ones doing the real hard work out west.

The climax at The Little Big Horn is an incredible and exciting spectacle.

Surprisingly good account of General Custer

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