Saturday, June 23, 2018

CUSTER RIDES AGAIN (Reenactment of the Battle of the Little Bighorn) by Vonn McKee

Even after 142 years, the Battle of the Little Bighorn—or the the Battle of the Greasy Grass, or Custer's Last Stand—remains a frequent topic of discussion among western historians and favored subject matter of both fiction and nonfiction works. Historian Paul Hutton called it "the most important battle in the history of the American West." The engagement between General George Custer's 7th Cavalry Regiment and the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes has been examined from every angle. No white survivors lived to tell the tale, and many accounts of the Natives have been discounted over the years. Archeological digs at the battlefield continue to reveal new details surrounding the bloody conflict, which occurred on Sunday, June 25, 1876.
Gen. George Custer
Chief Sitting Bull

As it happens, this weekend marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Reenactments are scheduled for June 22-24 at 1:00 PM each day. (I plan to attend the final reenactment on Sunday.) The "battle" will take place at the location of Chief Sitting Bull's camp along the banks of the Little Bighorn River, between Crow Agency and Garryowen (the latter was the actual site of the battle).

If you find yourself in the region this weekend, here are links detailing the history of the battle and information regarding the reenactment.
Reenactment Video Promo

Historical reenactments are wonderful resources for authors and history buffs alike. They also present the opportunity to thank the dedicated volunteer reenactors who invest heavily (both in terms of money and time) so that viewers can get an authentic picture of period dress, customs, and details of historical events.

Also, search this blogsite for excellent posts on Custer and the battle by Western Fictioneers members Steve Kohlhagen and Tom Rizzo.

All the best,
Vonn McKee
"Writing the Range"

2015 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Finalist (Short Fiction)
2015 Western Writers of America Spur Finalist (Short Fiction)

Visit Vonn on Facebook!


  1. That is the joy and difficulty of recreating the past, we weren't there. Still those who study and work to be as authentic as possible, do help us understand what may have happened.

    I have a screenwriter friend who was so enamoured of the battle, he wrote what he called a play (it was actually just a series of monologues) about the battle. He had his theories. (I directed it for him when he had it mounted for a film festival).

    Wish I could be there, but I thank you for all the links. Doris

    1. You're correct, Doris. There's only so much historians can glean. One thing is sure: the battle was a chaotic and bloody one. The place feels sacred.

  2. This is just so fascinating, Micki. Thanks for a wonderful post. I wish I could see some of these re-enactments. There's one here in OK that happens in November biannually--The Battle of Honey Springs. Here's the link if anyone is interested.

    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for the details. I notice that the next event is in 2019, and that Cherokee and Creek soldiers fought on both sides.

  3. Vonn,

    I visited the Battle of the Little Big Horn site on the 100th anniversary in 1976. Sadly, I lost the pictures I'd taken in a partial house fire many years later. There wasn't a reenactment, but members of the American Indian Movement were there. About a week after I was there, a prairie fire burned off the tall grass in some ravines and opened up areas that hadn't been thoroughly explored. Apparently many more artifacts were discovered.

    Two towns in southeastern Colorado host historical reenactments. One is in La Junta and the other is in Lamar. As you said, for authors, these reenactment opportunities are invaluable.

    1. Our docent mentioned the significance of the prairie fire that revealed many undiscovered artifacts. Little Bighorn keeps speaking to us!

  4. I rarely write reviews for films on here with the exception of two cases: when a movie is really bad or when a movie needs defending from a vocal minority that trash it. First, I'll review the film like I would any other and then I'm going to try and reason why audiences are reacting negatively to the film. I'm not sure if Hereditary is the greatest horror film ever but I certainly felt like I was watching my generation's Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby. The movie borrows heavily from those two films right down to the final scene. los movies Despite this, it feels new and dangerous. I had no idea how the movie was going to play out which is a criticism I have with a lot modern horror/thriller movies.