WATCH: Custer’s Last Stand

In June 1876, a band of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse defied federal orders to return to their reservations. Several hundred U.S. Army troops led by Lt. Col. George Custer were sent in. They were quickly overwhelmed and killed by up to 3,000 Indian warriors. Custer’s Last Stand is marked today at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana. When we were in the neighborhood, we got a tour from local historian Putt Thompson.

Putt Thompson: The government is coming out here to enforce a police order that would force these tribes back to the Great Sioux Indian Reservation established by the treaty of 1876. And these Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho said, “We’re not going back…tell the general to come. We won’t run this time.” So, the fight was on, and this is where it ended, essentially here. The archeological evidence pretty much pointed to almost a “run for your life situation”. And the far end of the battlefield, what we call Calhoun Ridge, according to the burial party that would scour this land, they said that that was the only organized resistance was at that far end of the battlefield. And then everything else was a mixture of officers and companies across the entire battlefield.

Sharyl: Soldiers came on horseback and maybe some on foot and just marched or came into this area?

Thompson: Custer’s 600 and so men, they were all mounted.

Sharyl: Did they think they were coming here to round up the Indians and take them somewhere?

Thompson: No. At that time, the military would attack the village. And they would burn the lodges, destroy the food catches, kill the ponies and cripple these people, these hostiles, as they were called, to go back to the reservation and be forced to come under the government.

Sharyl: Did the Indians have guns?

Thompson: Oh yes. They had better weapons. Most historians will say they had better weapons than the military because, and we even know that there were gun runners, supplying these to the Indians and they were good repeating rifles, Henry’s. In fact, right over this ridge, right back over here, they call it Henryville. There were so many Henry cartridges found there from those repeating weapons. And so from the very first shots fired, would have been down at the Reno battlefield and they would have heard that rapid fire. So the psychology of that starts to turn, and yeah, definitely a disadvantage. The military was armed with the approved rifle at that time, a single shot.

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Sharyl: Let me ask you philosophically, who’s seen as the good guys and who’s seen as the bad guys?

Thompson: I think most historians would tell you through history that has come full circle back to, Custer is the bad guy. And yet, his orders were to do exactly what he was doing. And yet, both parties could suffer the effects of that condemnation.

Sharyl: What does Custer’s Last Stand refer to?

Thompson: Well, this was his last battle and he’s usually pictured standing, as if, “This is the last time I’m going to stand!” And some Indian stories have him actually shot at the river before the battle started. So that historical analysis is not quite accurate necessarily. He might’ve been shot at the river and disabled right there before it actually got going.

Sharyl: This is sort of symbolic. This grave site area standing for where some people were found?

Thompson: Right.

Sharyl: The soldiers?

Thompson: Yes. The merely marks where men were found, and like I say, most are somewhat accurate, but Custer was found closest to the top of the Hill. So as you can see, they moved these off to make way for the mass grave. But they say 42 officers and men were found here. So some of these have been brought inside the fence to have the visitors understand how many were found killed here.

Sharyl: What does this show?

Thompson: This monument was placed here for over 200 men that were killed with General Custer, Lieutenant General. And it is in a mass grave. The grave below this contains the remains of almost all of those. Some officers, including Custer, were buried elsewhere. I would describe it as it’s a somber place full of spirits. And the best lesson would be that history will not repeat itself.

Sharyl (on camera): Custer was 36 when he was killed. Around 30 Indians were said to have died in the battle.

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20 thoughts on “WATCH: Custer’s Last Stand”

  1. Sharyl,

    Your Full Measure Team seems a bit shy,
    re what really happened on Jan. 6th.

    Consider upgrading to :

    “What Really Happened?—Full Measure.”

    For example, why had 3 busses disgorged
    “weird-looking people” the day before the
    riot, as one Trump supporter had put it near
    the end of last week’s Limbaugh program.

    Reminds of the busses disgorging rioters
    carrying both pro- and anti-statue folks,
    black and white!, carrying signs and
    dressed for battle—in downtown
    Charlottesville, the day BEFORE (( tried to
    get documentation to you, but . . . )) ! ! !

    My post from
    another venue,
    this morning :

    “Notice why the late paleoconservative Samuel Francis referred to conservatives as “The Stupid Party,” as they’ve failed to FOCUS on those anti-Trump Agent Provocatuers (( those Soros agent-provocateurs getting off 3 buses the day before )) leading that January 6th riot.”


    1. P.S.

      Speaking of “What Really Happened?—Full Measure,”
      why not track down that talk-show-host interview of
      Obama’s paternal grandmother, in which she gleefully/
      strongly/breathlessly/pointedly bragged and celebrated
      —about having been at his birth . . . in Kenya ! (( note that
      his brother had produced a copy of Obama’s foot-
      printed!, KENYAN birth certificate—for the “I seeee nothhh-
      iiinnnggg!” MSM )).

      More, re O’s deviant past :


      1. I believe 0bama was born in Kenya and because Moslems do not like birth certificates, he does not have a birth certificate. You can get by with that in Kenya, but not the US.
        I believe 0bama is an Illegal Alien, he could have been a US Citizen (USC) because his mother was a US Citizen (USC)if she had filled out some paperwork when she got back to Hawaii. But since 0bama’s parents and grandparents were Commies & hated the US, I say she didn’t.
        I have been interested in 2 documents from 0bama’s life. His Selective Service Registration (SSR) being the first. All USC males must Register within 5 days of their 18th birthday. Failure to Register is a Felony. However, if he was not a citizen there is no problem. I have seen internet writings showing an SSR backdated from 2006, another Felony. This is the most interesting of the 2.
        The 2d Document is the passport used for his 1980s world tour. If was not a US passport, he is not a US citizen.

        Also, 0bama attended college in the US on a Fulbright Scholarship. There are 2 types of Fulbright Scholarships. 1, for US students to study in foreign countries, and 2. for foreign students to study in the US. My ultra Liberal US senator told me about the Fulbright scholarship, the rest I remember from years ago. I had written a letter to my Senator. The response was sarcastic and condescending and I was irritated. But before I could respond expressing displeasure at his response, I realized it was not important because he told me what I needed to know.

  2. I don’t understand why you did the Custer piece. If you had a point of view, it was missing. The poor soldiers? Poor Custer? Just following orders is tragic sometimes? Battles are inhumane and so is the clean-up? And you only interviewed a white guy, yikes
    Isn’t the truth that taking their land and the corraling Native Americans onto barren lands was and remains an american tragedy, a shameful chapter in our history? We may explain our behavior then, but we can never defend it.

    1. You definitely are missing the point. Point of view? If you want your news to tell you what to think there are plenty of places to get that. But a lot of people actually prefer to think for themselves.
      Also racist comments aren’t welcome here… please take note

    1. Walter H,

      Regarding that book, keep in mind
      how greatly Custer was disliked by
      certain power centers in post UN-
      NECESSARY-War America.

      At which point, in America’s history,
      had use of FALSE Flags been em-
      ployed—Fort Sumter?

      What had Indians EXCHANGED for
      those Henry repeating rifles ?

      silver/gold (( not enough on hand! )) ?

      Wampum (( beads )) ?

      Scalps ?

      That they had been supplied those
      ADVANTAGEOUS rifles is a very BIG
      RED FLAG, re a purposeful set-up!
      —as an excuse to bend the public to
      slaughtering and corralling “savages,”
      and removing Custer from competition
      with fellow, ladder-climbing officers ?


      1. P.S.

        Sharyl and Full Measure Team,

        Re: Truth in American History

        [[ copy to paper, then remove this report ]]

        Victors write their self-flattering history!, re Lincoln
        and the insanity that had followed HIS own insanity
        (( where are those transcripts of Lincoln’s MEDIUM-
        Guided sessions with his mentally ill wife—records
        of what he was advised to do ( advice from a spirit! ),
        about an independent/self-governed/constitutional
        and economically successful South ? )).

        “Lincoln Lied!,” is the best that can be said of him,
        and the bloody carnage he and his administration
        eventuated (( keep in mind, he wished to avoid war!,
        but his Marxian advisers — to include those taunting/
        E M O T I N G “Friends”/Quaker women, and those
        Forty-Eighter Marxists from their failed Europe-wide
        revolution infecting Lincoln’s administration — lusted
        after blood and bone and rotting flesh throughout the
        land, pitting brother against brother and father against
        son and wife against husband )).

        No less, that warring movement wished to FORCE the
        integration of incompatible races!—and had LIED to
        effect that end (( Quaker women and men had worked
        behind the turbulent scenes to embrace Indians into
        whites’ colonies; and, so, to this day, hide the truth
        about those “Noble Savages”; and recall Glenn Beck’s
        recounting of Indians beginning their warring against
        whites—because White Missionaries had dared to try
        and dissuade the Blackfeet Indians and other Native
        Tribes from torturing, by S K I N N I N G Alive !, their
        captive enemy-Indians )).

        My essay reveals the (closer) truth of it :

                       — MYTH OF THE ‘NOBLE SAVAGE’ —

        Natural law doesn’t defer to the “make love not war” utopian-
        ism of weak-minded libertine liberalism.

        Witness only the dimming lamp of reason to explain America’s
        growing social tragedies and Lady Liberty’s emotional beck-
        oning to the world’s poor and hungry.

        America’s “melting pot” once meant the enculturation of all
        immigrants into its own brand of Western civilization; an
        unmatched and much envied Eurocentric culture.

        Too many of today’s immigrants, Native Americans, African-
        Americans, and their left-wing supporters are only self-
        promoting multiculturalists.  They demand cultural diversity
        and practice revisionist history, making white pioneers
        appear as destroyers rather than sowers of high-cultured
        civilization in an untamed, savage land.

        One such myth arising from this clash of cultures is that
        American Indians were noble people and victims of white
        tyranny; much like how some blacks mythologize that ancient
        Egyptian culture was an example of black culture.  Native
        Americans and their liberal supporters present pre-colonial
        America as a pristine land of peace-loving, humanitarian,
        animal-loving, and deeply philosophical tribes of Indians,
        whose benevolent and earth-loving ways stand in stark
        contrast to low-brow white conquerors—as if Western civil-
        ization were not preeminent and grand when it found these
        shores, compared with the primitiveness and savagery of
        North American Indians (study the history of the savage

        The Sioux, for example, were fierce fighters of other Indian
        tribes (Yes, Native Indians actually battled one another and
        used torture and atrocities to make a point).  They expanded
        their territories over their neighbors by war—terrorizing
        and torturing their captives, and enslaving women and child-
        ren.  They lived and died at the whim of nature, gorging
        themselves when game was plentiful and starving when it was

        Indian villages were rife with human and dog excrement and
        rotting scraps of meat.  The early trappers recorded that
        Indian villages’ stench could be smelled miles away.  Wher-
        ever they made camp they denuded the environment and killed
        any edible game in site.  Read Lewis and Clark’s journal
        entry of May 29th, 1805:

               “We passed the remains of a vast many mangled
                carcasses of buffalo, which had been driven
                over a precipice of 120 feet by the Indians
                . . . they created a most horrid stench.  In
                this manner, the Indians of the Missouri
                destroy vast herds of buffalo at a stroke.”  

        That doesn’t sound like the environmentally friendly and
        animal-loving portrayal liberals give us (Thomas Jefferson’s
        description of Native Indians reads, “merciless Indian

               The multiculturalism touted today is absent
               any truthful rendering of minorities’ his-
               toric cultures, and goes to great lengths
               in presenting Western culture in the worst
               possible light.  But America is not a multi-
               cultured nation.  This is a nation comprised
               of a dominant First Culture of Anglo-Saxons
               and a small but growing collective of minor
               cultures, whose people would divide America
               by promoting what they sought to escape in
               coming here—escaping the bad characteris-
               tics of the governments and cultures from
               which they fled, seeking the safety of white
               men’s high-culture culture.

        The ideas “nation” and “multiculturalism” are antithetical!
        A multi-cultured nation is doomed unless the dominant host
        culture remains strong and monolingual in integrating
        diverse subcultures.  America must shed its emotionalism and
        left-wing low culture to embrace again the rationalism that
        gave birth to this nation.

        Lady Liberty’s emotional plea must not subdue reason in con-
        trolling both immigration and the spread of multicultural-
        ism—nor should America’s white First Culture surrender to
        the cultural proclivities of “noble” savages.


        1. The Sioux had near annihilated the North Dakota Chippewa Tribes and the 3 Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara).
          None of the tribes mentioned above joined the Sioux for the Keystone Pipeline Protest: read Riot.

          Custer’s scouts were probably Mandan Indians, they are buried in the Mandan portion of that Reservation. After they had positioned themselves on the flats of the hill, they changed into their Indian clothes. They knew what was going to happen and were going to die as Mandan warriors. A cavalry officer was upset with them thinking they had planned to blend in with the Sioux and escape. It doesn’t work that way as there is a marked physical difference. Bloody Knife the leader of the Scouts had somehow left a message.
          “I shall not see you (Sun) go down tonight … I am going home today, not the way we came but in spirit.. Home to my people”.
          Crazy Horse had this to say before the battle.
          “Ho-ka hey! It is a good day to fight! It is a good day to die. Strong Hearts, Brave Hearts to the front! Weak Hearts and Cowards to the rear”!


  4. I have walked the Custer Battlefield many times and read pretty much every text published on the battle. I also have talked personally to the archilogical expert who was permitted to do a dig on the battlefield following the grassfire around 1985. The person briefing you on the battle was not correct. The dig revealed that Custer’s group–split off from Benteen and Reno–conducted a well organized defense against the Indians, but were eventually overwhelmed. Also, the soldiers rifles were breechloader standard-issue and had the advantage of range. The Henry rifles were rapid-fire, but only useful up close, and the Indians therefore were stood off successfully by organized counter assaults. However, they figured out they needed to crawl up to within range and then use the rapid fire of the Henry’s to full effect. Eventually Custer’s split off group, waiting for Benteen to ‘come quick’ (which he never did, and possibly justifiably so; and possibly because he hated Custer), was overwhelmed by superior numbers. Custer was a tremendoulsly brave fighter who risked his life at the front of his men throughout the truly important war of that century for America, the Civil War. He kept the flank at Gettysburg from being turned by Jeb Stuart and thus contributed mightily to saving the Union. The battles of the Indian Wars were mere skirmishes compared to the battles of the Civil War. Custer was called upon to do what the government mandated with regard to removing the backwards tribal people–few in numbers–on the frontiers of the expanding nation. It was not particularly just, but neither was the sacking of my Anglo-Saxon ancestors’ homes in England long before I was born. Custer was not a ‘bad guy’–he earned his national hero stripes in the critical war for America’s future in the 19th Century–the Civil War. Custer bashing wins you points with grievance industry, but most of us have had enough of that crowd. We’re all Americans now, and we should pull together as such.

    1. Re: Grassfire, I believe it was at least 3 or 4 years earlier because I was there after the grassfire, but not as late as 1985. There had been a ‘lost company’ as they were called. The fire revealed they had been killed in a ravine between 2 slopes running from the flats to the valley.
      Back then you could stand where the ravine it the valley. If you looked up, I could see where men had to be positioned there to keep the Indians from crawling up that ravine to the top. Troopers from the top could provide a measure of cover for them. Mutually supporting fire. You would need special permission to stand in the same spot and you will not see it unless you stand there.

      Wasn’t Custer part of a 3 pronged attack on the Sioux and allied tribes. The first column was marching northward. I forget about the 2d column, Custer was the 3d column and they were to meet in that area. I remember reading that the first column fought a major battle with Indians and depleted their ammo supplies and returned to the fort they had recently departed. Custer ended up facing them alone,

      I remember Custer’s men had used pocket knives, spoons, anything they had to unjam their weapons. A very common problem in Vietnam.

      1. You are probably correct about the grass fire. I don’t remember the exact date, but only the important point that it made the new dig desireable, and it occurred. The gentleman who did the dig stated in my discussions with him that he was amazed at how much was still laying there on the battlefield pretty much untouched. I specifically asked him about the jamming weapons, too, and he told me that there was little to no evidence of that being a problem, which he concluded from his analysis of the numerous shell casings he found on the battlefield. Indeed there were three prongs closing on the various tribes. One was turned back after Crazy Horse’s attack a bit further south. I believe, but could be wrong, that this was the Rosebud fight. Check that to be sure. I have had always had an interest in the battle because Custer has been maligned throughout history and I do not believe that is justified in the least. Since the 1960s (early) he has been manufactured into this horrible villian. Through most of US post-Civil War history it was understood that his daring exploits during the truly important war of the 1800s, the Civil War, estabished him as an incredibly brave and essential war-time leader. Few know that he spoke before Congress and critisized the Indian Agent’s treatment of the Indians; that they were ripping them off and treating them poorly. He is instead treated as a rapid “Indian Hater,” and that is not even close to the full picture. The tactics of the time were very harsh, to be sure. Nothing on the Indian frontier, however, even came close to the brutality and slaughter of but a few years before during the Civil War. The Indian Wars were but a mere brushfire; a page in the history of the United States. The Civil War was, of course, multiple chapters. I have always liked studying Custer’s Last Stand because no one knows for sure what really happened to his troop. It is all pieced together with no real assurance any of us have it right. Was he wounded down by the river? Or did he die commanding a ‘hold-in-place’ defense as he awaited Benteen, and Benteen stopped to save Reno’s troops who were in a bad spot (Benteen was credited with saving those soldiers, but could he have done more to help Custer? Maybe. Maybe not.) It has always been my thesis that the number of warriors present was grossly underestimated by Custer, and that led to his demise. It is great to disucss this with another interested party.

    2. I believe Custer was killed or mortally wounded with the initial shots fired. When caught in a situation like that the usual rule for Cavalry was a retreat or flee if you will. Shoot your way out and use your sword to slash your way out. Yes, they knew they would lose men to death and capture. But that was better than the whole unit.

      They went to the kill, shot their horses to create an embankment. Custer was too experienced in combat to order that.

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