Project Description

CustersLastStand
“What’s best about “Custer’s Last Stand’’ is how it puts Custer’s career and his posthumous reputation into a larger cultural context.” – Boston Globe
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Custer’s Last Stand, a 90-minute documentary film for PBS broadcast, will take a probing look at the extraordinary life and mythic afterlife of one of the most controversial figures in American history – George Armstrong Custer. Made famous by his last stand at the battle of the Little Bighorn in the summer of 1876, Custer has long been one of the most celebrated, and vilified, figures in American history. From his storied and charismatic Civil War career, that made him the youngest brigadier General in the Union army, to his reinvention as a Western hero, a renowned Indian fighter and avatar of Manifest Destiny, to his final martyrdom at the hands of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors on the banks of the Little Bighorn, Custer has exerted a powerful pull on our minds and our hearts. Underneath the stereotypical images of Custer however, lies another less well-known saga, of a man whose astonishing early success would result in a perpetual drive for continuing fame and notoriety, a restless striving to recapture the glory of his first youthful military adventures. Along the way, Custer would be a man whose career would often careen from crisis to triumph to crisis again, as his profoundly human flaws would often sabotage his almost superhuman talents. His would be a story of often tortured personal relationships and violently clashing attitudes, of fateful decisions and missed opportunities, of strategic blunders, and fatal miscommunication. Ultimately, it would be Custer’s wife Libbie who would help to promote and enshrine the Custer myth in America’s consciousness, making her slain husband into both a mythic hero and an ideal lens through which to see and understand the contradictions and casualties of America’s drive to become a continental nation.