Showdown at Little Big Horn

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On Sunday afternoon, June 25, 1876, Gen. George Custer and 264 members of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry engaged more than 3,000 warriors of the Lakota Sioux, Arapaho, and Cheyenne nations and were killed in the ensuing battle.

Acclaimed historian Dee Brown traces the events of that day and of the weeks before, through the eyes and ears of seventeen participants from both sides, including Natives, scouts, soldiers, and civilians.

Why did Custer divide his forces? Why did he not take his regiment’s Gatling guns? Why did he expect Sitting Bull to surrender without a fight? How did Sitting Bull’s vision at the sun dance on the Rosebud foretell the occasion and the outcome of the battle? How did war chiefs Crazy Horse and Gall take advantage of Custer’s tactical errors? And why did they preserve Custer’s body from mutilation?

Showdown at Little Big Horn answers these and other questions, telling the story of the fight from many points of view, based on reports, diaries, letters, and testimony of the participants themselves. Together the accounts provide a gripping narrative of a punitive expedition gone badly awry and an assemblage of Native peoples who forestalled for a while the army’s domination of the northern plains.

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Editorial Reviews

Roundup Magazine

"A very powerful story that draws one in much the same way as a good novel: by evoking the sights, the smells, the noise, and the desperation of the battle. This is essential history for the Custer buff, or anyone interested in the Indian Wars on the Plains."—Roundup Magazine
Roundup Magazine

"A very powerful story that draws one in much the same way as a good novel: by evoking the sights, the smells, the noise, and the desperation of the battle. This is essential history for the Custer buff, or anyone interested in the Indian Wars on the Plains."—Roundup Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803262188
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 220
  • Sales rank: 804,459
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Dee Brown (1908–2002) was the author of thirty books of nonfiction and fiction about the American West, including the international bestseller Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. His books The Gentle Tamers: Women of the Old Wild West, The Galvanized Yankees, and The Fetterman Massacre, are all available in Bison Books editions.
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Table of Contents

1. Mark Kellogg, May 11, 1876 7
2. Sergeant John Ryan, May 15 19
3. George Armstrong Custer, May 17 25
4. Surgeon James DeWolf, May 18-26 40
5. Charley Reynolds, May 27-June 7 55
6. General Alfred H. Terry, June 8-20 68
7. George Armstrong Custer, June 21-22 78
8. Lieutenant Edward Godfrey, June 22-25 86
9. Trumpeter John Martin, June 25, 8 A.M.-12 noon 95
10. Major Marcus Reno, June 25, 12 noon-3 P.M. 103
11. Sitting Bull, June 25, 6 A.M.-4 P.M. 113
12. Foolish Bear, June 25, 3 P.M.-4 P.M. 124
13. Trooper John Sivertsen, June 25, 3 P.M.-4 P.M. 129
14. Trumpeter John Martin, June 25, 2:15 P.M.-5 P.M. 140
15. Bobtail Horse, June 25, afternoon 152
16. Mark Kellogg, June 25, 4 P.M.-6 P.M. 161
17. Crazy Horse. June 25, 3 P.M.-sundown 169
18. Trooper Thomas O'Neill, June 25-26 184
19. Lieutenant Edward Godfrey, June 27-28 198
20. Comanche, June 28, 1876-April 10, 1878 213
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