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Review of Custer of Big Horn (With General Custer at the Little Big Horn)
Lem Hawks, a civilian scout attached to General George Armstrong Custer, is attracted to Betty Rossman, the daughter of a pioneer. Rivaling Lem for Betty's affections is Captain Page, who serves under Custer. Unknown to Custer, Cheyenne Chief Little Horse meets with Sioux leader Gall, who is wanted by the Army, and Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull, who is known as "the brains of the Sioux nation." Worried about the loss of their buffalo and lands, the Indian leaders form an alliance to fight the white man. Learning that Gall is in the area, Custer sends Lem to the warrior's encampment. Lem tries to persuade Gall to discuss peace with Custer, and although Gall adamantly refuses the offer, an Indian named Bear promises Lem that Gall will visit the general. Lem returns to Custer with the news, unaware that Page and his men have surrounded and bayoneted Gall. When he hears of Gall's injury, Custer is outraged, but Page replies, "A dead Indian is a good Indian." The attack on Gall rallies the Sioux to action, and they launch a series of attacks on homesteads and wagon trains. One evening, while Page romances a married woman at a dance, Lem enters with the news that the Indians are on the warpath. As Custer spreads word of the situation among his officers, Lem dances with Betty. This enrages Page, who blames Lem for the injury to Gall. The two men fight, but Custer, reporting that he has been ordered to pursue the Indians located by Major Reno's scouting party, urges them to put their argument aside. In the meantime, there is a war council between the Sioux and the Cheyenne. The whites must go, they maintain, so that the Indian can roam the plains freely. A war dance is then performed to the accompaniment of drum playing and singing, but later, having been notified that U.S troops are approaching, the Indians ride away. Back at the post, Page apologizes for having resorted to lying in his courtship of Betty. As she bids Lem farewell, Betty begs him to return to her. The troops depart, with Reno in the lead, Captain Benteen to the left, and Custer to the northern end of the Indian village. During the battle between Custer and the Indians, Page dies in Lem's arms. Lem rides to notify General Terry of their plight, but by the time Terry's advance guard reaches the battlefield, Custer and his men are dead. Sitting Bull is captured and confined to a reservation until his death. Lem then returns to Betty and they embrace.