expressed in terms of pure mathematics. pure mathematical are very difficult to imagine or visualize, and when you get to the string theory or m f ury it is difficult to know is the scientist speculating or is it something that can be proved and i think it is a very big dilemma. and i have one more thing, very important, which i call displacement and this bares on the two. one of the things that has happened since copernicus' removed the earth from the center of the solar system etc., the simons has displaced us more and more in terms of time, how small we are in terms of the universe, how irrelevant we are to the universe, that is to say the very, very small, and also to the very, very big, and also in terms of time and evolution. ..
on behalf of the tattered cover bookstore, i want to welcome you to tonight's program. the rocky mountain land series continuings at two o'clock tomorrow afternoon as historian marsha discusses her new book, "dreaming of sheep in navajo country." a look at a collision of cultures on the navajo reservation during the new deal days of the 1930s.
tonight we'll happy to return that than yal. he's the author of several gooks including the best selling "mayflower" and "sea of glory." along as the winner of the national book war, "the tragedy of the sea." with this new book, he applies the same exhaustive research and remarkable story telling skills to one of the most iconic events in the history of the american west. that day in june 1876 when lives and cultures on verged along the -- converged along the little big horn river in central montana. please join me in welcoming
nathanial philbrig. it's great to be in this space. ten years ago when the book just came out, he was here when i heard the book hit the best seller list. i love you guys. i love this store. [laughter] it really is a thrill to be back. now, i am known primarily for books about the sea, but long before i moved to nantucket island back in 1986, i was a 14-year-old high school freshman in the maritime center of the universe in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. when was in pittsburgh when i saw "little big man." oh, my gosh, i can still remember everything of the two hours, dustin hoffman, customer as a deranged maniac. it blue my -- blew my head of.
i was captured by this. what was this all about? in the 1980s when some of the morning came out, this story made me think, boy, i'd like to return to that someday, and then in 2006 when i was finishing mayflower, in that book i write about the iconic book that many americans associate with the beginning of this country, the pilgrims and the voyage of the may flower. then i realized the story doesn't end with the first thanksgiving. i took it to the first time when innative conflict e resulted known as -- erupted to which many americans know nothing about. we think of the civil war being the bloodiest, but when you look
at the percentage of population killed, king fill lip's -- phillip's war was twice as deadly. this is my take on the iconic beginning. where does this process lead? where does the push west across this continent leave in an iconic sense? it leads to the battle of the little big horn. i got up the courage to tackle this event that turned custer and sitting bull into american icons. we, americans # -- americans, are infatuated with the frontier. it's how we define ourselves and how we are different from other nations. we all know about the american west, but long before there was the cowboy and indians resinating in the mythic imagination of america. there was the wilderness of the
sea. it was the sea where americans and whale ships went to the corners of the seven seas, china traders were going into the exotic far east. this is where america was emerging as a world power. with this book, i wanted to trace the continuities of the wilderness of the west and the sea. i have to say after four years of research in writing, i have come to feel this book is not a departure for me, but a culmination. as soon as i got out to the south central montana in 2006, i felt this oceanianic sense of vastness. the big sky is like being at sea, and none other than custer, my life on the plains would compare the rolling greens of kansas to stationary ways.
it's a version of reality that seems to really persist across the sea to the terrestrial interyour of this country. now, the battle of the little bighorn is one battle. he sited a huge lakota village under sitting bull. in the dawn hours, they were up on the wolf mountains about 15 miles to the east of the little bighorn valley. because of the intervening bluffs, they could not see the village directly, but saw smoke in the morning air and saw evidence of a huge pony herd, as many as 20,000 horses ranging up and down the valley. they felt this was all the evidence they needed to know there was a large number of
indians. ex-was skeptical, but when they were spotted and it was realized that soldiers had been seen and the element of surprise was no longer there, custer decided to attack whatever was done there. now, calvary officer in the midwest was concerned not by the size, but the village would disperse before they could attack it. they used the term scatter asian. if they were given a moments head start, a village could fragment in an instant, and there was nothing for the military to attack. that was the biggest concern. as they made their way into the valley, his scouts said, yes, that was indeed the case. the village was fragmenting. as a consequence, custer divided his regimen of 650 soldiers into
three battalions. he led a battalion of 210 soldiers. his second in command had a smaller battalion, and another captain took another battalion. one team swung left, another charged down the little bighorn valley towards the unseen village, and it was custer and his 210 men who would first get the clear view of the village. they would swing right into the bluffs that overlooked the valley. we know from a message that he would soon send towards the other battalion to come quick. he was exalted when he got a glimpse of the village that was not dispersing, just sitting there in the valley. he said, we got them boys, they are sleeping. this will be over quick, and
we'll be on our way to the station. they would continue north over an intervening bluff and never be seen alive again by the rest of the regimen because some of renauds men saw custer waving his hat. it's not until he was right on the village that they caught a glimpse of the village. he saw enough evidence that it was big and perhaps there was a trap that he stopped throughout the squirmish line, and instead of charging in, paused, and the men fired ineffectively towards the village that was still several hundred yards away. as it turned out, sitting bull, a lakota, was in the village to the south right there when attacked. one the great surprises i had in the research was to learn when the first bullets were beginning to fly, sitting bull's initial response was not to attack in time, but because he stopped to
throw out that squirmish line, he wondered if the soldiers wanted to negotiate instead of fight. he would tell his nephew, one bull, take the rifle, give one bull his own shield and say see if they want to negotiate. one bull would approach the line, bullets would continue to fly. one of his best friends' got a bullet through the head, and it was clear negotiation was not an option. only then did sitting bull say, okay, let's attack. it would be crazy horse who would really take over and be one the leading leaders when it came to the actual fighting of the battle of lig bighorn. he would slow the young warriors down as the soldiers were firing away, and eventually lead a charge that would send the troops reeling. they would retreat in chaos, no effort was made to cover this
retreat, go across the river, and up on to a bluff to the south. by this time, batene who got to note to come quick was making his way towards custer. they didn't like custer. you loved or hated him. these two men hated him. they were doing everything they could to dad l even though the message said come quick. he said, i've lost half my command, stay with me for awhile. they waited for an hour until a younger officer went north and look to the north on a peak. in the distance, about three miles away was a huge dust and smoke cloud. they could see hundreds, perhaps thousands of warriors, but they weren't sure what was going on. then they saw this huge amount of warriors come towards them like a title wave, and they
realized they were in trouble. they need to go to ground to defend themselves. they would retreat south and begin one the great seizes of the american west. they held off thousands of lakota in cheyenne. by that time, you know, they were in terrible shape. they were hungry, suffering from dee hydration, but they had no idea in custer wasment he said, well, we're not sure, but there's a couple hundred dead bodies over there, and that's probably where custer would be. he refused to believe it. he went to look himself, and there he was with 210 of his men dead. now, this would be begin the myth as we know as custer's last
stand. it was a conviction working on this book that we all know about custer's last stand, and we'll talk about that more later on. this is also the last stand for the lakota and cheyenne because although it was a great victory, it was just the beginning of a process to end their traditional life. within years they were on reservation, sitting bull was the last to vender. after several years of exile, he veppedded and would end up at the standing rock sioux agency. after two tours of the country, by this time he's one the famous people in america, one with buffalo bill cody's wild west show. sitting bull would return to the reservation. that was enough of it. he was sort of on reconnaissance
missions to see what his people were up against. he would fall prey to the machinations of the superintendent of the sioux rock agency to undercut the power within the tribe. in 1890, his people's fortunes were at an all time low. they were starving. disease was spreading across all the tribes in the northern plains when a new religious movement, the ghost dance, sprung up among the tribes. they were hoping a earth would smuggle the whites and spring up the buffalo who by then virtually disappeared and then all the native peoples would be reunited by their an zesters. sitting bull was interested in this spiritual possibility, and the superintendent decided that sitting bull was a danger and
might lead an insurrection spawned by this religious movement. he ordered his release. lakota police were sent to his cabin, and in the early morning darkness of 1980, shots were fired out when the arrest was attempted and sitting bull and several of his family members would die. that's 14 years after custer's last stand that sitting bull suffered his own last stand. it's impossible to understand the one without the other. now, tonight, i'd like to show you some slides. some of them are historic photographs. other are lakota and cheyenne pick -- pichtgraphs as well as other pictures i took from 2007. i'd like to read you a passage first from the last tanned. this is from the preface.
we think of custer as the world's biggest loser, but the fact of the matter during the civil war, he was one the greatest officers the union army had. in fact, general sheridon said no officer deserves this more than your husband. the war ended, and custer who finished last in his class at westpoint had nothing left to do. during the war, he wrote to a friend saying i could have a battle every day, i would be a happy man. he loved war. he had this romantic vision of himself as a cavalier leading his men into death, and when the war ended, he was at lose ends. he was begin command of the 7th call vary stationed in the --
calvary stationed in kansas. by this time, he was what some people call a cavalier in buckskin. he moved over to that natural look. he had a pack of english greyhounds. he cut quite the figure. they were in pursuit of the cheyenne in spring of 1867 on the plains of kansas. they were making a mockery of custer's attempts to bring them in. they were moving along with custer's dogs see a group of antelope. they take off in pursuit. custer decides to follow them for fun. he leaves the regimen, and he's soon swallowed up in the rolling green terrain and completely lost. it's then he tells us in his own account of this incident in my life on the plains, a book that frederick renamed my lie on the plains --
[laughter] that it was then as he's chasing the antelope and dogs that he sees his first buffalo. he would see thousands of buffalo in the years to come, but never as large as this. he decided to chase the buffalo. in the two years since lee surrenders, custer came to long for the battlefield. only amid the smoke, blood, and confusion of war had his ambitious mind found peace, but now in the spring of 1867 as his trusted horse galloped within shooting range of the buffalo began to feel some of the old wild joy. amid the beat of hoofs and the blast of air through his horses nostrils emerged the presence of the buffalo, ancient, vast, and impossibly strong in its thundering charge across the plains. he couldn't help by shout with
excitement. he held out the pistol and started to plunge the barrel into the fur only to withdraw the weapon so as to prolong the enjoyment of the race. after several more minutes of pursuit, he decided it was finally time for the kill. once again, he pushed the gun into the pelt as if sensing custer's intentions, he turned toward the horse. it all happened in an instant. the horse veered away, and when custer tried to grab the reigns, his finger pulled the trigger and fired a bullet into the horse's head killing him instantly. he had just enough time to get off the horse, struggled to his feet and faced his first wild prey. instead of charging, the buffalo stared at the strange outlandish
national hero, known as the boy general. here he is. this is someone who came to manhood during the four years of terrible conflict. now, look at this guy. he's got his boots, his gauntlet, he's got that -- that's a red tie. that's custer's trademark. he worked hard at perfecting this outfit, and it's not an accident that his best friend in life would become lawrence barret, an actor. he was acting all the time. this is the perfect outfit to lead your man into battle. that red tie he took with him to the west, known as the two stars of the major general, this is custer, the hero of the civil war, and this is custer nine years later now a great american hero of the west. this was taken in 1874. notice how a mountain man has
taken over the cheeks there. he's in buckskin, reclining on his chair beside his favorite scout's bloody knife who is pointing to the map on his knees. notice the dugs at his feet, and notice that rifle to his right, he'll carry that into the battle of little bighorn. this was taken in a black hills expedition of 1894. it was to find the location of a possible fork in the black hills. this is lakota land, the holiest of holy. he brought along a newspaper reporter and two gold propeck tores who would discover gold, and soon the black hills would be flooded with more than 10,000 gold miners, just a year before a terrible financial crisis had hit america. the panic of 1973, the --
1873. the national debt was more than $2 billion, a huge sum then. as the government knew from past experiences, there was nothing like a gold rush to get the economy back on track. the grand administration had a problem on its hands. this was lakota land. what do we do? use the military to get the miners out, or use the military to convince the lakota to sell the land? that is exactly what happened when after the fall of 1875, lakota refused to sell. a campaign would be launched in 1876 of which the battle of the little bighorn that would bring the lakota and cheyenne in and force the sale of the black hills. this is sitting bull, custer's opponent as the little big horn. this was taken after his surrender in 1881.
he was put under arrest and taken to fort randall well to the south of the rock sioux agency on the missouri river. he was finally released allowed to return to his people. this picture was taken during the voyage up the river on a steam boat. they stopped at one point, and this picture was taken. notice the butterfly pinned to his hat. this is a pick toe graph. this is what he gave to his nef view, one bull. he's on a one on one encounter with the chief. sitting bull was 25 at this time. you can see this personal logo up top there, and sitting bull would prevail, killing the chief, but suffered a bullet to his foot, and he would limp for the rest of his life as a
consequence. this is white bull. this is sitting bull's other nephew who would be at the bit l of little bighorn. he got seven battle honors, a very brave warrior, and in the 1930s he was interviewed by walter campbell who eventually would have a biography written. the transcripts are at the university of oklahoma. they are a treasure-trove of information when it comes to the life the sitting bull. this is his brother, one bull, the one who took the shield towards the squirmish line, and of the two brothers, he was the more spiritual one. much of his testimony is about his uncle's great visionary power, and in fact, just a week before the battle of little bighorn during a sun dance, one the most sacred of the
ceremonies, he had a vision upside down of falling into camp, which was a sign of great victory that was indeed to come. this is a photograph taken just a year before the battle of little bighorn during a picnic with custer and several of the officers in the 7th calvary on the heart river just 11 miles from the fort lincoln. there's a lot of interesting body language going on here. custer's in the center in the white buckskin suit. notice how his arms are looking away. that's his wife to the right. see that debonair guy dressed in back, that's miles. not too long after he admonished libby for writing him a letter,
and one wonders if there's a little tension there. custer and libby idealized their relationship, but this didn't prevent custer from fooling around a lot. they had ambitions that were more important than all of that. custer's mortal fame kept the marriage together, and libby worked overtime after his death into the 1930s to be sure he would be remembered as how she wanted him to be remembered. far right looking towards the camera with a wide hat in captain tom custer, and seated to the left on the grass with a great shaggy side burns is lieutenant cook, a canadian. over to the left sitting on the grass is boston custer, customer's other younger brother, and then all the way to the left with the white hat
looking towards the camera is custer's brother-in-law, lieutenant calhoun married to his sister maggie. there were five custer family members killed at the little bighorn. most of the men you see here would die there. during my research trip in 2007, i traced the path of custer's regimen west more than 300 files of fort lincoln into the montana territory, and the greenness you see here would have been through 1876, both years, 2007, and 1874 were very wet springs. now, custer, the only way custer was able to conduct a battle that far into such a remote location in south central montana where there were no forts or towns is they were provided with am mu nices --
ammunitions with a boat that made its way up the river. that's still like that today without any dams. it was at the yellowstone that the column would rendezvous with this. this is a missouri river boat. far west, you know, who thought there would be a boat in the story, but it's a very important aspect of this battle because it was on this vessel 190 feet long, very powerful steam driven engines. when this boat was going against the current, every part of the boat was shaking, and it was said they could go through 30 tons of wood a day. i mean, just the devastation as they chopped down cotton wood trees along the river for
incredible, and it could take 2 other tons of cargo and still only have three feet of draft to go just about anywhere, and sometimes that wasn't enough. when it grounded on a sand bar, see the bars up in the bow? they would swing the bars forward, drive it in the tip of the telephone phone pull-like bar, and that's attached there in the bow, steam powered, they were wrench the bow of the boat up into the air as the stern wheel drove the boat over the bar. this looked so much like an insect up there on its little legs lurching over the shallows of the river. they called it grass hopperring. this truly an invasive species of empire. [laughter] the far west made its way to the con fliewns of the rose bud river. this is the rose bed in the
yellow zone. not large by any means. it was on board the far west that customer would have its last strategic meeting with the commander of the column, general alfred tear -- terry. originally custer was going to lead the campaign, but in the months before this campaign, he was asked to testify before senate committee looking into corruption in grant's republican administration. custer only had here se to report, but he suggested that grant's brother had done some bad things when it came to the indian department. this infuriated grant. apparently all presidents have younger brothers that get them into trouble. [laughter] he stripped custer of this
campaign and started terry as the head of the campaign. when he started from the far west in june in 1976, it was terry's orders that he was under, and three and a half days after beginning the march up this rose bud river, they would meet sitting bull's village on little bighorn. this is a picture of the rose bud. i was led here following the path by a superintendent of the battlefield. before i get to that, this is the guy who enabled custer to locate the village. he was an interpreter, married a crow woman, and drew an alliance with his wife's people. they formed an allegiance with the u.s. government in hopes of
staving off the lakota who encroached on more and more of their land in previous decades. i think those are two blue jays on the head gear. mitch would die at the little bighorn, and i think it's, you know, it really is em beliematic of someone caught between two warring cultures. as we made our way up to the rose bud, we came across the first camp sight. it was soon after this that we came upon the small one room cabin. jim pulls the car over and said take a look at this. i said, yep. he said, well, read what it says #. it says philbrick's school of 1894. i said where does that come from? [laughter]
he said i don't know, but i thought it was of interest. a rancher explained in the years after the battle, three white families moved into the valley. the bailey's, another family, and the philbricks. they had sheep. i had no idea. [laughter] i took this picture at the little bighorn national monument. i'm looking at what is now known as last stand hill. you can see a fence surrounding 40 graves. those are the soldiers who died around the hill along with most of custer's family members. on the other side of the hill is a relatively new native memorial to the lakota and cheyenne war yores who died. there's a new campaign to mark those sites.
i got my back to the little bighorn valley where the village was located. when i was there, i attended a reenactment at the property of a family who owns the land where the lakota village was located. you can see the fan stands there. that's the little big horn river. it's a winding waterway. every spring it changes as the run and snow melt makes its jump boundaries. that cut bank in the distance is basically the direction of last stand hill. this is a picture i took of the reenactment. the riding schools of all involved were very impressive, and it's just amazing to be there with the battlefield spread out before you watching the reenactment. now, this is a pichtograph.
that's crazy horse in the center of the picture. these are very important pieces of evidence. i was amazed by how much seeing this helped my understanding of the battle. this included a lot of concrete detailed information as to how people were dressed, how the ponies and horses were tricked out, and, you know, you can see here the panic with which the men retreated before crazy horse and his lakota and cheyenne warriors who followed him. crazy horse was not the only warrior who took a leading role during the battle, and this is yellow nose who i regard as one the unharrelled heros of the battle. this is on a page of a ledger book. ledger book art was common among the native americans of the
west. a ledger book was secured as a trading post, and the book was used to record battle needs, and this was taken during custer's portion of the battle. yellow nose has taken the flag from one the custer's flag bearers, and he is now tapping, counting coo on the flag bearer. that was thought of of a much braver act than just killing your opponent, and many warriors commented on the bravery of when he counted coo. he would eventually make the way over to last stand hill towards the end of the fighting. he thought he may have been the one to kill custer given the description of the officer having a red and yellow bandanna. it was probably tom custer. custer's brother, and there's an ironic semitry in the fact that tom was the only soldier during
civil war to get two congressional medals of honor for taking the flag in both instances of a confederate flag bearer. this is another pichtograph, this is him ripping the leg back of one of the soldiers. this is a scene at the reenactment. the reenactment ended. they are watering their horses. you can see the gentlemen with the white hat and red tie, that's one of the foremost custer reenactors in the country. this is a different scene on the river. this is a picture of the retreat across the river. he made no attempt to cover the retreat, and as a consequence, the warriors could retreat in
and out among the fleeing soldiers. this was a bad bottleneck. you can see the carnage that resulted. this is a picture of me at the little bighorn battlefield. this is my second time on a horse. [laughter] i was a little concerned when our guide, charlie rialberg, explained that this was tom cat, a former rodeo horse. [laughter] he said, don't worry, he's 27 years old. [laughter] we are on weir peak, the height from which some of renauds officers were able to see the end of custer's portion of the battle. in the distance, you can see a distant grove of trees. that's where the interpretive center of the battlefield is.
these are huge distances involved in this battlefield, and charlie would lead us on a ride towards the portion of the battlefield, and this is a remarkable experience for me because you think you'd be on a horse on this relatively rolling terrain where you can pretty much see everything, but this is riddled with reveins and gulches, and you get swallowed up by it. many times, you can't see a thing. there are microtheaters within this battlefield so things could happen. on one portion of the battlefield you have no idea what's going on. we continued south to the portion of the battlefield and horses concerned me, but heights are really a concern. this trail led us to the edge of a precipice that i estimated went down several thousands feet to the little bighorn river. i was disappointed to hear it
was only 300 feet. [laughter] give me credit, i'm juggling a camera. i figured i might as well if i go over in my own blaze of glory, i'll have a picture of the event. [laughter] you can see it's beautiful country. every time i go to the battlefield, i've been there five times in four years, it's like i'm seeing it again for the first time. it packs an incredible emotional wallop, it's a haunted spiritual landscape that communicates the fact to me that something happened here back in 1876. remember, this is the centennial year of america, and custer's timing was something else because it wouldn't be until july 7, 1876, three days after the nation had celebrated the glorious centennial of its birth, when america had just had the civil war behind it, the west was about to be won, and
what did they learn? custer, one of america's most famous indian fighter and everyone in his immediate command was killed. the country goes how could this have happened? we've been trying to figure it out every since. i'd like to ens the talk -- end the talk with this image. this is a lakota boat. they took branches from a willow tree, a hide from a buffalo bull to construct this. they could be built very quickly and they enabled the lakota or two people at once to cross rivers with such strong currents that in many instances the american calvary felt they were uncrossable. to me, this is an image that speaks to the continuities i have found between the sea and the plains of the west when it comes to the story of america
because, you know, colonialism was the process going on all over the world in the 19th century. wars like the little bighorn were being fought in africa and the middle east. there's something different about the american version of the process. we're living with that legacy every day, and in many ways, nothing ended at the battle of the lig bighorn. the lakota had billy garnett, a lakota interpreter that claimed the first white man came from the sea, and said that the sea was also the home of another predator, the shark, in that the native americans living along the atlantic sea board had a word to shout out when their children were swimming in the surf and they needed to come in. it was a word of warning they used. this word worked its way west
like the white man, and the lakota shouted out that word when it was time for the children to come in. when the first bullets were fired in june 1876, there were many children swims in the little bighorn. i often wondered if that words was shouted out when the first bull lets flew. month prior to the battle, sitting bull was heard to say we're an island of indians in a lake of whites. in 1876 against all odds, sitting bull and lakota found a way to prevail against the shark infested sea. thank you very much. [applause]
>> yes, i'd be happy to try to answer your questions. okay. go ahead. >> yes, two questions. one, in your experience in doing the research, have any of the hollywood accounts of the various movies, what would be the best one that came closest to somewhat of a reality of what happened, and second point, if custer did not die at little bighorn, what kind of memory would we have of him today? >> very good questions. you know, hollywood's version of custer obviously changes to reflect in many ways where america is at that time, and, you know, i'd have to say that the one that i found most true
if you're going to do it is that the made for tv series for sun of the morning star, that was pretty true to life. they died with their boots on is amazingly authentic when it comes to the early custer at westpoint. you know, he was last in his class, not because he was stupid, but because he was having a good time. they really nailed it in that one. [laughter] no surprises there. now, what if custer hadn't died at the little bighorn? well, we would not be talking about him today. if he had o great victory, he would be a great general of the civil war. if you know the west, you know about him, but he is not the lightening rod of an icon. custer did the eldest thing. he died at 36, when he was still
a handsome man, although, i have to say we had this iconic image of him with his long blond hair with the sword going down, and they didn't have swords. they boxed those prior to the battle. prior to the battle before leaving fort lincoln, custer shaved his head along with another follow lickly challenged officer prior to leaving fort longes so he looked like nothing like we think he did. many of the warriors didn't recognize him initially because he didn't look that way. custer, it worked out. he wanted more than anything to be remembered, and because he died to speck spectacularly and because everyone in his command died, there always be that mystery about that that keeps us coming back.
>> you talked about arriving late on the scene or fashionably not arriving. wasn't he responsible for the train and was being held up for that rather than an expression that is animosity towards custer? >> yeah, during one point on the march, he was in charge of the train. not at this point though. custer's last meeting with the regimen on the divide, the wolf mountains, he said, okay, the first company to report ready to go will lead. that's the place you want to be. you get all the glory. he began to walk away and turned around and said, i'm ready. the officer he had the most difficulty of all ended up leaving. custer stopped, divided the
command and sent him to the left. the pack train was the 4th component of the regimen that was led by another officer, and it would be the last to end up reuniting with the two offerses. you know, it's interesting. two and a half years after the battle, there would be a inquiry into renauds's behavior. he would not be exonerated or condemned and general sheridan told everyone not to say anything that would impugn the regimen. that's of great value in many instances, but sometimes of limited help to identify what was going on. time motion analysis of the movements of the various battalions have in some instances suggested that he was kind of slow in coming up.
yes? >> i have a story to tell you. like you, little big man with a favorite movie. unlike you, they filmed it on location 10-15 miles south of billings, my home, along a creek called prayer creek which is five miles away from our junk zone where we sport parachuted. here we are, a bunch of kids. let's jump on site. we do. we parachute down, the pilot is making the airplane because if we're going to get qir rid about that, we're having engine problems, we wanted out before it crashed. anyway, we hit the ground and i'm probably from me to you,
dustin hoffman and another actor are filmed in a close up. it was exciting, nothing much happened. i saw him later on that night with his family at a restaurant, apologized for breaking up the shoot, and was disappointed i didn't have my shoot with him because that would have been a great autograph. next summer, they incited us to parachute in with the next shooting. >> thank you for sharing that. it was almost your last stand. [laughter] >> we visited little bighorn a few years ago, and the park rangers have their stories, but one talked about the technology you mentioned how they can track where a weapon was fired and trace that person. well, one of the things they told us was that the indians actually had more rifles than
the soldiers did. i noticed crazy horse was shown with a rifle in your picture. is that what you found? i haven't been able to read your book yet. >> one the primary finds of this is to show how massively custer's battalion was outgunned. in its wisdom, the american government had equipped the troopers of the call calvary with single shots. they made it a policy that they fire the weapons in target practice as little as possible to save ammunition. at the consequence, many of the new recruits had shot weapons only a handful of times. private peter thompson, an officer i concentrate in my account. i had access to an account written by his daughter who shows that he began keeping a
notebook about his memories weeks after the battle. he said he was scared spitless of this gun. i fired replicas. they are powerful weapons. i dislocated my jaw in trying to do it. they are hard to reload if you're new to the weapon. the lakota recognized the weapon of choice was the repeating firing weapon. they got hundreds of them when it came to the thousands of warriors at the little bighorn. when it came to close fighting, lakota and cheyenne had a huge advantage, and that definitely contributed to how quickly custer's battalion collapsed when the fighting began. yes? >> can you comment on the implications of the defeat at
the rose bud and the time leading up to the little bighorn? >> sure. this occurred a week before the battle. there were three columns converging into the vicinity of south central montana. the hope was that they would, you know, one of them at least would find the indians, and a week before the battle, general crook, leading the wyoming column up from the south, he didn't find the indians. the indians found him. he was attacked between 700-1,000 warriors. he claimed he won the battle because he was still on the battlefield when it ended. the fact of the matter is a deep stripe was thrown into crook and his troops. he retreated back to wyoming and made no effort to communicate the fact that a large number of warriors were in south central montana to general terry. eventually word made its way to
the general way back in chicago. terry would not get word of crook's defeat until july 10th which was obviously of no good to custer, and so, you know, this communication is a big part of the story. you know, blackberry era, we're constantly in contact, and this was not the case back then. montana did not have a railroad running across it, so rivers were the only way to get a large number of people anywhere, and the telegraph ended in bismarck. it was in the far west when they were loaded with wounded soldiers that delivered the first word of the battle to bismarck after an amazing three day voyage down the dig