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1) Dead men tell no tales. (Stewart, Custer's Luck "Preface")

2) [The Indian] cannot be himself and be civilized; he fades away and dies. Cultivation such as the white man would give him deprives him of his identity. (Stewart, My Life On The Plains 21)

3) I can sympathize, since my theme is that Custer never really gets to expire. Over and over again he is doomed to repeat his grand finale. (Dippie "Preface")

4) Cultural historians of the American West have never lost sight of the influence of the movies on the popular imagination. (Dippie "Preface")

5) Almost any mention made of Custer's Last Stand today is a reference not to history but to myth. (Dippie 1)

6) In using the term "myth" here, I mean to elicit its richest connotations. For Americans, the word implies everything from the hero tales of preliterate cultures through to the ideological fallacies held by advanced societies, and, in its plainest sense, refers to a notion based more on tradition or convenience than on fact; a received idea. (Dippie 2)

7) National myths—even more than heroes, who serve as examples—are instructional devices that, indirectly and painlessly, instill in the citizens those values and beliefs that constitute their country's tradition. (Dippie 3)

8) No other area in the United States rivals the trans-Mississippi west as a breeding ground of national myths. (Dippie 3)

9) To an Easterner who only dreamed of such country and the men who strode across the surface, the gulf between possibility and impossibility grew even narrower, and suddenly westerners were eight feet tall and made of steel, and the west—America's last west—was a myth. (Dippie 4)

10) Utter defeat has become a source of pride; the vanquished are the real victors. (Dippie 29)

11) If a myth's lifespan is directly related to its currency, its relevance, then Custer's Last Stand is presently assured of a long future. (Dippie 57)

12) It is better to look at Western movies for recreation than historical education. (Dippie 102)

13) They Died With Their Boots On is unquestionably the most influential version of the Custer story ever filmed. (Dippie 106)

14) It is exceedingly the absurdity of the white man's lot—to dwell eternally in a universe without a center—and surpassing the insanity of existence that Custer achieves a larger than life dimension. Perhaps this is what it means to be the hero of absurd mythology. (Dippie 116)

15) In the long run historical debunking offers diminishing returns. By nature it is uncreative. It has to borrow life in order to thrive, and its very existence is a tribute of sorts to the durability of the legends and myths it preys upon. (Dippie 123)

16) At the same time [movies] reflect popular opinion, they also mould it, and a successful film will often attract a train of imitators, thus amplifying the original influence. (Dippie 125)

17) It requires no extensive knowledge to inform me what is my duty to my country, my command... "First be sure you're right, then go ahead!" I ask myself, "is it right?" Satisfied that it is so, I let nothing swerve me from my purpose. (Custer to Annette Humphrey, Oct, 9, 1863, in Barnett 27)

18) Military law is very severe and those who overstep its boundaries must abide the consequences. (George Armstrong Custer, in Barnett 59)

19) The Great Spirit did not make us to work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say, why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them. I am no white man! (Crazy Horse, in Barnett 100)

20) I can whip the Indian if I can find them, and I shall leave no effort untried to do this. (George Armstrong Custer, in Barnett 147)

21) It is utterly useless to attempt the description of a buffalo hunt—the enjoyable part of it must be seen, not read. (George Armstrong Custer, in Barnett 204)

22) The entire Custer story has been surrounded in mystery and I recall an elderly Colonel telling me once of a story that used to circulate in army circles that there were men who knew an unpublished truth about the story, but who were pledged never to reveal it. (Ronald Reagan, in Barnett 331)

23) Of course the march of civilization cannot be impeded. The white man is destined to drive the aboriginal Indian from his haunts, his hunting-ground, and his lodge. It seems hard that this should be so, but it is the destiny of nations. (Chicago Tribune, April 21, 1876)

24) However vigilant the troops may be, the Indian on his raid is more so—however well mounted the trooper, the Indian has three mounts to his one. Whatever care may be taken to secure the best arms and ammunition to the troops, the Indians find means through his friends to be fully his equal in that regard and his entire familiarity with the country vastly his superior. (Gen. Christopher Augur, Annual Report for the Dept. of Texas 1873)

25) The old-time rule of the Plains: "When fighting Indians, keep the last bullet for yourself." (Thomas B. Marquis)

26) Forty years after a battle it is easy for a noncombatant to reason about how it ought to have been fought. It is another thing personally and under fire to have to direct the fighting while involved in the obscuring smoke of it. (Herman Melville, Billy Budd)

27) The Great campaign of 1876 [Little Bighorn] is destined to become and remain the most romantic, epochal, tragic, mystical and definitive of all race conflicts known to the history of the New World, and, as the great American Epic, to take rank with perhaps the Iliad itself. (Deland)

28) We add to our own honor by doing honor to Custer. (Motto of the Michigan Custer Memorial Association)

29) Today, probably not one American in a thousand could say anything about the presidential election of 1876 -- but many would have an opinion on Custer’s Last Stand. For even in 1876, forces were at play that would give that brief, sanguinary encounter on the Little Bighorn an afterlife vastly exceeding any reckoning of its historical significance, elevating Custer’s Last Stand into the rarefied realm of enduring national myths. (Langellier vii)

30) But Custer’s fluctuating personal reputation—even as the Last Stand remains visually consistent -- would seem to ensure Custer and his final battle mythic currency well into the next millennium. After all, popular myth survives by adapting to new circumstances, and Custer’s Last Stand continues to express changing social values and the continuity between past and present, proving at once vitally flexible and comfortingly stable. (Langellier viii)

31) Despite the fact that other notable figures had come to the fore during the so-called Indian wars, Custer alone was held as the embodiment of core beliefs so closely tied to the national identity. He was to be vested with the mantle of mythic hero as El Cid, Roland, and a litany of others had been in previous times and diverse places, to become one of the half-truths or traditions that form an integral part of the ideology of a society. (Langellier xi)

32) Understanding Custer and the Little Bighorn can open a valuable window into the perceptions of the American West and its place in the minds of the American people. By providing a glimpse into the national character, this man and his fate along the meandering banks of a river in Montana have become icons in the United States and abroad. Whether savior or villain, Custer will never die so long as he can be resurrected to provide meaning in an ongoing self-conscious struggle of a country seeking to define itself. (Langellier xiv)

33) Outside observers also tended to line up on one side or the other in their opinions of Custer. Many of his subordinates, who dealt with Custer frequently, had harsh words for their commanding officer, as did some frontiersmen. (Langellier 7)

34) Recognition from superior officers, combined with bravado in battle, helped propel Custer upward from a newly commissioned second lieutenant to a brevet major general of volunteers in a matter of a few years. Now he was living the life of the bold dragoons he had read about so often as an adolescent. At twenty-three, the youngest brigadier general in the Union Army Custer began to dress the part of a cavalier, with flowing hair and flamboyant custom-designed uniforms. (Langellier 1)

35) Theodore Davis, who was a reporter during that time [March 1867], met Custer as he joined [Winfield S.] Hancock’s force. He commented that the 7th Cavalry’s lieutenant colonel was “endowed by nature with a confidence in himself which was never boastfully exploited, and a believer that the future would surely unfold a continuation of the successful past—Custer’s luck, his talismanic guard was trusted by him all too blindly.” (Langellier 5)

36) Custer joined his unit “with his hair cut short, and a perfect menagerie of Scotch fox hounds.” He also added a beard and wore a buckskin field jacket for the coming campaign, the buckskin becoming a sort of personal symbol clearly demonstrating that its wearer intended to be identified as a hunter or scout, a type found in literature who knew Indians and their ways. By donning this mantle, Custer merged this literary figure of the Victorian era with another powerful hero of the time, the soldier-aristocrat, thereby becoming a hybrid of these two prominent sources of popular lore that were being promoted by dime novelists and journalists of the period. (Langellier 6)

37) Outside observers also tended to line up on one side or the other in their opinions of Custer. Many of his subordinates, who dealt with Custer frequently, had harsh words for their commanding officer, as did some frontiersmen. (Langellier 7)

38) What happened next is anything but clear. In fact, the events that followed became the source of considerable speculation, contrary points of view, and heated debate. One thing seems indisputable, though: Custer had accomplished one of his greatest ambitions that day. He once had written: “In years long-numbered with the past, when I was verging upon manhood, my every thought was ambitious—not to be wealthy, not to be learned, but to be great. I desired to link my name with scats and men, and in such a manner as to be a mark of honor—not only to the present, but to future generations.” Custer had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. (Langellier 10)

39) The story of Little Bighorn, which contained drama and clear-cut characters, was the very stuff of fiction. This is particularly true in regard to its main character, Custer, who originally was the incarnate "frontier hero" with added dimensions. The Custer story offered an allegory of a youth "who first becomes a soldier-aristocrat and a hero in war against a civilized power; who then goes back to the Frontier and then becomes a ‘buckskin’ hero.” He ultimately fell as a victim in a complicated showdown between "the forces of both primitive savagery and Metropolitan corruption." (Langellier 17)

40) So it was by the early twentieth century, Custer and the West had become so enmeshed through many popular forms that Custer’s mystique had not been exhausted. In fact, promoted by an array of wholly fabricated yet compelling images, the central figure of Little Bighorn was ripe for exploitation in other ways not previously imagined. (Langellier 23)

41) The historian can trace the growth of this myth by demonstrating how misinformation combined with misjudgment on the part of supposedly informed persons -- participants, journalists and, later, students of the battle -- led to the propagation of many fallacies that have since filtered down to the public and won acceptance. . . . I have attempted instead to show how the familiar concept of Custer’s Last Stand is largely a creation of non-historical materials, of popular culture which, omnivorous, feeds upon fact and fancy, history and legend, and, turning cannibal, upon itself. The popular culture of the Last Stand is both a source and an embodiment of the Custer myth (Dippie ix)

42) But, as William A. Graham once observed, because "Custer went out in a blaze of glory that became the setting for propaganda which caught and held, and still holds, the imagination of the American people, what began in controversy and dispute has ended in Myth; a myth, built like other myths, upon actual deeds and events, magnified, distorted and disproportioned by fiction, invention, imagination and speculation." The myth, then, is the main carrier of the Custer bug, and it comes in a number of irresistible forms—touched with something of the absurd, no doubt, but nevertheless irresistible. (Dippie x)

43) In the nineteenth century Custer was a genuine national hero. But heroism is a fickle thing, and heroes, as one student of the American variety pointed out, "have cycles of popularity." Custer, yesterday’s hero, today [this book was published in 1976], is most frequently considered a villain or, worse yet, perhaps, a monumental fool. Either way, he is not forgotten. (Dippie 2)

44) Sociologist Orrin E. Klapp has argued that American "social typing," if properly interpreted . . . is a key to our national character. But, as Klapp added, much of what we remember of social types "consists of parts they have played in certain [historical] dramas that struck the popular imagination." That is to say, sometimes the great event and the rare personality blend into myth. (Dippie 3)

45) The roots of the heroic Custer legend are easily traced. Though the rancor that saturated the press during the summer of 1876 extended to Custer personally, the poets rose above such acrimony and dispute to proclaim a higher truth, that of self-sacrificing heroism. The heroic Custer image that they wrought was most congenial to Americans of the time. Moreover, it was not without precedent. (Dippie 65)

46) As Americans began to respond to the attractions of the First Americans, Custer became a repugnant figure to many. (Dippie 69)

47) [They Died With Their Boots O] is Custer, monumental, indomitable to the end, making his Last Stand not in despair nor even resignation but in defiance of the fate that has brought him there to die. Rather, it is not Custer at all, but Errol Flynn earning his pay from Warner Brothers in the 1941 movie They Died With Their Boots On, though today the distinction no longer seems of pressing importance. . . . Errol Flynn is George Custer reincarnated at the height of his heroism.
(Dippie 97)

48) Since 1909 the Custer movies have been concerned with the General’s character and the reasons for his Last Stand. Usually the two, character and causation, have been closely linked. Errol Flynn represents all these heroic Custers who, through the fault of others, have met splendid death on the Little Big Horn. (Dippie 117)

49) The movies are perhaps the most sensitive barometers of the public’s shifting attitudes towards Custer. (Dippie 125)

50) Custer’s Last Stand has established its credentials as a popular myth by demonstrating the requisite staying power. Without altering the myth, Americans can find in it diverse meanings appropriate to the times. Indeed, because the content never undergoes basic change, the myth remains at once infinitely flexible and absolutely constant (Dippie 140)

51) Custer, a horseback hero in an increasingly mechanized world. The Little Big Horn, an improbable name evocative of wide open spaces in an era of urbanization. Custer on that ridge above the Little Big Horn, both a distillation and a culmination of one phase of the American experience. (Dippie 144)

52) In the public mind, fabrications invented by ingenious dime novelists became historical truth. (Utley 15)

53) But he also made enemies, many of whom did not harbor their enemy in private. He had a unique quality that inspired either love or hate, but never indifference. There was no middle ground in anything that concerned George Armstrong Custer. When he led five troops of the Seventh Cavalry down the Little Bighorn to glory and immortality, his associates had already formed those conflicting views of his personality that were to make for bitter contention later. (Utley 16-17)

54) [Inaccurate press reports] eagerly devoured by a news-hungry populace and built upon by popular writers racing one another to capitalize on the interest value of the subject. Before the professional historian even entered the picture, most of the common fallacies of the Little Bighorn had been introduced and had won widespread acceptance. Besides creating these myths, the press also served as the vehicle for charge and counter-charge that initiated the long and turbulent "great debate" among the nation’s military nobles. (Utley 29-30)

55) To the press must be assigned a large share of the responsibility for spreading the errors, myths, and legends that clutter the history of the Little Bighorn. The papers generated intense excitement, encouraged violent denunciations of everyone from Major Reno to President Grant, and transferred the event from the military to the political arena. They thus laid the foundations for the evolution of the history of the Little Bighorn into one of the most misunderstood, confused, and controversial events of American history. (Utley 47-48)

56) Every phase of Custer’s career, and even the facts of his ancestry, are subject of a mass of contradictory myths and biased interpretations. Such distortion can be partly explained by the emotional extremes Custer’s personality inspired in his contemporaries. They either loved or hated him, and the views many of them set to paper reflected this conflict. For this reason alone, he would have been assured a controversial role in history. But it was the last stand at the Little Bighorn that focuses widespread attention on his entire career and embedded the Custer legend forever in the folklore of America. (Utley 118)

57) Of all the myths of Custer and the Little Bighorn, the greatest variety and originality are to be found in the attempts to describe the details of Custer’s death. Journalists, novelists, historians, and script-writers have killed Custer time and time again and by every conceivable means. (Utley 123)

58) The death of George Armstrong Custer and nearly half his command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn captured the attention of America in a way that no other engagement in the Indian Wars had done. The business of absorbing the aborigines into the outskirts of white civilization gained a momentum it might have lacked but for Custer’s fatal decision of 25 June 1876 to attack a Sioux and Northern Cheyenne village ostensibly too large for his Seventh U.S. Cavalry to handle, in a manner perceived as foolishly proud, uncommonly stupid, or incredibly brave. (Sklenar 3)

59) And so, by six o’clock, Custer’s command was finished. By Indian reckoning, the defeat had required no more time than a person might need to consume a hearty meal, or as long as it would take for the sun to travel the width of a lodgepole. It was a brief, small struggle in a war few people wanted, in which men mostly unknown to one another clashed and died on barren and broken ground fit for little else. The Sioux chiefs would later claim that they did not know it was the great ‘Long Hair’ they were fighting, even after they had killed him, but some Cheyennes would insist that they remembered him from the time of the Washita. Only in hindsight would the joyful victory be even greater than the Indians imagined—if, in the context of subsequent events, it was a triumph at all, regardless of the exhilaration of the survivors and their offspring might experience in the recounting of real, mystic, and mythic memories. (Sklenar 327)

60) George Custer rides up the battle ridge year after year to a newly reconstructed death. (Utley 135)

61) For most people, the easy course would have been to leave the field in the face of overwhelming numbers of the enemy. And yet for Custer, this was a course he could not choose. He was the kind of soldier who despised retreat, who possessed an overwhelming confidence in his ability as a military leader, and who trusted too much to good fortune. But beyond that, in this instance, he exhibited what General Sheridan rightly called a "superabundance of courage," and he performed an act so heroic that it truly has few parallels in the annals of any people’s history of war, for good causes or bad. (Sklenar 340)

62) Thanks to Errol Flynn, I became a historian instead of a judge. As World War II got underway, his portrayal of General Custer in the 1942 movie They Died with Their Boots On provided an impressionable twelve-year old with a flawless hero. (Utley 77)

63) His true role in history cannot account for the nearly universal name recognition. For that explanation, one must probe the murky realms of mythology and folklore. Beneath the layers of legend, however, a living human being, possessed of a remarkable range of human faults and virtues, made his brief mark on the history of the United States. (Utley 4)

64) The Indians of course played a part in this story—the Sioux and Cheyennes as the enemy who had wiped out Custer, the Crows and Arikaras as the scouts and auxiliaries in the war against their tribal enemies. But in our telling, these Indians emerged less as real people than as cardboard cutouts, impersonal fold for blue-coated frontiersman battling to clear the way for sturdy westering pioneers. Our perspective was that of those who won the West, not those who lost the West. (Utley 44)

65) We will never know what George Armstrong Custer felt when he waved to his troops and rode down the slope to meet his death. What he saw, in the short time he had to see anything, was an immense melee of horses and combatants. My guess is that the immense dust cloud so obscured the scene, or limited his focus, that he never really knew the extent of his own misjudgment. It may be that he even thought he was winning, until he was suddenly dead. (McMurtry 172)

66) There was no slackening of Custer's celluloid appearances in 1941. As the nation warily confronted a world consumed by war, and hesitatingly prepared for its own inevitable entry into conflagration, military heroes became quite popular again. (Hutton 37)

67) MacDonald Fraser, in his marvelous book The Hollywood History of the World, dismisses They Died with their Boots On as "typical Hollywood dream-rubbish of the worst kind," a viewpoint echoed by other critics at the time the film was released and ever since. (Hutton 41)

68) It is simply ridiculous to expect films to be true to the facts of history. They are works of fiction. If, by chance, they use a story to tell us a greater truth about ourselves and our past then they have succeeded as art. If they give us a momentary diversion and make us smile or tug at our heart, then they have succeeded admirably at what they are—popular entertainment. (Hutton 42)

69) By chance, the film's release in late November 1941 coincided with American entry into World War II. As the people reeled from the news of Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, and Bataan, they could clearly identify with the heroic self-sacrifice of Custer and the Seventh Cavalry. The greedy capitalists, crooked politicians, and gallant soldiers of They Died with their Boots On made perfect sense to a people marching out of economic depression and into war.
(Hutton 42)

70) "A legend is more interesting than the actual facts," [director John] Ford once said in commenting on Custer. [Ford directed the 1948 film Fort Apache in which Custer was not to be the hero.] (Hutton 43)

71) Custer, dying again, and again, and again will continue to provide audiences with lessons about the past, the present, and the future. But, of course, he never really died. Ultimately, that bold young warrior achieved his greatest ambition -- immortality. (Hutton 56)

72) After becoming Lieutenant of the Seventh Cavalry, Custer embraced his new image, for no one looked better sitting on a horse, in a frontier scout’s buckskins, than the tall ramrod-straight soldier with the golden locks—and no one was more accommodating. Custer seemed to have an intuitive grasp of the importance of celebrity. (Donovan 55)

73) As the young nation celebrated its one-hundredth birthday and the many technological advances made during its brief existence, the news that its best-known Indian fighter and 262 of his men, troopers of the glorious "Fighting Seventh," had been annihilated by a small drive of savages one step away from the Stone Age was greeted with grief, outrage, and even disbelief by some. Not since Lincoln’s assassination eleven years earlier had such a shocking story gripped the country. (Donovan 321)

74) In certain ways, the charge of rashness seemed, if anything, to endear Custer all the more to a public battered by scandals and starved for heroes. (Donovan 327-28)

75) Sabre-wearing Errol Flynn, in They Died with Their Boots On, is the last of his command to die. The Warner Brothers' director placed Flynn, defiant and undaunted, amid a field strewn with extras; but what testimony we have from the Indians suggests the opposite.
(Rosenberg 172)

76) Such is the fame and respect which the American people have afforded their Martyred Hero that they placed him in a very exclusive Valhalla reserved,usually for only one man in a culture’s history. And a further tribute to the hold which this man has upon the imagination of his countrymen, even a century after his death, is the great number and variety of traditional stories which have been told about him, and the comparisons implicit in those stories. (Rosenberg 116-17)

77) The Indians killed Custer but, white Americans wanted to believe, in a higher sense he was impervious to their slings and arrows. His calamity tested to the utmost his inner strength. (Rosenberg 126)

78) Frederick Whittaker (and he was not alone in this conception) bestowed upon Custer a martyr’s death, raising him above the level of ordinary mortals, even ordinary military heroes. (Rosenberg 125)

79) As Americans], We admire the brave loser more than the winner. (Rosenberg 126)

80) If the actions and maneuvers of those five companies of the Seventh were unknown in fact, then anything was possible in the imagination; every man could become his own creator of epics since several of the “right” materials were given: the superior numbers of the enemy, the “Wild West,” an illustrious regiment and its romantic commander killed. (Rosenberg 128)

81) To counter the loyalty of the Seventh to God, Duty, and Country we invent the heinous acts of the traitor. They are savages; we are white Christian champions of civilization. Custer dies on the very top of the hill while the Indians sneak around in gullies and ravines. And so on. Given certain basic facts about the battle which I have already mentioned -- the Custer legend developed with a certain predictability simply because in the West it was the best way to tell the story. (Rosenberg 131)

82) Heroes are not born, they are created. Their lives so catch the imagination of their generation, and often the generations that follow, that they are repeatedly discussed and written about. The lives of heroes are a testament to the values and aspirations of those who admire them. If their images change as time passes they may act as a barometer of the fluctuating attitudes of a society. Eventually, if certain attitudes change enough, one hero myth may replace another. Such is the case with George Armstrong Custer. Once a symbolic leader of civilization's advance into the wilderness, within one hundred years he came to represent the supposed moral bankruptcy of Manifest Destiny. (Hutton 19)

83) Most of the conventional information, or misinformation, about Custer comes from elements of popular culture rather than scholars. It is through novels, motion pictures, newspapers, paintings, television, and mass circulation magazines that one can best trace how the changing image of Custer has partially reflected American opinions and values. (Hutton 19)

84) They Died with Their Boots On: The myth had become more important than the reality, and it was the myth that the public wanted to be entertained by and believe in. Coming as it did on the eve of war, and following years of economic depression, the film's portrayal of villainous businessmen and gallant soldiers struck a responsive chord. As the nation reeled from the shock of Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Bataan, it could easily identify with Custer's last stand. (Hutton 36)

85) Thus, from a symbol of courage and sacrifice in the winning of the West, Custer's image was gradually altered into a symbol of the arrogance and brutality displayed in the white exploitation of the West. The only constant factor in this reversed legend is a remarkable disregard for historical fact. (Hutton 45)

86) They Died with Their Boots On downplays the logic of capitalism that demanded westward expansion, presenting a personal conflict between the noble and virtuous Custer and the evil, greedy, and scheming railroad owners. (Pearson 91)

87) Although They Died with Their Boots On structures the narrative primarily around the moral conflict between good and evil white men, it sets up a subsidiary opposition between civilization and the wilderness, rendering the Indians a nonhuman elemental force akin to the natural disasters upon which many a melodramatic plot has twisted. (Pearson 92)

88) The meaning of history is not in the details, it is in the interpretation of the historical event. How a culture grasps, comprehends, and absorbs an historical event is where you will find its meaning. So, while the facts of an event don't change, our interpretation of those facts fluctuate greatly. Consider the image of Custer in They Died with Their Boots On (Raoul Walsh 1941) as compared to his image in Little Big Man (Arthur Penn 1970). The facts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn didn't change, but our interpretation of it sure did! (Ross 218)

89) Generations of Americans, generally unburdened by the actual history of the period, have had a very clear, enduring image of a striking, long-haired, blonde young officer and his small band of men, surrounded by an ever-narrowing circle of extremely angry Indians. The actual context for the battle, including the economic forces driving westward expansion, the evolution of the country's Indian policy, and other events that made Little Bighorn one of the final acts in the dispossession of the last free tribes on the northern plains, is rarely part of the picture. (Stekler 65)

90) One of the allures of Custer's Last Stand was that it remained such an enigma over time. No one knew exactly what happened because it was supposedly a battle without a survivor, a battle fought to the last man. The battle, of course, had hundreds, if not thousands, of survivors. None of them, though, was white. (Stekler 66)

91) The “West of the Imagination” did not wait for Hollywood to create it. It was very much a work-in-progress throughout western American expansion. And Custer was an active agent in building his own myth during his lifetime, cultivating the press and supplementing the work of the press with magazine articles written about himself under the pen name of Nomad. (Stekler 71)

92) One thing is clear. Films are not history texts. But another thing is clear as well. Films reach a wide audience. And for many in that audience, the history they learn may come exclusively from that film. (Stekler 71)

93) Films are not history texts, but they can record memory. (Stekler 72)

94) How well or how much “history” can these films deal with? Just how much must be sacrificed to make the film's narrative clear, linear, easy to understand, and fit within time constraints? In the sometimes bewildering medium of film and filmmakers, some people may wonder just what film can really add to history. Ultimately, films do not and cannot take the place of the work of academic scholars. But film can portray the heart of something we call history. (Stekler 72)