The Battle of Little Big Horn also known as Custer’s Last Stand is one of the most controversial battles of American History.
Firstly, there is the morality of the Great Sioux Wars. After all, theTreaty of Fort Laramie was not being honoured by the American Government and that the Sioux had rights to the land they were occupying.
There is also the myth that had grown around George Custer particularly in relation to his “last stand”. While Custer was literally the golden boy of the US Calvary, he had certainly done questionable things in relation to his treatment of the Cheyenne and was despised by the Cheyenne and Sioux. Following the battle, a story of the last stand developed which cast Custer and his men fighting bravely to the last bullet before being overwhelmed with savages. Recent archeological evidence has shown that this story is inaccurate. The Calvary was quickly overwhelmed by opposing forces, with the tactical command breaking down and soldiers retreating across the hills.
The Little Bighorn battlefield manages these complexities quite well. There is a small museum which provides information about both the US cavalry and Native American sides. There is also a 25 minute movie which provides information about the issues leading to the battle.
The battlefield itself is quite well maintained. there are a number of walking tracks and text panels to provide context about what you are viewing. Throughout the battlefield there are a number of markers for both Calvary and Native Americans to show the approximate place at which people fell. There is also a memorial for both sides.
The gift shop offers a CD which provides a car tour of the battlefield. This is partially narrated by the archeologist who found the evidence of what occurred during the battle. The tour provided a great deal of information about the battle, and how the evidence was obtained. This narration was very interesting and well worth the money.