Little Big Man

Little Big Man (1970)

3 corrected entries

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Corrected entry: Custer is shown being killed by arrows hitting him, but in reality he killed by bullets: one in the chest and one in the head.

Correction: True as that may be, this movie does not claim historical accuracy, so consider this artistic license on the part of the filmmakers.

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1

Corrected entry: At the start of the film, when the children come out from under the wagon canopy, there is a man in the foreground with several arrows in him. The arrows can be seen to be moving since the dead guy is still breathing.

Correction: Meaning that he isn't dead yet. Later in the film the hero is shown being hit with a number of arrows, and he survives. It happened.

1

Corrected entry: At the beginning Little Big Man says Pawnees wiped out their wagon train. But then 20 minutes later he says Pawnees always suck up to the white man. So why would they attack the wagons?

Correction: The Indians attack the wagons after the white men would give them whiskey instead of coffee, which made them go crazy because they were unaccustomed to alcohol.

1

Revealing mistake: During the Little Bighorn massacre one of Custer's lieutenants turns to address Custer and is struck in the back with an arrow, and the thick pad or board is visible under the actor's shirt.

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Question: In all honesty I have little (if any) anthropological knowledge of what life was like for Native Americans in the USA in the nineteenth century. But it seemed to me that, for much of the time, the Native Americans in the movie did not resemble the members of a 'hunter gatherer' society whose way of life was under threat from the onset of the modern industrial world. Instead the Native Americans seemed to live, act and behave much more like the members of a 1960's hippie commune. How accurate is that?

Rob Halliday

Answer: Some members of tribes like the Cheyenne joined in the 'modern' world to some extent, using guns and even putting on Western clothes and eating Western food. While nowhere near the technological nous of the white settlers, the natives were far from being hunter gatherers at this point.

Answer: Well observed sir! What you say is correct. I admit I probably was wrong in calling Native North Americans 'hunter gatherers' as I think some tribes had agriculture and permanent settlements well before Columbus ever reached the American Continent. I also think that the Cherokee consciously tried to adapt to modern life by building houses and becoming farmers. My point was more that it seemed to me that the portrayal of many Native Americans in Little Big Man did not seem historically accurate, but showed them as being more like 1960's hippies. But I am fully aware that this may have been intentional, since the film was giving a 1960's 'spin' on the legends of the 'Wild West'. But please, do not take my posts on this website too seriously. I am fully aware that this was a film made to entertain people, it was not meant to be a historical documentary. And it was the fictional recollections of a 121 year old man. And the film poster said 'Little Big Man was either the most neglected hero in history OR A liar of insane proportion', so you are invited to have your doubts about anything that happens in the film.

Rob Halliday
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