Little Big Man

Little Big Man (1970)

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Old Lodge Skins: Today is a good day to die.

1

Jack Crabb: I was determined to stay out of them buffalo robes. Three young and healthy women with no man for who knows how long. The very idea kinda shrunk me like a spider on a hot stove.

Old Lodge Skins: It makes my heart sad, a world without human beings has no center to it.

Old Lodge Skins: I saw you in a dream my son. You were drinking from a spring that came from the nose of an animal I didn't recognize. It had two great horns, one on each side of its nose, and the water that came from its nose was full of air.

Younger Bear: You and I are even at last. I paid you the life I owe you. And the next time we meet, I can kill you without becoming an evil person.

Jack Crabb: Sure, I'm white. Didn't you hear me say, "God bless George Washington. God bless my mother."? I mean, now what kind of Indian would say a fool thing like that?

General Custer: Nothing in this world is more surprising than the attack without mercy.

Old Lodge Skins: Invisible! I've never been invisible before.

General Custer: You came up here to kill me, didn't you? And you lost your nerve. Well, I was correct. In a sense, you are a renegade, but you are no Cheyenne Brave. Do I hang you? I think not. Get out of here.

Jack Crabb: Mr. Merriweather, you don't know when you're licked.
Mr. Merriweather: Licked? I'm not licked. I'm tarred and feathered, that's all.

Old Lodge Skins: Let's go back to the teepee and eat, my son. My new snake wife cooks dog very well.
Jack Crabb: All right, Grandfather.
Old Lodge Skins: She also has a very soft skin. The only trouble with snake women is they copulate with horses, which makes them strange to me. She say's she doesn't. That's why I call her "Doesn't Like Horses." But, of course, she's lying.

Jack Crabb: Grandfather, I have a white wife.
Old Lodge Skins: You do? That's interesting. Does she cook and does she work hard.
Jack Crabb: Yes, Grandfather.
Old Lodge Skins: That surprises me. Does she show pleasant enthusiasm when you mount her?
Jack Crabb: Well sure, Grandfather.
Old Lodge Skins: That surprises me even more. I tried one of them once, but she didn't show any enthusiasm at all.

Old Lodge Skins: Don't worry my son, you will be back with us, I dreamed it last night. I saw you with your wives.
Jack Crabb: Wives, Grandfather?
Old Lodge Skins: Yes, there were three... or four, it was hard to tell. It was very dark in your teepee and they were under buffalo rugs as you crawled among them. Anyway, it was a great copulation.

Jack Crabb: Your name ain't Lulu... You'rer Louise Pendrake.

Younger Bear: I have a wife. And four horses.
Jack Crabb: I have a horse... and four wives.

Old Lodge Skins: This boy is no longer a boy. He's a brave. He is little in body, but his heart is big. His name shall be "Little Big Man."

Jack Crabb: You're not going to hang me.
General Custer: Your miserable life is not worth the reversal of a Custer decision.

Factual error: The worst historical distortions in this film must concern legendary "Wild Bill" Hickock. First of all he wasn't killed by a teenage boy, but one John McCall, a man in his 30's. McCall sneaked behind Hickock who was in the middle of a poker game and shot him through the head killing him instantly. Secondly this took place on August 2 1876, about five weeks AFTER the Custer's Last Stand. (01:46:30)

S.Holmes
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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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