On Sunday afternoon, June 25, 1876, Gen. George Custer and 264 members of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry engaged more than 3,000 warriors of the Lakota Sioux, Arapaho, and Cheyenne nations and were killed in the ensuing battle.
Acclaimed historian Dee Brown traces the events of that day and of the weeks before, through the eyes and ears of seventeen participants from both sides, including Natives, scouts, soldiers, and civilians.
Why did Custer divide his forces? Why did he not take his regiment’s Gatling guns? Why did he expect Sitting Bull to surrender without a fight? How did Sitting Bull’s vision at the sun dance on the Rosebud foretell the occasion and the outcome of the battle? How did war chiefs Crazy Horse and Gall take advantage of Custer’s tactical errors? And why did they preserve Custer’s body from mutilation?
Showdown at Little Big Horn answers these and other questions, telling the story of the fight from many points of view, based on reports, diaries, letters, and testimony of the participants themselves. Together the accounts provide a gripping narrative of a punitive expedition gone badly awry and an assemblage of Native peoples who forestalled for a while the army’s domination of the northern plains.