Little Big Man
1970, 150 min.
Hiller Productions; Stockbridge Productions; Cinema Center Films
National General Pictures

Dustin Hoffman (Jack Crabb), Faye Dunaway (Mrs. Pendrake), Martin Balsam (Allardyce T. Merriweather), Richard Mulligan (Gen. George A. Custer), Chief Dan George (Old Lodge Skins), Jeff Corey (Wild Bill Hickok), Amy Eccles (Sunshine), Kelly Jean Peters (Olga), Carol Androsky (Caroline), Robert Little Star (Little Horse), Cal Bellini (Younger Bear), Ruben Moreno (Shadow That Comes in Sight), Steve Shemayne (Burns Red in the Sky), William Hickey (Historian), James Anderson (Sergeant), Jesse Vint (Lieutenant), Alan Oppenheimer (Major), Thayer David (Rev. Silas Pendrake), Philip Kenneally (Mr. Kane), Jack Bannon (Captain), Ray Dimas (Young Jack Crabb), Alan Howard (Adolescent Jack Crabb), Jack Mullaney (Card player), Steve Miranda (Younger Bear as a youth), Lou Cutell (Deacon), M. Emmet Walsh (Shotgun guard), Emily Cho (Digging Bear), Cecelia Kootenay (Little Elk), Linda Dyer (Corn Woman), Dessie Bad Bear (Buffalo Wallow woman), Len George (Crow scout), Norman Nathan (Pawnee), Helen Verbit (Madame), Bert Conway (Bartender), Earl Rosell (Giant trooper), Ken Mayer (Sergeant), Bud Cokes (Man at bar), Rory O'Brien (Assassin), and Tracy Hotchner (Flirtatious girl)

Prod Stuart Millar; Dir Arthur Penn; Scr Calder Willingham; Dir of Photog Harry Stradling, (Technicolor); Music John Hammond; Editors Dede Allen; Prod Des Dean Tavoularis; Set dec George R. Nelson; Makeup Terry Miles, Dick Smith

Genre: Western epic

Summary: A historian interviews Jack Crabb, a 121-year-old man who claims to be the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn: Jack, a 10-year-old orphan lost with his sister Caroline, is found by the Cheyenne Indians. When Caroline escapes, Jack is left under the fatherly guidance of Old Lodge Skins. During adolescence, he saves the life of Younger Bear in a raid against the Pawnee Indians and is given the name Little Big Man. At the age of 16, he is about to be killed in a battle against white men when he renounces his Indian background in order to save himself. Subsequently, he is taken into the home of Rev. Silas Pendrake and his wife, who is eager to introduce Jack to the pleasures of sex. After leaving the Pendrakes, he goes into business with Allardyce T. Merriweather, a hawker of patent medicines, and later briefly becomes a gunfighter known as the "Soda Pop Kid." He becomes friends with Wild Bill Hickok, but after one of Hickok's bloody gunfights, Jack decides to settle down. Olga, a Swedish woman, becomes his bride, and Jack opens a haberdashery, but he is cheated by his partners. Following the advice of Gen. George Custer, he decides to head West to seek his fortune. During the trip, however, Olga is abducted by the Indians, and Jack searches for her, joining Custer's U. S. Cavalry unit as a scout to facilitate his search. During a savage attack on the Indian village where he once lived, Jack deserts his unit and finds an Indian woman, Sunshine, in the process of giving birth. They travel to a reservation, headed by Old Lodge Skins, now blind from a battle wound. A year later, at a reservation, Sunshine is about to give birth to Jack's child. Jack is surprised to discover that Olga and her new husband, Younger Bear, are neighbors. The morning after Jack has slept with Sunshine's three widowed sisters, Sunshine shows him his new son. But Custer suddenly strikes, and only Jack and Old Lodge Skins survive. Jack tries to take revenge on Custer and sneaks into the general's tent, but Custer's vulnerability causes Jack to falter, and he wanders off, eventually becoming an alcoholic. A brief encounter with Wild Bill helps Jack get back on his feet, but when Hickok is shot down, Jack goes off to become a hermit. Later, he meets up with Custer, who hires him as a scout. Despite Jack's advice and the opinions of the officers, Custer orders the attack on Little Big Horn; the Cheyenne massacre Custer's forces, although Jack is saved when he is recognized by Younger Bear. He is taken back to Old Lodge Skins, who is in the process of preparing for his death ritual; he takes Jack to the mountain and lies down to die, but rain begins to fall, and Old Lodge Skins realizes that his time has not yet come. The two men walk back down the mountain. Jack finishes his story, but the historian is skeptical about the accuracy of the events.—AFI Catalog of Feature Films