Custer's Last Stand (1936)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - B-Western, Docudrama  |   Release Date - Jan 2, 1936 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Produced by poverty row organization Stage and Screen, this less-than-faithful serialized version of the historical battle seems to have rounded up every B-Western player not otherwise engaged at the time. That fact added to a couple of impressive sets drew favorable reviews for the serial's initial chapters, but the overall verdict proved negative. A secret arrow and the secret key to a hidden stash of gold is lost during one of several skirmishes brought about by Young Wolf (Chief Thundercloud). The arrow is recovered by Major Trent (Josef Swickard) and his daughter Barbara (Nancy Caswell) who, unaware of its secret purpose, become the target of various nefarious villains, including Blade (Reed Howes), a renegade Indian. Scout Kid Cardigan (Rex Lease) and General George Armstrong Custer (Frank McGlynn, Jr.) attempt to prevent an all-out war over the arrow, but their endeavors only lead to the infamous Last Stand. A tragic event in American history is thus once again reduced to a mere fight for mammon. A great many well-known B-Western players parade in and out of the serial briefly portraying various historical figures, including Helen Gibson as Calamity Jane, Ruth Mix (Tom's daughter) as Elizabeth Custer, Ted Adams as Buffalo Bill Cody, Howling Wolf as Sitting Bull, Allen Greer as Wild Bill Hickock and High Eagle as Chief Crazy Horse. Stage and Screen and associate producer George M. Merrick announced ambitious plans to film four additional serials, but the company was dissolved in late 1936, yet another victim of the Great Depression and an inability to secure distribution. Custer's Last Stand was also released in a 90-minute feature version.



Native-American, gold, last-stand, warning