Airdate: The Battle of Little Bighorn

This may not have the same resonance in Australia as it would in the US… but American history special The Battle of Little Bighorn screens next week on History.

This was produced for the Smithsonian channel where it screened last year.

Propelled by mystery, the Battle of Little Bighorn gave rise to legends that persist across centuries. It’s perhaps best known by a single famous image: a long-haired General, clad in buckskin, fighting an army of Native Americans on the top of a hill. But in all likelihood, the beloved idea at the root of the battle’s fame probably didn’t happen at all. Tabloid news coverage of George Armstrong Custer and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show turn the US Cavalry’s bombshell loss at Bighorn into an unstoppable mythos. A surprise tragedy, a cinematic death scene, a lesson in failed military strategy – the trivial details are puzzled over endlessly while harder truths are avoided. This program explores how a single afternoon in 1876 shaped the myth of a nation in unexpected ways.

Wednesday June 12 at 9.30pm on History.

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