Custer Chronicle

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Questions and Answers

Looking for specific book about Custer's last stand…?

A patron of the library at which I work is looking for a book about the Battle of Little Big Horn that he read a few years ago. He believes that it was written by a woman who is a descendant of Crazy Horse. If any of you can help me out, I'd really appreciate it! I'm not having any luck at all.

Posted by Daisy Paradise
Custer SD

Maybe it is Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz (see the review below)
This is a highly unique biography and is a well-deserved classic in the world of literature. Sandoz did not write the standard Native American story from the point of view of the outsider (that is, the white conquerors), but created a book that feels as if it was written by the Indians from their own world view. Sandoz had the great advantage, in the 1930s, of interviewing still-living oldtimers who really knew Crazy Horse, and her combination of first-hand Indian accounts and meticulously well-crafted prose makes for an extremely compelling story of the last years of Indian freedom. In fact, this is not so much a biography of Crazy Horse, but a much larger story of the Lakota (Sioux) people in which he is the central character. The book does not include much historical detail, as that would be the white man's method of writing, so for such information on late Sioux history you would have to look elsewhere (such as *Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee* by Dee Brown).
Or The Battle of the Little Bighorn by Mari Sandoz
or Black Robe Woman, Lakota Warrior:Being the Second Part of the Crazy Horse Chronicles (Crazy Horse Chronicles Trilogy)
by Richard Jepperson
"this book focuses on the vision quest and other pivotal events that led the boy Curly to become the young man Crazy Horse. The author also gives ample attention to the title character, Black Robe Woman, reconstructing her life as the girl Little Mouse who eventually became a great Warrior Woman and Crazy Horse's wife."

Why are all the terrorists muslim?

It's realllly not like I hate muslims, but the fact is you point out a terrorist and I bet he is muslim.Even look all the problemsome countries are muslim dominated.Ohh! Why so? Plzzzz don't say they have no religion and all those craps,be practical! Why is it like this?

Posted by forgotten hero
Custer SD

If that were true, we could eliminate terrorism very quickly. We can start with the Islamic terrorists and point out that other religions also have extremists but are not labeled as "terrorists." If you do to Northern Ireland, and you dare to refer to Sein Fein or the Irish Republican Army as terrorist groups, you might find yourself being charged by the law enforcement there with some sort of hate crime.
When groups of Native Americans used to set fire to cribs with white babies in them, or raped white women or scalped children or the elderly, they were not called terrorists back then. And by the same token, when General Custer retaliated and did much the same to Native Americans, setting tepees on fire, shooting women and children, and dismembering the tribal elders, we did not call what he did acts of terrorism.
There are terrorists all over the world and include all races all ethnicities and all beliefs.
And here is something that may get my Yahoo membership removed and I will take that risk in giving you a five minute education. Just pick up a newspaper. The Boston Globe. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal. The Chicago Tribune. The San Francisco Chronicle.
Take a look at the names in the organizational charts of these media. What kind of names are they? And given that, does it surprise you that the people who are their enemies, and who have been their people's enemies since Christ was put on a cross by their ancestors, does it surprise you that their enemies are called "terrorists" and other groups who commit similar acts are not called this?
Hitler was Roman Catholic. Does that mean that all Catholics are terrorists? Al Capone was a gangster. Does that mean that all Italians are tied into the mafia?
But if you go into a city or a shopping mall and you see a woman wearing a burka, some American or some European will make remarks and they will not be compliments. In America, as in Europe, we have somehow got it in our collective Nordic psyche that these are the "bad people."
I think that the more important question here is
Why do so many people consider muslims to be terrorists?
The Q'ran, like the Bible, is a peace-loving piece of literature. There is tolerance for others. There is a need for non-violence. There is a need to find inner peace and to pursue peace in the outside world.
But like the Bible, the Q'ran has been misused by individuals for their own individual gains. The words of loving God have become twisted into self worship.
I would venture to say that a true Muslim would not consider a terrorist to be a fellow Muslim anymore than a Christian would consider Adolph Hitler and Charles Manson to be fellow Christians.

The Sopranos or Deadwood?

Posted by
Custer SD


There are few people in TV as lauded as David Milch. And while I believe the praise to be a bit exaggerated, Milch will go down in history as creating one of the deepest, most complex TV characters: Andy Sipowicz. Based on Milch, and inspired by his vices, Sipowicz is the type of flawed, human, troubled person the sanitized world of TV normally holds at arm's length.

Milch was burnt out by the time he left NYPD Blue. He had once again created another rich and complex character, Danny Sorenson, but his creative juice for that show was empty. He started a new cop show, the incomprehensible and painfully indulgent Big Apple, which failed miserably and was quickly canceled. Milch is back with a 180-degree project: a western for HBO called Deadwood.

Deadwood takes place in 1876 in the titular South Dakota town. Since Deadwood, a gold-mining boomtown, is on Indian territory, American laws do not apply. It's a lawless, ungoverned society.

The real Deadwood is steeped in old-west history. It's primarily known as the place where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered. Its cemetery holds Wild Bill, along with Calamity Jane, whose lifelong love for Wild Bill was unrequited, and whose last wish was to be buried next to him.

David Milch has done his homework, here in this world so far, yet so close, to his former world of modern-day cops and crooks, and what Deadwood ends up being is a dark, brutal-truth chronicle of the time. Its conditions, people, politics, ideals; the roughhewn, scattered-dirt first step of our current civilization.

Deadwood, the actual place, is about as colorful as it gets. Milch had reams of material to work his way through, and he puts together a really nice pared-down version of the truth in his pilot script. Our main focus is Seth Bullock, a former sheriff, who comes into town with his partner, Sol Star, to start a mercantile shop. Wild Bill, the renowned lawman and gunfighter, arrives about the same time. He's with his buddy/protector-against-himself Charlie Utter, and the nutty, belligerent Calamity Jane. Al Swearengen, a heavy-thumbed scamster, owns the Gem Theater, a saloon. He's currently running a con on Brom Garret, a wealthy boy from New York who's living on his daddy's dollar.

It's only two weeks after the disaster of Custer's Last Stand and the fear of the "savage" Indians has never been higher. When a man rides into town saying he saw a family, dismembered, limbs strewn along a road, and said it was the work of Indians, Swearengen immediately offers fifty dollars for every Indian head a person brings in. Hickok and Bullock don't much believe the man's story, and figure he's the one who did the killing. It makes matters worse for the guy when it's discovered that one of the daughters hid in the hollow of a tree and survived the attack. Knowing it's only a matter of time before he's busted, the man tries to escape using his sidearm, but Hickok guns him down with a faster-than-the-speed-of-sound shot to his eye. The thing guys like Swearengen feared most when they saw Hickok ride into town was that he might want to bring the law with him, to create some sort of order in the town, and this act certainly seems to confirm this.

The great thing about Deadwood for me, a fan of westerns, is that this is all true. Bullock is a real person; so is Sol Star, Charlie Utter, Al Swearengen (his saloon is real too), as are a number of other people here. That fifty-dollar bounty for the head of an Indian was something that happened. (There's a story about a guy riding into town with a head impaled on a stick.) Hickok, Jane, Utter, Bullock and Sol all strolled into Deadwood as they do here, and Bullock's store really was a hit, and Hickok did actually sit down with a fellow named Jack McCall and play poker with him. Certain people in Deadwood did fear Hickok setting the stage for some sort of law and paid McCall to kill him. Which was a mistake, because all it did was push Bullock into action. He would become Deadwood's first sheriff.

Milch sticks to the facts for the most part. Sometimes stretching the truth (it's true that McCall and Hickok played poker, but Milch has an antagonism form, with McCall beating Hickok and ridiculing him, which, as far as I know, there's no evidence of; Hickok is said to have taken McCall for a lot of money). What Milch adds to this history is wonderful dialogue — sort of like second-generation Mamet — that is interestingly much more appropriate for this antiquated setting than it ever was for Milch's contemporary cop drama. The characters' speech, filled with old-west lingo, is like a hostile song. Milch certainly got lost in his own accolades on Big Apple, but this, the type of thing worthy of the praise, is his sharpest writing in years. I don't know if the new location rejuvenated him or something, but the writing here singes; it's the type of thing you can completely give yourself over to.

It's hard to say for sure from the pilot script alone, but my feeling is that Deadwood will be an examination of morality. About men with an untouched world at their feet, with the power to turn it in the direction they wish. Some men, like Swearengen, want to spoil the land for their own gain. Law and order is a threat to his violent, corrupt existence. Other men, like Bullock, a smart, tough man born to lead, naturally gravitates to the exact opposite. He's inclined to protect, to aid, to do right by his fellow man. Deadwood is something of an analysis of the inception of law, and of how an insulated universe can numbly follow the rule of its sanctioned-or-not leader.

The tone of the show will probably be akin to one of my favorite movies, McCabe and Mrs. Miller. The script's locations are all saloons, wagons and crowded, unpaved streets. The climate is bleak and vicious. We see men who've been shot in the head; a prostitute getting choked; the aforementioned slaughtered family — Deadwood is a town that bobs on an uneven mist of violence; it's right around the corner and its appearance is simply accepted.

Milch's style as a writer is a lot like breaking in new boots: it takes a while before you become comfortable. The same holds true for Deadwood, but once he really hits a stride, which occurs here midway, the life in the script doesn't quite glow hot but sort of does a steady, seamless, unbroken roll — like film through a projector — and you come to realize that Milch's over-complicated writing is really, in a sense, a spell. A trance.

I know the saga that took place in Deadwood, so I was pretty sure I'd enjoy the script. And I did. I can't guarantee this will hold true for everyone else. Deadwood's history is pretty common knowledge, but everyone might not smile when they read the little details — such as hearing Wild Bill tell Utter this is his last town — that sparkle throughout the script. It's also impossible to tell, with this thirteen-episode series, if the other writers on the project can possibly maintain this level of writing. Once Milch hands the script duties over to other scribes, will we lose his language? If we do, the project devalues by half. The tough-guy, big-swinging-johnson poetry Milch is so fond of crafting gives this show much of its propulsion. Another potential hindrance might be Milch's stunning pretension. While the epigrammatic, dirty-eloquent dialogue fires across the page (one guy says, "I may have f**ked my life up flatter'n hammered sh*t, but I stand before you today beholden to no human c*cksucker"), we also get things like this megaton bomb: "He drinks, in his element, widening his horizons to consider other impositions by Fate on the smooth enactment of his will." Dave, please, simmer down.

The interesting thing to see is if Milch stays with the facts and shows how, after the killing of Hickok, Bullock becomes sheriff and McCall has two trials for the murder (in the first, where he claims Wild Bill killed his brother, he's acquitted, but the jury was bribed by the people who hired him; he was retried and eventually hangs). I personally hope Milch does just that; his treatment of the stories in his pilot are so vivid and dynamic that I'd like to see him finish the tale.

Walter Hill, who already visited this material in the historically inaccurate Wild Bill, will direct the pilot, a few other episodes, and serve as a consulting producer. Timothy Olyphant, a talented actor on the rise, plays Bullock. The terrific Molly Parker is Alma Garret, Brom's wife. Ian McShane takes on the role of Swearengen, and Keith Carradine, who was in Hill's Wild Bill, plays Wild Bill Hickok.

Deadwood is certainly gloomy and soiled. It feels like an accurate depiction of the times — the good and the bad — and it does a splendid job of being a treatise wrapped in the cloak of an entertaining oater. It's the best of both worlds, and while Deadwood can never rise to the heights of its namesake, it does come pretty close. And with its unlike-anything-else-on-the-air milieu, its wicked mood, uncleanliness, and its paradoxical retrograde freshness, Deadwood can only mean good things for those of us who seek out intelligent television.

Cheers pete.

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