Mari Sandoz's account of the battle in which General George Armstrong Custer staked his life—and lost—reveals on every page the author's intimate knowledge of her subject. Mari repeatedly walked the battlefield to not only gain a better feel for the space, but also to accurately describe the landscape, views, vistas, and battle strategy.
The character of the Oglala, the personality of Custer, the mixed emotions of Custer's men, the Plains landscape—all emerge with such clarity that the reader is transported in time to that spring of 1876, when the Army of the Plains began its fateful march toward the Yellowstone. The background of the tragedy is here: the history of bad blood and broken treaties between the Oglala and the United States, the underlying reason for Custer's expedition and for the convocation of Indians on the Little Bighorn that particular year. The author's analysis of Custer's motives and political ambitions sheds new light on an old mystery is hotly disputed by the general's admirers.