Farewell, George Armstrong
And there we’ll leave George Armstrong Custer. I think we’re all Custered out. There were a couple more big-screen appearances he made. Peter Horton played him in a 1996 picture Crazy Horse and William Shockley took the role in Stolen Women: Captured Hearts (sounds a gripper) in 1997. He made an appearance also, impersonated by Bill Hader, in Night at the Museum 2 in 2009, and in 2015 David Spade was Custer in The Ridiculous 6, about which I said when it came out:
Parodies only work if the object of the parody is current or strongly established in the mind of those watching them. To me, it is an illustration of the strength of the Western as a lasting film type that a pay-TV company can produce one in 2015 destined at a young adult audience, with pastiche figures appearing in it like General Custer and Wyatt Earp, and with many of the clichés of the genre being rehearsed. It shows how deeply rooted in the American psyche (and in fact world psyche) the Western movie and its accoutrements really are. You only have to put Earp and Custer at a poker table and drop in a remark or two about the fastest gun in the West and dealing with Injuns, and everyone instantly understands where you are coming from.
There were plenty of small-screen Custers too. For example, Custer was a recurring character on the show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Curiously, he had various avatars: he was first played by Taylor Nichols in the episode Epidemic, then by Darren Dalton in The Prisoner and later by Jason Leland Adams in The Abduction, Washita and For Better or Worse.
And doubtless Custer will be back. More actors will assume the mantle. They will be arrogant fools or bold heroes or a mixture.
For now, though, farewell, Autie. Jeff Arnold’s West will be moving onto other themes and pastures new.
So come back soon!