What Is the Movie Son the Morning Star About?

Son of the Morning Star is a historical drama movie that explores the life of General George Armstrong Custer, a prominent figure in the American Civil War and Indian Wars. The film is based on a book by Evan S. Connell by the same name, and it was released in 1991. Directed by Mike Robe, it stars Gary Cole as General Custer and Rosanna Arquette as Libbie Custer, his wife.

Plot Synopsis

The movie is a biographical account of General Custer’s life, from his early days at West Point Military Academy to his death at the Battle of Little Bighorn. The story follows Custer’s military career and his relationships with his fellow soldiers, particularly Major Marcus Reno (played by Rodney A. Grant) and Captain Frederick Benteen (played by Dean Stockwell).

Act I: Early Life and Career

The movie begins with Custer’s arrival at West Point as a young cadet. He quickly shows himself to be a talented but rebellious student who chafes under the strict discipline of the academy. Despite this, he manages to graduate near the top of his class and is assigned to duty in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Custer quickly distinguishes himself on the battlefield, earning promotions through bravery and skill. He is eventually placed in command of a cavalry unit that becomes known as “Custer’s Michigan Brigade.”

Act II: The Indian Wars

After the end of the Civil War, Custer is sent west to fight against Native American tribes who are resisting white settlement on their lands. He leads several successful campaigns against various tribes but also makes enemies among some of his own men for his brashness and recklessness.

The tension between Custer and Reno comes to a head during an ill-fated attack on a Native American village at Little Bighorn. Custer’s forces are vastly outnumbered, and he and his entire command are killed in the ensuing battle.

Act III: Legacy

The movie concludes with Libbie Custer’s efforts to clear her husband’s name and restore his reputation as a hero. She travels the country giving speeches and publishing articles defending him against accusations of incompetence and recklessness.

  • The Cast: The movie features an impressive cast of actors, including Gary Cole as General Custer, Rosanna Arquette as Libbie Custer, Rodney A. Grant as Major Reno, and Dean Stockwell as Captain Benteen.
  • The Cinematography: The film is visually stunning, with sweeping shots of the American West and beautifully staged battle scenes.
  • The Historical Accuracy: While some details have been changed for dramatic effect, the movie generally adheres to the historical record of General Custer’s life.

In conclusion, Son of the Morning Star is a gripping drama that offers a nuanced portrayal of one of America’s most controversial historical figures. With its excellent cast, stunning cinematography, and commitment to historical accuracy, it is a must-see for anyone interested in American history or military history in general.