GenreBiography, History, Western Duration CountryUnited States
WriterEvan S. Connell, Melissa Mathison Release dateFebruary 3, 1991 Episodes1 Episode 1Season 1 - Feb 3 - 1991, 1 Episode 1, 1 Episode 1Season 1 - Feb 3 - 1991, 1 Episode 1 CastGary Cole (George Armstrong Custer), Rosanna Arquette (Libby Custer), Stanley Anderson (Ulysses S. Grant), Edward Blatchford (Lt. Cooke (as Ed Blatchford)), George Dickerson (Gen. Sherman), Rodney A. Grant (Crazy Horse) Similar moviesNorthwest Passage, Drunktown's Finest, Turquoise Rose, Buffalo Dreams, Five Bloody Graves, Scalps, Venganza India
TaglineTwo great warriors. One final confrontation. The last great battle for the American Frontier.
Son of the morning star
Son of the Morning Star is a 1991 American two-part television miniseries released by Chrysalis based on Evan S. Connell's best-selling book of the same name. It starred Gary Cole (General Custer) and featured Dean Stockwell (General Philip Sheridan), Rosanna Arquette (Elizabeth Custer), Rodney A. Grant (Crazy Horse), Nick Ramus (Red Cloud), Buffy Sainte-Marie (voice of Kate Bighead), and Floyd Red Crow Westerman (Sitting Bull).
The film, in two parts, begins in 1876 when the Terry-Gibbon column relieves the remnants of the 7th Cavalry that had survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. They discover Custer's battalion has been annihilated, and the film 'flashes back' and tells Custer's story from the point of view/narrative of his wife, Elizabeth, beginning with the Kansas campaign of the mid-1860s.
Concurrently, the Indian perspective is told through the narrative of Kate Bighead, a young Cheyenne woman, who encountered Custer on several occasions. Kate Bighead's narrative is also used to describe events like the Fetterman Massacre and the Battle of Washita River, as is Elizabeth Custer's, to provide a balanced point of view.
Gary Cole as George Armstrong Custer
Rosanna Arquette as Libby Custer
Stanley Anderson as Ulysses S. Grant
Edward Blatchford as William W. Cooke
George Dickerson as William Tecumseh Sherman
Rodney A. Grant as Crazy Horse
Tom O'Brien as Charley Reynolds
Terry O'Quinn as Alfred Terry
Nick Ramus as Red Cloud
Tim Ransom as Thomas Custer
Robert Schenkkan as Thomas Weir
David Strathairn as Frederick William Benteen
Kimberly Guerrero as Kate Bighead
Buffy Sainte-Marie as Kate Bighead (voice)
Demina Becker as young Kate Bighead
Dean Stockwell as General Philip Sheridan
George K. Sullivan as General Winfield Scott Hancock
Michael Medeiros as Major Marcus Reno
George American Horse as Stone Forehead
Floyd Red Crow Westerman as Sitting Bull
Sheldon Peters Wolfchild as Bloody Knife
Rion Hunter as Sioux Interpreter
Russ Walks as Autie Reed
Bryce Chamberlain as Parsons
Peter Leitner as Dr. Coates
Mike Casey as Charles Varnum
Sav Farrow as Giovanni Martinii
Wendy Feder as Maggie Calhoun
Patrick Johnston as Boston Custer
Eric Lawson as Fred Gerard
Jay Bernard as Congressman
Mike Bacarella as Adjutant at Ft. Lincoln (uncredited)
The release of the mini-series closely followed the theatrical release of Dances with Wolves. Although Kevin Costner was the first choice to play Custer, the role eventually went to Gary Cole. The movie was partially filmed on private property near the Little Bighorn National Monument in Montana near Billings, where a fort was built at a cost of $200,000. Filming also took place in South Dakota at Buffalo Gap and Badlands National Park. 400 horses and 150 Native Americans were employed for the shoot. The 7th Cavalry consisted of 100 historical re-enactors who also doubled as technical advisers for the film.
Variety praised the production as "a master work", with special mentions of quality in production, direction, cinematography and editing. New York magazine drew a comparison between the recently released Dances with Woives stating that the Son of the Morning Star version of Custer as "deals in delusions instead of dreams".
The mini-series won four 1991 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement In Costuming for a Miniseries or a Special, Outstanding Achievement In Makeup for a Miniseries or a Special, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Miniseries or a Special. It was also nominated, but did not win, for Outstanding Achievement In Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Special.