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One Crowded Hour: the little bighorn
David Larson, author
Two teenagers gallop headlong into battle with Major Reno and A company as they mount a breath-taking charge against the Sioux and Cheyenne village along the river. They live the terror of being forced back into a small grove of cottonwood trees helplessly watching wounded friends being butchered and brutalized. As the fighting builds to an impossible pitch, it becomes clear that the only way out of this killing box is to charge into the enemy and race for better cover. Three companies of cavalry blast out of flimsy cover and into the open valley. The Indians realize the advantage and turn the breakout into a buffalo chase. Troopers endure a running gun battle through the valley, across the Little Bighorn River, and up a coulee to a flat, but defensible portion of the rolling bluffs. Over the next 36 hours the boys fight for their lives, and the lives of those around them as Indians occupy the heights around them. Death stalks every second they stay on that hill. When it becomes clear men are going to start dying of thirst they volunteer to be part of a water party that must sneak back down the coulee, dart across 300 yards of open ground that is defended by the enemy, fill canteens, and make it back up hill safely. Both boys become men on the hill and are forced to see the unvarnished reality and maddening futility of armed combat. Only one of them will live to tell the story.