Little Big Man [1970]

Jack Crabb is the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the centenarian shares his story in this picaresque fable of the Old West. In Arthur Penn's adaptation of Thomas Berger's novel, Dustin Hoffman plays Jack from teen years into old age in a bravura performance. And Jack's story is a fantastic one: captured by Indians as a boy, reared as an Indian, shuttling back and forth between the white and Indian worlds. In the process, he befriends everyone from Wild Bill Hickock to George Armstrong Custer and is a gunslinger, a snake-oil salesman, and an Army scout. This is a solid blend of comedy and tragedy, with a strong statement to make about America's treatment of Native Americans without sermonizing. A terrific cast includes Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam, and Richard Mulligan. But this show is all Hoffman's. --Marshall Fine

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