Custer (TV series)

Custer, also known as The Legend of Custer, is a 17-episode military-western television series which ran on ABC from September 6 to December 27, 1967, with Wayne Maunder in the starring role of then Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. During the American Civil War, Custer had risen to the rank of major general, the youngest in the Union Army. He was demoted after the war during force reductions to the rank of Captain, but was reinstated in 1866 as a Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 7th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas.[1] Many of the soldiers in the regiment were derelicts, former Confederates, or even criminals. The series was cancelled before the script timeline would have reached the Little Big Horn River of southeastern Montana, where all perished on June 25, 1876, in a Sioux Indian ambush.[1]

Wayne Maunder as Custer.
StarringWayne Maunder
Slim Pickens
Robert F. Simon
Michael Dante
Peter Palmer
Grant Woods
Composer(s)Richard Markowitz (1.1)
Leith Stevens (1.1, 1.5, 1.7, 1.13; and theme music)
Robert Drasnin (1.12)
Harry Geller (1.14)
Irving Gertz (1.15)
Joseph Mullendore (1.17, as "MULLENDORE")
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Running time60 minutes
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Original releaseSeptember 6 (1967-09-06) 
December 27, 1967 (1967-12-27)

Robert F. Simon played Custer's commanding officer, U.S. General Alfred H. Terry, who disapproved of Custer's long hair and much of his methodology of fighting Indians.[2] Slim Pickens starred as a scout named California Joe Milner. Michael Dante appeared as Sioux Chief Crazy Horse. Peter Palmer played Sergeant James Bustard, a former Confederate soldier.[1] Grant Woods appeared as Captain Myles Keogh. Read Morgan, formerly a cavalry officer on NBC's The Deputy, appeared in the episode "Spirit Woman" in the role of a medicine man.

A 20th Century Fox Production, Custer was created by Samuel A. Peeples and David Weisbart, and is unique in carrying the credit "Series Suggested By Larry Cohen." Leo Penn, the father of Sean Penn, directed some episodes.[1]

Guest stars included Lloyd Bochner, Rory Calhoun, Philip Carey, James Daly, Alexander Davion, Burr DeBenning, Yvonne De Carlo, Gene Evans, Arthur Franz, Billy Gray, Barbara Hale, Stacy Harris, Earl Holliman, Robert Loggia, Darren McGavin, Ralph Meeker, Mary Ann Mobley, Agnes Moorehead (as Watoma), Edward Mulhare, Kathleen Nolan, Larry Pennell, Paul Petersen, Donnelly Rhodes (as War Cloud), Chris Robinson, Ned Romero, Barbara Rush, Albert Salmi, William Smith (as Chief Tall Knife), Dub Taylor, Ray Walston, James Whitmore, Terry Wilson, and William Windom.[3] In the last episode entitled "The Raiders", Custer enlists the aid of Kiowa Indians to help him to locate the parties responsible for a series of wagon train raids.[4]

Custer faced competition from NBC's long-running 90-minute western The Virginian starring James Drury and Doug McClure and CBS's Lost in Space starring Guy Williams, June Lockhart, and Mark Goddard.[5]

Maunder was twenty-eight when he was cast as the 28-year-old Custer. The show was canceled due to poor reviews[6] and protests by Native American tribes throughout the United States[7]


Title Air date
1"Sabers in the Sun"September 6, 1967 (1967-09-06)
2"Accused"September 13, 1967 (1967-09-13)
3"Glory Rider"September 20, 1967 (1967-09-20)
4"To the Death"September 27, 1967 (1967-09-27)
5"Massacre"October 4, 1967 (1967-10-04)
6"War Lance and Saber"October 11, 1967 (1967-10-11)
7"Suspicion"October 18, 1967 (1967-10-18)
8"Breakout"November 1, 1967 (1967-11-01)
9"Desperate Mission"November 8, 1967 (1967-11-08)
10"Under Fire"November 15, 1967 (1967-11-15)
11"Death Hunt"November 22, 1967 (1967-11-22)
12"Blazing Arrows"November 29, 1967 (1967-11-29)
13"Dangerous Prey"December 6, 1967 (1967-12-06)
14"Spirit Woman"December 13, 1967 (1967-12-13)
15"The Gauntlet"December 20, 1967 (1967-12-20)
16"The Raiders"December 27, 1967 (1967-12-27)
This episode did not air on ABC.[8]


  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 190
  2. "Plot summary for Custer". Internet Movie Data Base.
  3. "Episode List for Custer". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  4. "Custer". Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  5. 1967-1968 American network television schedule, appendix of Total Television
  6. "Time Tunnel".
  7. Vine., Deloria (1988). Custer died for your sins : an Indian manifesto. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 24. ISBN 0806121297. OCLC 17234301.
  8. "Pursued" on IMDb
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