News | Feb. 16, 2024

Applying Three Decisionmaking Models to the Lakota Sioux Wars

By Jacob Ivie and Bradley F. Podliska Joint Force Quarterly 112

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Custer’s Last Stand, by Edgar Samuel Paxson, oil on canvas, 1899 (Courtesy Whitney Gallery of Western Art)
Major Jacob Ivie, USAF, is Director of Wing Inspections at the 552nd Air Control Wing. Bradley F. Podliska is an Assistant Professor of Military and Security Studies at the Air Command and Staff College.

A core responsibility of a leader, whether it be the President of the United States, a general officer in the military, or a newly commissioned second lieutenant, is decisionmaking. Leaders, set with their own perceptions of the world, biases, motivations, and values, are trying to resolve the uncertainty of the future by planning. In this situation, leaders do not have the advantage of hindsight, which provides clarity when analyzing a decision. Hindsight or any post hoc analysis allows for an understanding of the facts and circumstances surrounding a decision—all without temporal pressure or the fog of war to impede adequate processing.1 For example, most students of war would agree that General Robert Lee’s decision to order Pickett’s charge and Adolf Hitler’s decision to attack the Soviet Union were imprudent and arguably led to the demise of their respective armies.

Leaders, however, do have an ex ante tool at their disposal—decision strategies—and these strategies offer a structure to make an objective analysis—one that can explain a decision, a prediction, or even both. More specifically, leaders can use one of three prominent decision strategies—expected utility, cybernetic, or poliheuristic—as a tool to understand, analyze, and resolve complicated situations.

These strategies are best exemplified as a case study. While they can be applied to any battle, the war between the U.S. Army and the Lakota Sioux during the Black Hills Campaign, given the series of decisions by three very different individuals, offers an exemplary historical event for examination. In particular, the strategies can be applied to the June 1876 decisions of Crazy Horse, Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, and Major Marcus Reno.2

The following paragraphs take the reader through three case studies applying varying decision strategies using cognitive and subjective, as well as rational and objective, patterns of behavior. The analysis provides a construct to explain the reasons why Crazy Horse attacked Brigadier General George Crook at the Battle of Rosebud, why Custer ignored multiple advisors and attacked the numerically superior Lakota Sioux people at the Little Bighorn River, and why Reno decided to halt his offensive movement and establish defensive pickets at the beginning of Little Bighorn. More important, the analysis provides scenarios in which the reader can compare patterns of behavior unique to each leader. The connections between personalities and histories of behavior reveal patterns that may be used as tools for current leaders to link past actions, assess current actions, and predict future actions.

Sitting Bull, cabinet card, Bismarck, Dakota Territory, circa 1883 (David F. Barry)

Decision Strategies

To assist in understanding and making optimal decisions, decisionmakers have tools and structure in the form of three decision strategies: expected utility, cybernetic, and poliheuristic.

First, expected utility is a holistic approach to decisionmaking that weighs all factors to maximize the total value and identify the most desirable outcome.3 These factors are compensatory, which means that a high value in one can compensate for a low value in another. A primary assumption under this theory is that decisionmakers are rational, but because all humans are unique, not all leaders will assign the same utility to the same factors.4 Since leaders have varying thresholds for how much risk to assume, decisions may vary but will remain rational relative to the decisionmaker’s preferences.5 The expected utility decision strategy weighs the values of options against the probability of outcomes to mathematically calculate the decision that provides the most benefit.

Cybernetic, the second decision strategy, is a nonrational, cognitive approach that relies on intuition and experience. While the cognitive process associated with a cybernetic approach is complex, the goal is to make the decision process as simple as possible by eliminating uncertainty and resolving ambiguity.6 The leader makes a “good enough” decision often due to temporal constraints. Although a strength of this approach is timeliness, cybernetic processing is less predictable than expected utility and does not assess all factors. In fact, cybernetic decisions are often made based on past data, a psychological principle known as reinforcement.7 Thus, a leader’s experience and personality heavily influence outcomes when applying the cybernetic approach.

The third decision strategy is a poliheuristic approach that combines rational and cognitive processing in a two-stage model. The first stage is noncompensatory and cognitive, since the decisionmaker has multiple factors to consider, but eliminates those options with characteristics that are dealbreakers. These factors, or “dimensions,” as Alex Mintz describes them, are noncompensatory in that no degree of positivity in other factors will compensate for the negative quality of the noncompensatory dimension.8 Notably, the decisionmaker may encounter multiple levels of noncompensatory dimensions in the decision process. After decisionmakers eliminate options containing qualities in the noncompensatory dimension, they are left with either one option or multiple options in the compensatory dimensions during the second stage. These dimensions may then be assigned values of expected utility and rationally assessed to assign an overall value for each option.9 For example, leaders often subjectively eliminate any option that could result in termination from their position and then objectively assess the remaining options.

Native American depiction of Battle of Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876 (Amos Bad Heart Bull, also known as Wanbli Waphaha

The Black Hills Battles of the Lakota Sioux Wars

The war between the Lakota Sioux and the U.S. Army during the summer of 1876 provides a case study for examining each of these decision strategies. The situation leading up to the battles had been mostly peaceful since the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was signed, establishing the Dakota territories west of the Missouri River as the Great Sioux Reservation. The treaty allowed the Sioux to hunt outside the borders but forbade “occupation” of the lands beyond.10 Conflict arose in 1873 after a financial panic, when miners, seeking gold, sneaked into a remote area of the reservation called the Black Hills. The Army appointed Custer to lead an expedition in 1874 to determine the quantity of gold in the region. His report was highly favorable, so President Ulysses S. Grant, determined to pay off the national debt, attempted to buy back the land from the Sioux, but the tribe refused to agree to the price. As miners began to flood into the area, Grant relied on exaggerated reports of violations by the Sioux to issue an ultimatum to all the “wild” bands to leave their hunting grounds by January 31, 1876. The Sioux, understandably, did not comply, and minor skirmishes turned into a full-fledged war between the Army and the Lakota Sioux.11

Crazy Horse and George Crook. The first case study involves Crazy Horse’s decision to attack General Crook’s forces at the Battle of Rosebud, on June 17, 1876. By this time, the United States had launched a three-prong offensive to find and eradicate any Sioux in the Black Hills. General John Gibbon came from Fort Ellis, Montana, in the west, while General Alfred Terry came from Fort Lincoln in the east, accompanied by Custer and the Seventh Cavalry. Crook’s column of about 1,000 men came from the south. All the commanders knew the Sioux were trapped in the area but had difficulty precisely locating the warriors.12 On the evening of June 16, following a Sun Dance ritual, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were camped on Ash Creek and received a report from Cheyenne scouts that “Three Stars” (Crook) was coming north.13 Since Sitting Bull was greatly fatigued from cutting himself for a blood sacrifice, staring at the sun, and dancing to the point of unconsciousness, Crazy Horse was the leader suitably fit to make a decision to attack or evade.14

A brief description of Crazy Horse’s personality enhances understanding of his thought process. His parents were an Oglala Lakota also named Crazy Horse and a Miniconjou Lakota named Rattling Blanket Woman. The son was raised to be patient out of necessity since his father was a medicine man and did not have the traditional duties within the tribe, especially as a hunter. His childhood was riddled with persecution for his having light hair and being the son of a medicine man. This turmoil gave him a unique perspective.15 For example, Crazy Horse was more prudent during the Sun Dance and did not overexert himself, a testament to his character as one of pragmatism and humility. While other Sioux displayed full headdresses of eagle feathers, each a symbol of killing or touching an enemy in combat, he rarely displayed more than one or two, even though his father reported he had killed over 30 men.16 Crazy Horse was also a planner, but his desire for well-laid plans was often overruled in circumstances created by younger, more zealous warriors. One such example was in the Yellowstone Valley in August 1872, when his band of warriors discovered Major Eugene M. Baker’s Second Cavalry. Crazy Horse wanted to plan a careful attack, but the young warriors could not resist the temptation of capturing the rations and horses, resulting in a hastily conducted attack. Losing the element of surprise, Crazy Horse angrily ordered a withdrawal and left the area empty-handed.17 He faced a similar situation 4 years later at Rosebud.

Early on the morning of June 16, Crook departed Goose Creek with a sizable force of 975 Soldier combatants and 250 auxiliaries from the U.S.-aligned Crow and Shoshone tribes.18 His objective was to find and destroy a strong Lakota village in the area. Shortly after departing, the column crossed paths with a fleeing buffalo herd, which led to the discovery of an abandoned camp containing a wickiup (hut) with partially cooked buffalo meat.19 After a hard day’s ride, and suspicious that Crazy Horse had seen the column, Crook ordered a cold bed-down with no fires and orders to move out at 4:30 a.m. the next day. The column moved out on time and followed the South Fork of Rosebud Creek to the northeast. At 8 a.m., the scouts reported seeing mounted Sioux. The report was ambiguous but enough to make Crook halt the column and dismount the cavalry to set up picket lines.20 The Soldiers took this opportunity to relax and casually sprawl out for about an hour and a half before hearing gunfire. Initially, most Soldiers thought the Crow and Shoshone scouts were firing at buffalo, until the scouts appeared riding as fast as they could with hostiles pursuing them.21

Map of Custer’s Battle-Ground, in Philetus W. Norris, The Calumet of the Coteau, and Other Poetical Legends of the Border (Philadelphia: J.B.
Lippincott and Co., 1883), 42 (U.S. Army/P.W. Norris and E. Maguire/Library of Congress)

Shortly after noon on June 16, the Cheyenne scout Little Hawk, who was loyal to the Lakota Sioux, pursued what he thought were other friendly Sioux only to discover Crook’s entire column on a march near the head of the Rosebud. He immediately set out to report the location of Crook’s column to Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, who were encamped at an enormous village at what is known today as Reno Creek.22 The two Sioux leaders were initially inclined to avoid contact, but the clamor from the younger warriors made them realize that a clash was inevitable.23 This decision point reflects the first noncompensatory stage of Crazy Horse’s use of a poliheuristic approach. The noncompensatory dimension was the morale of his warriors and his honor and prestige as a warrior-leader. He eliminated any option to evade and not attack because he needed to appease his warriors, who were in high spirits and anxious to fight, and to preserve his honor as a leader of the Lakota.

Crazy Horse then entered the second stage of the poliheuristic model. Once he decided to move out, there were two considerations that emerged. The first was how many warriors he would take to confront Crook. Some advised to move every warrior toward Crook’s forces, but Crazy Horse knew if he took all the warriors, he would leave the women and children unprotected.24 The second consideration was whether to set up a defensive line to intercept Crook’s column or to offensively attack Crook wherever he and his warriors would happen to find Crook’s column. Understanding that he had to act and act quickly, Crazy Horse was faced with four options: take all the warriors and set up a defensive line, take all the warriors and assume the offensive, leave a portion in reserve and set up a defensive line, or leave a portion in reserve and assume the offensive.

Major General George Armstrong Custer, May 1865 (Library of Congress/National Archives and
Records Administration/Mathew Brady)

Using the poliheuristic model, these four options require dimensions against which to measure utility and weigh the options. The first dimension is protecting the women and children. Taking all the warriors has a low utility since the innocents would be unprotected, while leaving reserves receives a higher score in this first dimension regardless of the offensive or defensive option. The second dimension involves gaining and retaining the initiative. Setting up a defensive line inherently gives up the initiative, while sending all the troops might require more time and a smaller contingent would be more expeditious. The third dimension is the level of stealth required to achieve the element of surprise. The ability to remain concealed decreases as the number of warriors increases, making the option to take all the warriors have a lower utility in this third dimension. Inversely, defensive operations inherently favor concealment and stealth, giving the defensive option higher utility than the offensive one. The fourth dimension is reputation—not just for Crazy Horse, but for all the warriors. Native American culture is rife with honor and tradition, which would tip the scales of utility toward an offensive attack, while the honor of protecting the elders also carries heavy weight. The fifth and final dimension is force ratio. Higher numbers increase the probability of overall mission success, making the option to take all the warriors more desirable, while force ratio also benefits the defense over the offense. Table 1 below depicts five dimensions Crazy Horse likely considered in his decision and numerical values based on estimated utility for each option (1 to 5, with 1 representing low utility and 5 representing high utility). The calculation reveals that leaving a reserve force and using the remaining warriors to mount an offensive has the highest utility of 18.

Table 1.

The Battle of Rosebud started on the morning of June 17, with Crazy Horse having the element of surprise after a night march to Rosebud and a short rest between dawn and about 8:30 a.m., when he resumed his march.25 He opted to leave a portion of his forces behind and aggressively seek out Crook’s column with the remaining forces numbering approximately 750.26 The battle raged for 6 hours with warriors attacking and withdrawing, giving the women and children back at camp time to escape. Although Crook reported this battle as a victory since he successfully drove Crazy Horse’s warriors from the field, it was a strategic loss. Crook did not find the Sioux encampment and abandoned his mission. Worse yet, he did little to pursue the warriors and failed to report accurate numbers, strength, and tactics to Terry and Gibbon, depriving Custer of critical intelligence.27

The Custer Fight, by Charles Marion Russell, lithograph showing Battle of Little Bighorn from the Native American side, 1903 (Library of
Congress, with restoration by Adam Cuerden)

Custer’s Blunder. The second case study exemplifies the cybernetic processes underlying Custer’s decision to attack the Sioux camp at the Battle of Little Bighorn. This case study begins with an examination of Custer’s personality to lay a foundation for understanding his cognitive decisionmaking. Custer was an extroverted individual who had vast experience fighting the native peoples, thought of the frontier as one huge adventure, and was viewed as aloof and insubordinate by many superiors. During the Civil War, Custer was a fearless and sometimes reckless combatant underpinned by his sense of divine protection from death, as indicated in a letter to his wife, Libbie, in May 1864. In the letter, he attributed his self-proclaimed bravery to his destiny being in the “hands of the almighty.”28 Custer’s first experience after the close of the Civil War was on the Great Plains in 1867 under General Winfield Hancock. Hancock’s heavy hand when dealing with the native tribes set up circumstances where Custer was unsuccessful and lost favor with his superiors. This failure, coupled with problems of desertion and separation from Libbie, were reasons that Custer used to justify leaving his command and traveling 150 miles to see her. As a result, he faced a court-martial and lost his command for a year.29

Custer was desperate to repair his reputation and, with the help of General Terry, eventually achieved reinstatement and headed to Fort Hayes, Kansas.30 His first engagement after being reinstated was in Oklahoma at the Washita River in November 1868, where young warriors from the friendly tribes were conducting raids into Kansas. Custer, commanding about 800 men, successfully tracked down a band of raiders, divided his forces into four even detachments, and surrounded their camp. In less than an hour and without the aid of reconnaissance, Custer’s Soldiers killed over 100 warriors; 1 U.S. Soldier was killed, and 13 were wounded.31 Custer had proved to his superiors that he was competent. In the years to follow, he wrote his wife long letters about his adventures on the Plains, recalling one extended march in 1873 as being “perfectly delightful thus far,” while his superior, Colonel David S. Stanley, who complained about being wet for 9 days straight, referred to Custer as “untruthful and unprincipled.”32

On June 23, 1876, about a week after Rosebud, Custer’s Seventh Cavalry rode west ahead of Terry in search of the hostiles. Along the 33-mile trek, they found the remains of campsites indicating they were on the trail of a large group of Lakota Sioux. Around 4:30 p.m., they stopped to camp along the east side of the Rosebud River to allow the pack mules to catch up.33 The next day, the column found even more abandoned encampments, but these were fresher than those discovered the previous day. By 1 p.m., Custer called another halt to assess the situation. He received a report that there might have been a trail 10 miles back that had been overlooked, so he sent scouts back but also sent some scouts forward to reconnoiter the path ahead. About 3 hours later, the scouts returned with two pieces of news.

First, the overlooked trail 10 miles back was a detour that joined with the main trail they had been traveling. Second, along the main trail 12 miles ahead was a fresh camp, indicating that a massive Sioux encampment was no more than 30 miles ahead.34 At 5 p.m., they resumed their march, finding more camps with smoldering fires, and at 7:45 p.m. they halted on the west side of the Rosebud. By 9 p.m., scouts reported that the trail broke from the Rosebud and led to the valley of the Little Bighorn. The Sioux encampment was closer than Terry had predicted, and Custer had a decision to make.35

Terry ordered Custer to march southward and then westward if the trail turned away from the Rosebud, but he left a loophole by adding, “unless you see sufficient reasons [for] departing from [the orders].”36 What constituted “sufficient reasons” in this case is debatable, but the hostiles were so close that marching southward was likely to expose, or might have already exposed, the column of 600 men. Additionally, the long march would delay Custer until June 27, and Terry could arrive as early as June 26. Custer saw this as a golden opportunity to avoid the ridicule and courts-martial other officers had endured after allowing the Sioux to escape.37 Thus, Custer decided to “disobey” orders and follow the trail on the morning of June 25, when his scouts informed him that they had spotted the hostile village. The scouts stated they could also see the campfires of the column from their lookout point. Many of Custer’s men agreed that his position had been compromised, even though the only proof was a pair of Sioux riders who had been seen briefly before disappearing.38 Notably, no less than five trusted men warned Custer that a great number of hostiles were at the encampment. One Crow scout even told Custer that there were too many to fight with all the men at his disposal, urging him not to divide his forces.39 Yet Custer acted completely opposite, dividing 12 companies into 3 divisions to attack along multiple axes without Terry’s reinforcements.

Custer’s decision to attack was cybernetic for four reasons. First, he sought to eliminate the uncertainty of whether the Seventh Cavalry under his command would reap the glory of eradicating the Sioux threat before it dispersed. Delay might cause the encampment to disperse, robbing Custer of the opportunity to improve his reputation. Second, he fell victim to a cognitive bias known as social corroboration, where decisionmakers “bolster their judgments by the concurring opinions of other people.”40 His scouts convinced Custer that his position had been compromised despite the lack of evidence.

Third, inferences of transformation or wishful thinking played a role by allowing Custer to cognitively dismiss the repeated warnings of multiple eyewitnesses who swore there were more warriors than the unit could handle. This notion of superior numbers was inconsistent with previous encounters and, even if true, would, as Custer thought, play out favorably over time.41 When Bloody Knife stated there were enough Sioux to “keep us fighting two or three days,” Custer’s response was, “I guess we’ll get through them in one day.”42 This aloof response shows that rational decision processes had given way to predilections in Custer’s mind. The fourth reason is an example of the cognitive concept of reinforcement.43 Custer’s success at Washita was based on two factors: the element of surprise and dividing his forces. Thus, he based his decision to divide forces on the idea that past success would surely lead to future success. He assigned companies D, H, and K to Captain Frederick Benteen, who immediately rode to the left to sweep the area for Sioux while Custer took companies C, E, F, I, and L and continued toward the Little Bighorn valley with Reno’s A, G, and M companies.

Reno’s Encounter. The last case study is Reno’s expected utility decision to set up a defensive skirmish line at first contact with the southern flank of the Sioux camp. Reno had served with minimal distinction during the Civil War and joined the Seventh Cavalry after Washita in 1868. He was known as a humorless person who favored the bottle and was not well liked by his fellow officers, but he was cautious and prudent in his decisionmaking.44 Reno and Custer followed a small tributary named Ash Creek (now Reno Creek) to a point where they split; Reno crossed the Little Bighorn River and advanced to the left following an order to pursue a band of 50 fleeing Sioux, while Custer continued along a bluff on the right side of the river opposite the encampment to attack from the north.45 When Reno approached the village, he saw that there were significantly more warriors than he or Custer had anticipated. Custer had not relayed his intentions to attack the north but rather had told Reno he had Custer’s support. Reno was left with a decision to continue the charge into a possibly overwhelmingly larger force or to set up a defensive skirmish line. He opted for the latter.46

Reno’s situation exemplifies the expected utility method of decisionmaking based on the probability of whether the opposing force was overwhelming. The common force ratio of three to one is traditionally required for an attacking force and will be used to define overwhelming in this case (see table 2). If Reno assigned a 70 percent chance that the forces ahead would be overwhelming, as depicted in columns A and B, he would have then weighed the probability against the options to charge or defend (rows 1 and 2) by computing expected utility values from 1 to 10 for each of the four outcomes. Charging in the face of an overwhelming force (1A) has the lowest value of 2 because of the inability to counterattack and likelihood of being surrounded. Charging against a manageable force (1B) has a high value of 8 because it accomplishes the mission without annihilation. Setting up a defensive skirmish line against an overwhelming force (2A) has a value of 6 because the Sioux could have time to scatter, but it increases the likelihood of survival and reinforcements. Defending against a manageable force (2B) has a value of 4, since the opportunity to seize the initiative is lost but the options for a counterattack and pursuit remain. Tallied totals show the defense option with a value of 5.4 is greater than the value of 3.8 for the option of charging. The decision to set up a defensive line reflects the holistic and rational approach of the expected utility process.

Table 2.


The outcome of the Battle of Little Bighorn varied greatly for the three leaders. Reno’s move from the south came as a surprise to Crazy Horse, who was expecting Custer but had not seen Reno break off. But because Reno’s men were so tired, they were unable to hold and were forced to retreat back across the Little Bighorn.47 About half of Reno’s unit finally managed to occupy the bluff where Reno had last seen Custer and take up a defensive position.48 Eventually, Benteen arrived and rescued Reno and what remained of his three companies, but neither Reno nor Benteen knew Custer’s location.49 Custer, having seen Reno’s advance, took his five companies over the hill, never to be seen again.50 Debates resound about the details, but evidence points to at least two companies making it to the river before the entire force was repelled and devastated at the high ground north of the Little Bighorn, where monuments exist now. When Reno attacked, Crazy Horse was at the encampment and led a group of warriors across the river to assist in the destruction of Custer’s five companies.51 The speculation varies as much as the personalities involved, but Sitting Bull revealed in an interview years after the battle that “the Long Hair [Custer] stood like a sheaf of corn with all the ears fallen around him.”52

Examining the factors leading to the decisions made by Crazy Horse, Custer, and Reno through the lenses of expected utility, cybernetic, and poliheuristic decision strategies enables objectivity in analysis and hindsight. It also offers an example of how to study three different leaders, each of whom resolved uncertainty with their decisions, even if such decisions proved disastrous. Modern leaders can utilize these same tools to make sense of complexity and to apply a framework to analyze an opponent’s past decisions, compare the findings to the present situation, and then predict future courses of action. JFQ


1 David Hackett Fischer, Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (New York: Harper & Row, 1970).

2 Although Custer held the rank of brevet major general during the Civil War, his rank of lieutenant colonel is used for reference to command relationships with superiors and subordinates.

3 Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, The War Trap (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 20, 30.

4 Ibid., 29.

5 Ibid., 31.

6 John D. Steinbruner, The Cybernetic Theory of Decision: New Dimensions of Political Analysis (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), 51, 88–89.

7 Ibid., 112–114.

8 Alex Mintz, “How Do Leaders Make Decisions? A Poliheuristic Perspective,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 48, no. 1 (February 2004), 6–8; Alex Mintz, “The Decision to Attack Iraq: A Noncompensatory Theory of Decision Making,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 37, no. 4 (December 1993), 599–600.

9 Ibid., 597.

10 James Donovan, A Terrible Glory: Custer and Little Bighorn, the Last Great Battle of the American West (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008), 28–29.

11 Ibid., 32–36.

12 Stephen E. Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (New York: Anchor Books, 1996), 417–419.

13 Ibid., 417.

14 Thomas Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse (New York: Vintage Books, 2010), 174.

15 Joseph M. Marshall III, The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), 4, 14.

16 Ibid., 31.

17 Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer, 353.

18 Paul L. Hedren, Rosebud, June 17, 1876: Prelude to the Little Bighorn (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), 155.

19 Ibid., 159.

20 Ibid., 161–163.

21 Ibid., 165.

22 Ibid., 168–170.

23 Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse, 175.

24 Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer, 417.

25 Ibid., 420–421.

26 Hedren, Rosebud, June 17, 1876, 176.

27 Donovan, A Terrible Glory, 153–154.

28 Kevin M. Sullivan, Custer’s Road to Disaster: The Path to Little Bighorn (Guilford, CT: TwoDot, 2013), 38.

29 Ibid., 57–58.

30 Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer, 404.

31 Ibid., 311–321.

32 Ibid., 357–359.

33 Donovan, A Terrible Glory, 195–196.

34 Ibid., 196–197.

35 Ibid., 197–198.

36 Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer, 427.

37 Donovan, A Terrible Glory, 199.

38 Ibid., 207.

39 Ibid., 212.

40 Steinbruner, The Cybernetic Theory of Decision, 121.

41 Ibid., 116–117.

42 Donovan, A Terrible Glory, 206.

43 Steinbruner, The Cybernetic Theory of Decision, 113–114.

44 Donovan, A Terrible Glory, 93.

45 Michael N. Donahue, Drawing Battle Lines: The Map Testimony of Custer’s Last Fight (El Segundo, CA: Upton and Sons Publishers, 2008). See hand-drawn map by Frederick Benteen, 66.

46 Donavan, A Terrible Glory, 228–229.

47 Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer, 438–439.

48 Donovan, A Terrible Glory, 238.

49 Ibid., 259.

50 Sullivan, Custer’s Road, 165.

51 Ibid., 170.

52 Stephen Brennan, ed., An Autobiography of General Custer (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2012), 279.