Santa Ynez, CA. For the first time since it’s filming in 1999, “Comanche, Treasured Hero of the 7th Cavalry,” the last film by the legendary producer/director Burt Kennedy, is being released on DVD. THe film, based on the true story of one of the only survivors of the Battle of the Little Big Horn - Comanche, the beloved horse of Capt. Myles Keogh - is being made available by Burt Kennedy’s daughters - Susan Kennedy-McNutt and Bridget Kennedy.
Running time 30 minutes.
The Story of Comanche
One of the great horse/war stories ever told is also a true one. A survivor from the 7TH Cavalry at the Battle of the little Big Horn, Co- manche was the personal mount of Captain Myles Keogh. Comanche was a mixed mustang/morgan horse and got his name while fighting the Comanches in Kansas in 1868. The horse was wounded in the hindquarters by an arrow, but continued to let Keogh fight from his back. Thus, the horse was named “Comanche” to honor his bravery. He was wounded many more times, always exhibiting the same tough- ness. On June 25, 1876, Captain Keogh rode Comanche into history at the infamous Battle of the Little Bighorn. Comanche was found two days after the battle, badly wounded, clinging to life. After being transported by riverboat to Fort lincoln, he was slowly nursed back to health. After a lengthy convalescence, Comanche was retired.
In april 1878, Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis issued the following famous & humane, General Order Number 7. Its text follows:
Headquarters Seventh U.S. Cavalry
Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory
April 10, 1878
General Order No. 7
A) The horse known as “Comanche” being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little Big Horn, Montana, June 25, 1876, his kind treatment and comfort should be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of the 7TH Cavalry, to the end that his life may be pro- longed to the utmost limit. Though wounded and scarred, his very silence speaks in terms more eloquent than words of the desperate struggle against overwhelming odds of the hopeless conflict and heroic manner in which all went down that day.
B) The commanding officer of I troop will see that a special and comfortable stall is fitted up for Comanche; he will
not be ridden by any person whatever under any circumstances, nor will he be put to any kind of work.
C) Hereafter upon all occasions of ceremony (of mounted regimental formation), Comanche saddled, bridled and
led by a mounted trooper of Troop I, will be paraded with the regiment.
By Command of Colonel Sturgis:
(Signed) E.A. Garlington, 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant, U.S. 7TH Cavalry
In addition to the above orders the following orders were issued:
1. Comanche will be fed a special blend of oats and hay, as per myles Keogh diet for the horse, once a week. There will always be fresh water in the drinking trough.
2. Comanche will be exercised daily in mid-morning, before the temperature gets too hot. After his exercise session, he will be wiped down. In the evening, before Comanche retires, he shall be rubbed down.
Comanche died of colic at the age of 29 on November 7, 1891. The officers of the 7TH Calvary preserved the horse
via a taxidermist and today Comanche is on view at The Museum of Natural History at the University of Kansas. The late, famed producer/director Burt Kennedy created “Comanche, Treasured Hero of the 7TH Cavalry” as a documentary in 1999. Many of Hollywood’s finest starred in it, including Wilford Brimley, Angie Dickinson, Gerald McRaney and Buck Taylor. With narration by Kris Kristofferson, the film was never released or broadcast, rather was available as a rare VHS tape sold with a model of Comanche through the maker of collectible horse figures, Breyer Animal Creations. Now in conjunction with Alamar Media, the film is available with the generosity and cooperation of Burt Kennedy’s family. “Comanche” is a story of heroism that should never be forgotten and is a great film for the entire family or for your local school or library.