Saturday, February 24, 2018

Steve Adelson shows a 45-70 rifle near Custer Battlefield Museum.

Custer buff shares 25 years of knowledge with Garryowen crowd

Custer Battlefield Museum hosted a dinner and talk with guest speaker Steve Adelson on Wednesday, June 14. Adelson, a historian and author with more than 25 years of study on the Battle of the Little Bighorn, gave a detailed overview of the conflict, and performed a live firing of a 45-70 rifle.
Adelson taught in Montana for nearly 30 years in Belgrade, getting his master’s degree in education from the Montana State University in Bozeman. He has always had an interest in military history and, being within driving of the battlefield while in college, he quickly developed an interest in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Though he is retired now, Adelson is currently a national park ranger at the Little Bighorn National Monument.
His interest and study of the battle led him to the decision of writing and publishing a book: “Little Bighorn, Voices From a Distant Wind.” 
“[I tried] to paint a vivid picture with words,” he said. “[I wanted] to capture the ultimate violence, desperation, and intensity of the encounter.”
After the book, Adelson felt compelled to create a documentary of the battle in the same way as he wrote his book. He contacted Chris Hoffert, a  former student who had become an award-winning film director after serving in the Army. In 2016, they created the documentary, “Contested Ground,” filmed at the battlefield.
Today, the film is playing at the Custer Battlefield Museum, and can be bought there. According the museum director Chris Kortlander, the documentary has been very successful there.
“You see all of the documentaries on the battle out there, but none are like this one,” he said. “I’ve had parents come up to me and thank me, because their kids get so interested in the history after watching the film.”
“Contested Ground” was nominated for a Sundance Film Festival award in 2016, though it did not receive any honors. To lean more about the book and documentary, go to