One day in 1912 Frank Finkel and his wife, Delila, traveled from Dayton to Walla Walla. No one could know that a casual visit to the cinema would bring Finkel’s past back to haunt him and unlock a mystery surrounding one of the most infamous battles between U.S. soldiers and Native tribes in American history.
The moving picture playing at the Keylor Grand that day was “Custer’s Last Fight.” Halfway through the film, Finkel stood up to leave. On the ride home, Finkel would reveal to Delila an incredible story from his past . . . one he hadn’t shared for 34 years. Word quietly spread, and the Dayton community wanted to hear his account. Eventually Finkel was persuaded to share his story: that he was a military veteran who had escaped his final battle, shot and blinded by blood. He claimed to be the sole survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, where General Custer and over 270 U.S. troops perished. But was he telling the truth? The details behind the battle have been investigated by the government, scholars, historians, and private individuals. Gary Lentz will look at all the fascinating details behind this mystery and the enigmatic man who claimed to be the sole survivor.