库斯特计画从三个方向同时攻击印第安人，但是酋长「坐着的公牛」却早已做好迎战的准备。于是，由上尉班亭 (Benteen) 与少校雷诺 (Reno) 率领的两批人马，立刻被迫撤退到河的一边进行苦战。但是库斯特就没有这么幸运了。
Custer's job was to force the Indians back to their reservations. Some of the Indians refused to leave their sacred land, and other hunters were camped in remote places and never learned of the order. The U.S. Army prepared for battle anyway.
Custer planned to attack the Indian camp from three sides, but Chief Sitting Bull was ready for them. The first two groups, led by Captain Benteen and Major Reno, were immediately forced to retreat to one side of the river, where they continued to fight as best they could. Custer was not as lucky.