I've made the great mistake of watching this film, before I've watched "They died with their boots on". Not being familiar with the grand story and glorified legend of Gen. Custer I viewed this as a rather weird stand-off between Fonda and Wayne. Many of Honda's actions don't make the least sense, but compared to the 1940 antecedent this is obviously the much more insightful movie.
Henry Fonda really manages to get across as a stuck-up, yesteryear's hero and I deeply disliked the character. That was best achieved by showing the bizarre pedantry for protocol and the total absence of humor. That the man is also safe-guarding his daughter (ineffectively, in the end) illustrates a humane side which makes him all the more real.
There are some amazing scenes and the battle scenes are fast and breathtaking. I thought the sense of space and geography in the final scenes quite interesting. I'm not quite sure, how Wayne could get to Custer and release him in battle again, but the editing somehow made it work.