The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms
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"The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms" is episode 130 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on December 6, 1963 on CBS. In this episode, a group of soldiers travel back in time to take part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
|"The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Alan Crosland Jr.|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||December 6, 1963|
June twenty-fifth 1964—or, if you prefer, June twenty-fifth 1876. The cast of characters in order of their appearance: a patrol of General Custer's cavalry and a patrol of National Guardsmen on a maneuver. Past and present are about to collide head-on, as they are wont to do in a very special bivouac area known as....the Twilight Zone.
The show's teaser on June 25, 1876 has an army scout; a Sgt and a trooper finding evidence of Indians; an arrow strikes the Scout in the back while the Sgt and Cpl fire their carbines at the unseen foe. The time jumps ahead to the present-June 25, 1964, the 88th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, three United States Army National Guard soldiers (MSgt. William Connors, Pvt. Michael McCluskey, Cpl. Richard Langsford) are in a tank participating in a war game being conducted near the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Major General (at the time, Lt. Colonel) George Armstrong Custer made his last stand. Their orders coincide with the route of Custer and his men. As they follow the route, they hear strange things such as Indian battle cries and horses running. As nobody is there, the men examine the possibilities. Connors wonders if they've somehow gone back in time. When they return, Connors reports to his Captain Dennet what occurred and is reprimanded.
The following day the trio go out and again experience strange phenomena. The captain contacts them via radio and orders them to return to base when Connors tries to explain what is happening. Connors breaks contact and the captain sends his lieutenant and two men to bring them in. However, the tank crew abandon their tank and continue on foot with their sidearms and rifles. They find a group of teepees and McCluskey goes to investigate. He soon returns with an arrow protruding from his back. The three men climb a ridge where they see a battle taking place below. They join it and are never seen again.
Later, Captain Dennet enters the Custer Battlefield National Monument. A soldier reports that all they found was the abandoned tank. The two of them notice the names of their missing soldiers on the monument with the names of Custer's men. Captain Dennet states that it was a pity the missing soldiers couldn't have taken the tank with them to the battle.
Sergeant William Connors, Trooper Michael McCluskey, and Trooper Richard Langsford, who, on a hot afternoon in June, made a charge over a hill—and never returned. Look for this one under 'P' for phantom, in a historical ledger located in a reading room known as the Twilight Zone.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)