"The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.
June 25th, 1964 - or, if you prefer, June 25th, 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.
Three United States Army National Guard
soldiers (MSgt. William Connors, Pvt. Michael McCluskey, Cpl. Richard Langsford) are a tank
crew participating in a wargame
being conducted near the Battle of Little Bighorn
site of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer's
last stand. Their orders coincide with the route of Custer and his men. As they follow the route, they find more and more proof that they’ve somehow gone back in time. They report to their commanding officer what had occurred and are reprimanded
. The following day they again begin to experience the same strange occurrences. Their commanding officer contacts them via radio and orders them to return to base when they try to explain what is happening. They break contact, and the commanding officer sends out MP
's to search for them. The three men, however, abandon their tank and continue along on foot with their side arms
. They find a group of tepees
and one of the soldiers goes to investigate; he soon returns, with an arrow protruding from his back. The troops climb up a ridge where they find the battle. They join it and are never seen again. Later, the commanding officer finds the Custer Battlefield National Monument
and the graveyard of the soldiers killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn. An MP reports back that all they found was the abandoned tank. The officers then notice the names of the missing soldiers on the monument with the names of the men killed in the battle. The commanding officer states that it was a pity that the missing soldiers could not have taken the tank back 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.
Preview for Next Week's Story
No one likes to age, but it's a natural process like death and taxes and the weather. But next time on Twilight Zone, we tell the story about what happens when a certain man doesn't age. As a matter of fact, he grows younger. Patrick O'Neal stars in "A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain." Now if this one doesn't pull you up by the shoulders, I don't think anything will. I hope we see you next time.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)