Whenever there is a serious discussion of the Custer Battle, the name Kuhlman is certainly going to come up. His classic text Legend into History has long stood as the critical review of the battle from which all others must be compared. Kuhlman, himself, states that the purpose of his book is not to rehash the facts as known, because that has already been done many times over. Instead, he seeks to take the facts at hand and get into the minds of those present at the time in view of the geography and tension of the moment. He desires to take the facts and determine the "why" of the situation.
Kuhlman graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. in history in 1897. He then held a scholarship and fellowship in European History, receiving his MA in 1900. He then received a doctorate in History from the University a of Zurich. he then returned to the European History department at the University of Nebraska to start his academic career. His plans were dramatically changed when because of a sudden loss of hearing, he had to give up his position and went into farming near Billings, Montana where he married and raised a family. Then, hard times came with the depression and the death of his wife.
On an outing with his children, he visited Custer battlefield, and became smitten with the Custer mystique.
"Here was something so intriguing, so completely senseless, according to what the markers seemed to show, that I simply had to find the answers. Now my mind was monopolized by those headstones. Battle tactics always had a strange fascination for me. How much more then, a battle you have to reconstruct from headstones and the topography, with only skimpy passages of oral evidence to help you."
For the next 16 years he worked on his version of what happened on that fateful day or 25 June 1876. By the painfully slow and agonizing process of assembling and analyzing every bit of evidence, subjecting each minute detail to the acid test of truth, or the laws of probability, and weighing each item objectively and without personal bias, he was able to create a scenario through which all other accounts of the battle must be filtered.