GSR is a superfan of this movie. Superfan. He writes, “I could not guess how many times I saw Major Dundee in 1965. It was a box office bomb, the folks at the theater let me in for free until Major Dundee went away, which I’m sure they were thankful for. I could not turn away from the themes or the signature violence (Pekinpah). Recently been re-released, restored scenes, new musical score, playing on TCM, available on DVD.
“Regardless, this film sparked my interest in the Gadsden. Never have been able to find out if this particular Gadsden, [a] cavalry guidon, was real or an invention of 1965 Hollywood representing the diverse unit Major Dundee put together.”
Was a rattlesnake flag like this used by US cavalry in the post-Civil War era? I have no idea.
GSR speculates that Second Amendment champion Charlton Heston, star of the movie, might have had something to do with it.
Or maybe Peckinpah added the rattlesnake flag himself. He had a definite individualist/anti-authoritarian streak. He’s famous for his 1969 film “The Wild Bunch.” And he was a US Marine in World War II and a student of history.
Since the movie is set on the Mexican border, maybe this is the historical connection. GSR and I will be anxious to hear if anybody out there has other ideas or insights. In the meantime, I’m putting “Major Dundee” on my Blockbuster queue.