The commanders of the New Mexico Campaign were the Confederate Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley, and the Union Colonel Edward Canby. Sibley, whose mission was to capture Fort Craig, outmaneuvered Canby at the Battle of Valverde in February and drove Canby back to his fort, but failed to force Canby's surrender. Instead, Sibley bypassed the fort, and advanced up along the Rio Grande Valley to seize Santa Fe on March 10 …
In March, Sibley sent a Confederate force of 200 to 300 Texans … on an advance expedition over the Glorieta Pass, a strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail … Control of the pass would allow the Confederates to advance onto the High Plains and to make an assault on Fort Union, the Union stronghold along the invasion route northward over Raton Pass.
—Wikipedia article "Battle of Glorieta Pass"
[Sibley's] campaign is one of the epic failures in the history of human conflict.
—"The Man Who Lost the Civil War," documentary featurette on the Special Collector's Edition DVD The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
is the only one of the three "Dollars" films that has a real historical setting. It takes place during the American Civil War, and several actual historical events and personages are referred to, notably General Sibley (briefly seen in one scene) and Colonel Canby. Through most of the film, the war is a constant presence. We witness the shelling of towns, troop movements by foot, by horseback and by train, the execution of a spy, the appalling conditions of the wounded and of prisoners in a Union prison camp something like the actual Confederate camp Andersonville, and a long, bloody and futile battle for control of a bridge. "Useless, stupid bridge," as the Union captain in charge of his side's forces calls it.
What do you think of the war scenes, and of the Civil War setting in general? Are the scenes realistic? Does Leone "take sides" between the Confederates and the Union? Is he saying something about war in general?
What about the main characters' relation to the war? Why do they seem so indifferent to the cause of either side?