Apparently, this question has been rattling around in my head for fourteen years.
Towards the beginning of the film, Costner gets his assignment at the (unbeknownst to him) abandoned fort on the Great Plains, from a Maj. Fambrough, played by Maury Chaykin.
Chaykin’s character is highly eccentric, referring to Costner as “Sir Knight”, filling out paperwork with virtuousic flourishes of his quill, and generally babbling strange nonsense. At one point, he stands up and says, “I have just pissed in my pants!”
At the end of the scene, as Costner is riding away, Chaykin’s character says, “To your journey!”. More quietly, he then says, “To my journey.” and shoots himself in the temple with a field pistol.
Simply put, my question is: what the heck is UP with that character, anyway?
What makes that character interesting is that he isn’t really explained. Perhaps, he too is a civil war vet and he has mental problems from that.
What is important is that he kilss himself and then later the guy who deliverd Costner to the ‘fort’ is killed.
So no white man knows where Lt. Dunbar is. It’s isolates him from the world of the whiteman and that lets him enter the world of the Indians.
In the book anyway, he was a delusional alcoholic who died of its effects soon after Dunbar’s departure with his new orders, without recording them or with anyone else even knowing Dunbar had shown up at all. But he was in the story just as a literary device to explain why there was no search for Dunbar - that, and the slaughter of the detachment returning from the fort that he met en route, and the killing of the civilian wagon driver who took him there.