Tomahawk (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tomahawk - Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed byGeorge Sherman
Screenplay bySilvia Richards
Maurice Geraghty
Based onstory by Daniel Jarrett
Produced byLeonard Goldstein
StarringVan Heflin
Yvonne De Carlo
CinematographyCharles P. Boyle
Edited byDanny B. Landres
Music byHans J. Salter
Color processTechnicolor
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • February 5, 1951 (1951-02-05) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US rentals)[2]

Tomahawk is a 1951 American Western film directed by George Sherman and starring Van Heflin and Yvonne De Carlo. The film is loosely based on events that took place in Wyoming in 1866 to 1868 around Fort Phil Kearny on the Bozeman Trail such as the Fetterman Fight and Wagon Box Fight. In the UK, the film was released as The Battle of Powder River.[3]


Gold is discovered in 1866. The U.S. Army built a road and fort on territory ceded to the Sioux by an earlier treaty. Frontier scout Jim Bridger, whose companion, a Cheyenne girl, is the daughter of Chief Black Kettle and sister to Bridger's deceased wife, tries to prevent an all out war with Sioux leader Red Cloud and his braves.



The film was based on a story by Daniel Jarrett. Film rights were bought by Universal in 1947; they assigned Leonard Goldstein to produce and George Sherman to direct.[5][6] In August 1948 Universal announced the film would be one of their Technicolor productions for the following year, along with Calamity Jane and Sam Bass, Sierra, Streets of Cairo, Bloomer Girl and Bagdad.[7]

In May 1949 Stephen McNally was announced for the lead and Edna Anhalt was going to write the script.[8] McNally dropped out and was replaced by Van Heflin in March 1950 and Anhalt is not credited on the final film.[9] In April Yvonne De Carlo was cast opposite Heflin.[10] De Carlo liked that her part was more of a straight dramatic role.[11]

Shooting began in May 1950. The film was shot partly on location in South Dakota.[12]


The Los Angeles Times called it a "well made, exciting movie."[13]

In June 1952 Van Heflin and George Sherman were reported as working on a followup to the movie.[14]


  1. ^ "Variety (February 1948)". Variety. February 18, 1948. p. 14.
  2. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  3. ^ "BATTLE OF POWDER RIVER". Monthly Film Bulletin. 18 (204). London. January 1, 1951. p. 217.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (August 20, 1947). "'Kiss of Death' Villain Gets Pact, Role at 20th". Los Angeles Times. p. A3.
  6. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (August 21, 1947). "LEW AYRES SIGNED FOR WARNER FILM: Will Play Lead Opposite Jane Wyman in 'Johnny Belinda' – U-I Role to Dan Duryea". New York Times. p. 33.
  7. ^ "Universal-International Plans 23 Films Under New Program". Los Angeles Times. August 13, 1948. p. 4.
  8. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (May 31, 1949). "PARAMOUNT SIGNS GODDARD TO PACT: Her New Contract Calls for One Picture Annually During the Next Five Years". New York Times. p. 19.
  9. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (March 7, 1950). "VAN HEFLIN SIGNS FOR LEAD IN FILM: Will Play Jim Bridger Role in 'Tomahawk' at U.-I.--Wanda Hendrix Named to Part". New York Times. p. 23.
  10. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (April 21, 1950). "METRO WILL FILM BOOK ON PILGRIMS: Studio Acquires Gebler Novel, 'Plymouth Adventure,' and Plans for 1951 Start". New York Times. p. 19.
  11. ^ "Yvonne's Goal Is a Career in Musical Films". Chicago Daily Tribune. April 30, 1950. p. i3.
  12. ^ Schallert, Edwin (May 27, 1954). "Saville Seeks Russell as Spillane Star; Coca Deal Near Finalizing". Los Angeles Times. p. A11.
  13. ^ Scott, John L. (February 22, 1951). "'Tomahawk' Early West Action Tale". Los Angeles Times. p. B8.
  14. ^ "MOVIELAND BRIEFS". Los Angeles Times. July 22, 1952. p. A6.

External links[edit]