Tomahawk (film)
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Tomahawk Film
Tomahawk - Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed byGeorge Sherman
Produced byLeonard Goldstein
Screenplay bySilvia Richards
Maurice Geraghty
Based onstory by Daniel Jarrett
StarringVan Heflin
Yvonne De Carlo
Music byHans J. Salter
CinematographyCharles P. Boyle
Edited byDanny B. Landres
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 Technicolor 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 1968 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]


In 1866, gold is discovered and the U.S. Army build a road and fort on territory ceded to the Sioux by an earlier treaty. Frontier scout Jim Bridger (Van Heflin), 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.[4][5]

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.[6]

In May 1949 Stephen McNally was announced for the lead and Edna Anhalt was going to write the script.[7] McNally dropped out and was replaced by Van Heflin in March 1950 and Anhalt is not credited on the final film.[8] In April Yvonne de Carlo was cast opposite Heflin.[9] De Carlo liked the fact her part was more a straight dramatic role.[10]

Shooting began in May 1950. The film was shot partly on location in South Dakota.[11]


The Los Angeles Times called it a "well made, exciting movie."[12]

In June 1952 Van Heflin and George Sherman were reported as working on a follow up to the movie.[13]


  1. ^ Variety 18 February 1948 p 14
  2. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  3. ^ BATTLE OF POWDER RIVER Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 18, Iss. 204, (Jan 1, 1951): 217.
  4. ^ 'Kiss of Death' Villain Gets Pact, Role at 20th Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]20 Aug 1947: A3.
  5. ^ LEW AYRES SIGNED FOR WARNER FILM: Will Play Lead Opposite Jane Wyman in 'Johnny Belinda' -- U-I Role to Dan Duryea By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 21 Aug 1947: 33.
  6. ^ Universal-International Plans 23 Films Under New Program Los Angeles Times 13 Aug 1948: 4.
  7. ^ PARAMOUNT SIGNS GODDARD TO PACT: Her New Contract Calls for One Picture Annually During the Next Five Years By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]31 May 1949: 19
  8. ^ VAN HEFLIN SIGNS FOR LEAD IN FILM: Will Play Jim Bridger Role in 'Tomahawk' at U.-I.--Wanda Hendrix Named to Part By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]07 Mar 1950: 23.
  9. ^ METRO WILL FILM BOOK ON PILGRIMS: Studio Acquires Gebler Novel, 'Plymouth Adventure,' and Plans for 1951 Start By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]21 Apr 1950: 19.
  10. ^ Yvonne's Goal Is a Career in Musical Films Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]30 Apr 1950: i3.
  11. ^ Saville Seeks Russell as Spillane Star; Coca Deal Near Finalizing Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]27 May 1954: A11.
  12. ^ 'Tomahawk' Early West Action Tale Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]22 Feb 1951: B8.
  13. ^ MOVIELAND BRIEFS Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]22 July 1952: A6

External links

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