Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

91 mins | Western | 5 September 1959

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writer:

Burt Kennedy

Cinematographer:

Carl Guthrie

Editor:

William Ziegler

Production Designer:

Stanley Fleischer

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

Although an Aug 1957 HR news item reported that Jules Schermer would produce the film, his contribution has not been confirmed. According to the pressbook for the film, scenes were shot in Arizona in and around Flagstaff, the San Francisco Peaks area and Sedona, where the battle at the end was filmed. The pressbook states that 114 Navajo Indians portrayed Sioux warriors. The film featured stars from three Warner Bros.-produced ABC-TV series: Clint Walker of Cheyenne ; Edward Byrnes, who played "Kookie" on 77 Sunset Strip ; and John Russell of Lawman . Reviewers noted that this film would test whether stars of television would attract viewers to movie theaters.
       Var commented, "Box office response to this picture will provide more data on the question of whether stars developed in teleseries can draw paying customers on the strength of their names rather than tv characters they portray. It's a good bet that they will, especially in this combination." MPD predicted that the stars' "names may well bring out to theaters that part of the so-called 'lost' audience which has been lost because of TV westerns and action dramas." Var praised the film's "craftsmanship in every department" which, it suggested, "displayed the three tv heroes in a production framework not approachable in telefilming." LAMirror-News called the film "a throwback to those Technicolored cavalry versus Indian days before the movie western went somberly psychological, tense and black-and-white."
       Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly (1849--1928) was a real historical figure who became a well-known trapper and Indian scout in Wyoming. Another film featuring Kelly is ... More Less

Although an Aug 1957 HR news item reported that Jules Schermer would produce the film, his contribution has not been confirmed. According to the pressbook for the film, scenes were shot in Arizona in and around Flagstaff, the San Francisco Peaks area and Sedona, where the battle at the end was filmed. The pressbook states that 114 Navajo Indians portrayed Sioux warriors. The film featured stars from three Warner Bros.-produced ABC-TV series: Clint Walker of Cheyenne ; Edward Byrnes, who played "Kookie" on 77 Sunset Strip ; and John Russell of Lawman . Reviewers noted that this film would test whether stars of television would attract viewers to movie theaters.
       Var commented, "Box office response to this picture will provide more data on the question of whether stars developed in teleseries can draw paying customers on the strength of their names rather than tv characters they portray. It's a good bet that they will, especially in this combination." MPD predicted that the stars' "names may well bring out to theaters that part of the so-called 'lost' audience which has been lost because of TV westerns and action dramas." Var praised the film's "craftsmanship in every department" which, it suggested, "displayed the three tv heroes in a production framework not approachable in telefilming." LAMirror-News called the film "a throwback to those Technicolored cavalry versus Indian days before the movie western went somberly psychological, tense and black-and-white."
       Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly (1849--1928) was a real historical figure who became a well-known trapper and Indian scout in Wyoming. Another film featuring Kelly is the 1956 United Artists picture Gun Brothers (see above).
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Aug 1959.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 59
p.3.
Film Daily
20 Aug 59
p.6.
Harrison's Reports
15 Aug 59
p. 131.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 1958
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1959
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 59
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 59
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1959
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1959.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
17 Sep 1959.
---
Los Angeles Mirror
17 Sep 1959.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Aug 1959.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1959.
---
Motion Picture Daily
13 Aug 1959.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Aug 59
p. 373.
New York Times
12 Nov 59
p. 27.
The Exhibitor
26 Aug 59
pp. 4618-19.
Variety
12 Aug 59
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus cond
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Wrangler
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Yellowstone Kelly by Clay Fisher (Boston, 1957).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 September 1959
Production Date:
early April--early June 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 September 1959
Copyright Number:
LP17058
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in feet):
8,252
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19319
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly, trapper, surveyor and Indian scout, arrives at the Yellowstone River to board a steamship bound for Fort Buford, where he plans to sell his skins. At the fort, Major Towns, the commanding officer, asks Kelly to scout the Sioux territory south of the Missouri for the Army, and Kelly reluctantly agrees, setting out with Anse Harper, a young man he met on the steamship. As they approach the Snake River, they are captured by Sayapi, a young Sioux, and brought before Gall, chief of the Seven Nations and a hater of whites. Gall reminds Kelly that seven years earlier, Kelly had saved his life after Gall was shot by soldiers and left for dead, and he now demands that Kelly do the same for a captured Arapaho, a beautiful maiden named Wahleeah. Kelly manages to remove the bullet from her spine, and Gall allows Kelly and Anse to leave, despite Sayapi's objections. Later, Wahleeah, having managed to escape from the Sioux, approaches Kelly's cabin half-dead from fever, and when Kelly warns that she will die if she is moved, Gall orders that she remain there until the winter, provoking a jealous outburst by Sayapi. When she revives, Wahleeah asks Kelly to take her to her own people, but he refuses, unwilling to let anything interfere with his trapping. Aware that soldiers are about to cross the river, Kelly warns Major Towns that a thousand Sioux are on the other side, but Towns, eager to punish the Sioux for the massacre at Little Bighorn, orders his soldiers to drive them back to the Dakota Territory. While Kelly is with the soldiers, Anse decides to ... +


Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly, trapper, surveyor and Indian scout, arrives at the Yellowstone River to board a steamship bound for Fort Buford, where he plans to sell his skins. At the fort, Major Towns, the commanding officer, asks Kelly to scout the Sioux territory south of the Missouri for the Army, and Kelly reluctantly agrees, setting out with Anse Harper, a young man he met on the steamship. As they approach the Snake River, they are captured by Sayapi, a young Sioux, and brought before Gall, chief of the Seven Nations and a hater of whites. Gall reminds Kelly that seven years earlier, Kelly had saved his life after Gall was shot by soldiers and left for dead, and he now demands that Kelly do the same for a captured Arapaho, a beautiful maiden named Wahleeah. Kelly manages to remove the bullet from her spine, and Gall allows Kelly and Anse to leave, despite Sayapi's objections. Later, Wahleeah, having managed to escape from the Sioux, approaches Kelly's cabin half-dead from fever, and when Kelly warns that she will die if she is moved, Gall orders that she remain there until the winter, provoking a jealous outburst by Sayapi. When she revives, Wahleeah asks Kelly to take her to her own people, but he refuses, unwilling to let anything interfere with his trapping. Aware that soldiers are about to cross the river, Kelly warns Major Towns that a thousand Sioux are on the other side, but Towns, eager to punish the Sioux for the massacre at Little Bighorn, orders his soldiers to drive them back to the Dakota Territory. While Kelly is with the soldiers, Anse decides to take Wahleeah back to her people, but in a violent confrontation, Sayapi and his men stop them, and Kelly returns to find his house aflame and Anse dying. An anguished Kelly tracks Sayapi to a cave and kills him, then rescues Wahleeah and tells her he will now return her to her tribe. When Kelly learns that Major Towns died in an attack by the Sioux, and the surviving soldiers are surrounded, he goes unarmed to meet Gall, who offers Kelly his freedom in exchange for Wahleeah, but insists that the soldiers must die. Kelly refuses, and Gall orders the Sioux to attack. When Kelly asks Gall how many more must die, proclaiming that the land no longer smiles on the Sioux people, Gall leaves in frustration. Sometime later, Kelly and Wahleeah ride mules to the river, where he signals a steamship to stop for them. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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