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Tonka (1958)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Family | 25 December 1958 (USA)
The remarkable and ironical story of a wild colt that changes owners around the time of the Great Sioux War of 1876.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
White Bull
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Capt. Miles Keogh
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Lt. Henry Nowlan
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Yellow Bull
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Britt Lomond ...
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Strong Bear
...
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Gen. Alfred Howe Terry
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Gregg Martell ...
Cpl. Korn
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Ace
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Lt. Crittenden (as Robert Buzz Henry)
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Storyline

In Dakota territory in the 1870s, White Bull, a young Sioux, proves his manhood by catching and training a wild colt he names Tonka. When a cruel cousin claims the horse as the privilege of rank, White Bull lets Tonka go. The horse ends up in the hands of a captain in the US cavalry about the time that Sitting Bull gathers the tribes to confront the growing US presence, epitomized by the bigoted General Custer. All paths, including those of White Bull and Tonka, lead to the confluence of the Little and Big Horn rivers. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Untold Story behind the West's Strangest Legend!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Horse Named Comanche  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aired on Wonderful World of Disney under the title Comanche. See more »

Goofs

After the last soldier was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn; the Indians didn't just ride away. The Indians stripped and mutilated the dead soldiers; the only exception was Lt. Colonel Myles Keogh (the owner of Comanche (his mount) considered to be the only survivor of the battle. See more »

Connections

Featured in Legends of the West (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Tonka
Music by George Bruns
Lyrics by Hazel George (as Gil George)
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User Reviews

 
Stunning Western
19 June 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A really amazing film to come from the Disney studio at a time ( 1958 ) when they were making tough films for family audiences. First viewed in 1965 aged 7 when my father hired the 16mm print for private home use to family and friends. I think he projected it twice and then the film remained in the memory for many years as an early favourite. Those were the days when you saw a film once or twice and there was no way of seeing it again until a reissue or TV. Having just seen the film again 43 years later, I have to say that it really is superb entertainment with a useful message about racial tolerance yet never needing to compromise it's swiftly told, exciting story. A passionate, memorable performance from a very fit, believably cast young Sal Mineo. Beautiful Technicolor photography from the great Loyal Griggs (Shane) and not forgetting the various horses used for the lead role of 'Tonka wakan - The Great One', of course several had to be used and one has to suspend disbelief occasionally as the animals don't always look similar but all in all Disney did a very commendable job. Top Direction from Lewis R.Foster with the battle at the Little Big Horn impressively staged. A very underrated film and long overdue for a DVD restoration, in fact some filmmakers do admire it as the whole story was recently reworked in animated form for a Spielberg production 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'.


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