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Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969)

In 1909, when young Paiute Indian Willie Boy returns to his California reservation to be with Lola, whose father disapproves of him, a killing in self defense takes place, triggering a massive man hunt for Willie.

Director:

Abraham Polonsky

Writers:

Harry Lawton (book), Abraham Polonsky
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Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Cooper
Katharine Ross ... Lola
Robert Blake ... Willie
Susan Clark ... Liz
Barry Sullivan ... Calvert
John Vernon ... Hacker
Charles Aidman ... Benby
Charles McGraw ... Wilson
Shelly Novack ... Finney
Robert Lipton ... Newcombe
Lloyd Gough ... Dexter
Ned Romero ... Tom
John Wheeler John Wheeler ... Newman
Erik Holland Erik Holland ... Digger (as Eric Holland)
Garry Walberg ... Dr. Mills
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Storyline

Based on true events, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, tells the story of one of the last Western manhunts, in 1909. Willie Boy, a Native American, kills his girlfriend's father in self defense, and the two go on the run, pursued by a search posse led by Sheriff Christopher Cooper. Written by Jon Hertzberg <jahertzb@students.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who gives a d--- about Indians? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 January 1970 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Willie Boy See more »

Filming Locations:

Pioneertown, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$6,000,000, 31 December 1969
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Abraham Polonsky said to a USC film class at the time that he purposely shot and edited the manhunt sequences with characters moving in all directions across the screen, rather than in the usual way wherein both runners and pursuers would move in the same direction across the shots (i.e., left to right) to enhance the impression of urgent suspense in a chase. Instead, Polonsky was looking for a different feel for the audience, of the characters wandering, feeling their way through the landscape. He implied he was willing to sacrifice some suspense to externalize the characters' confusion. He also said that for Katharine Ross' brief, artfully lit nude shot, he exposed the film correctly but then produced a high-contrast copy of the same film frames with deep blacks and transparent lights, then bi-packed both pieces of films together to rephotograph. The high-contrast overlay ensured that the shadows on Ross' body were black--so that the image could not reveal more in the shadows than it was supposed to. See more »

Goofs

Winchester rifles missing. When Deputy Sheriff Christopher 'Coop' Cooper is carrying Willie Boy's body over his shoulder he is missing the two Winchester rifles nor does he go back and get them. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tom: Did you see that crazy Calvert go by?
Willie Boy: Ate his dust.
Tom: When did you get back to Banning, Willie Boy?
Willie Boy: Five o'clock freight.
Tom: Goin' to the fiesta?
Willie Boy: Is that where you're goin', Tom?
Tom: Trailin' Mr. Calvert with a tow just in case he breaks down - or breaks his neck.
Willie Boy: Well, I guess that's where I'm goin'.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

The true story of this incident.
24 June 2014 | by klm801See all my reviews

Here is the true account of this story as told by posse member Law-man Ben de Crevecoeur in 1941.

Willie Boy was a 25 or 26 year old Paiute Indian. Isoleta Boniface was a 15 year old Paiute Indian girl. Isoleta's father, Old Mike Boniface was a Paiute Indian.

Willie Boy had an unrequited interest in Isoleta. Her father didn't like Willie Boy. Willie Boy kidnapped Isoleta the first time from the family's camp at Twenty-nine Palms, Ca. Her father found them, took her back and told Willie Boy that if he came near her again he would kill Willie Boy.

Some days later, after drinking with a White friend, Willie Boy went to the Gillman Ranch, near Banning Ca., where the Boniface family was working and crept up on Old Mike, his wife and their 7 children where they were sleeping under a Cottonwood tree. Willie Boy shot Old Mike in the head as he slept.

Willie Boy kidnapped Isoleta again and headed into the desert. He used her as a pack animal to carry whatever supplies he had. The posse, some of which were Paiute Indians, came upon a message scrawled in the dirt from Isoleta that read, "My heart is almost gone, I will be dead soon". When she couldn't go any further, Willie Boy shot her in the back and killed her.

Lawman Ben Crevecouer said, "The sight of that girl's body was something a person would want to forget, but couldn't. We came on it while it was still warm. Her clothes were just rags, she was welts and bruises all over, and there were cactus spines in her flesh. She had worn through her thin little shoes and her feet were raw and bloody".

The posse eventually discovered Willie Boy's body after chasing him for 11 days and 500 to 600 miles in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in Ca.. Willie Boy killed himself with his last bullet.

Willie Boy was just a scumbag who murdered two of his own people but ,of course, this director, Abe Polonsky, turns the story into another anti-White Hollywood propaganda film.

Info from interview of Ben de Crevecouer in "Desert Magazine", Nov. 1941.


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