Film Review of A Ticket to Tomahawk: A Female Marshal, a Handsome Passenger, and Struggles Between The Arapaho, Railroad Men, and Stagecoach Operators
Stagecoaches dominate Colorado’s transportation routes. Competition emerges when railroads link communities into networks of tracks and train stops. Will rival transportation providers be met hostilely or hospitably in “A Ticket to Tomahawk”?
A Ticket to Tomahawk is a comedy/western film by writers Mary Loos and Richard Sale; producer Robert Bassler; and director Richard Sale. Responsibility for cinematography, editing, and music is by Harry Jackson, Harmon Jones, and Cyril J. Mockridge. The filming location is in Durango, Rockwood, and Silverton, Colorado.
The film lasts 90 minutes. It was premiered on April 18, 1950 in Denver, Colorado. It was released by the film’s production studio and distributor, 20th Century Fox, on May 19, 1950.
The film begins in 1876 with traveling salesman Johnny Jameson (Dan Dailey) riding the Tomahawk and Western Railroad narrow gauge train’s Colorado Rockies inaugural run. Engineer Terence Sweeny (Walter Brennan) brakes for a boulder pushed onto the tracks by stageline operator Colonel Dawson’s (Mauritz Hugo) thugs Dakota (Rory Calhoun), Gila (Lee MacGregor), and Trancas (Charles Stevens). Johnny gets to Epitaph thanks to Gila and Trancas. But Trancas knocks him unconscious before Johnny can inform Deputy Chuckity Jones (Charles Kemper) of the accident.
Gila injures U.S. Marshal Kit Dodge (Will Wright). Kit kills Trancas. He makes granddaughter Kit Jr. (Anne Baxter) U.S. Marshal. Kit Jr. and Pawnee (Chief Yowlachie) must escort the train to Tomahawk. Dawson simultaneously places Dakota on the escort posse.
Businessman Bishop (Paul Harvey) cautions Terence about imminent tracklessness. He explains that the rails went missing during the Atlantic crossing from England. He has mules haul the engine car for 40 trackless miles. He has Johnny sit by the boiler with Kit Jr. Other passengers include laundryman Long Time (Victor Sen Yung), and Madame Adelaide (Connie Gilchrist) and her entertainers.
Dawson’s thugs Bat (Robert Adler), Charley (Harry Carter), and Fargo (Jack Elam) appear purportedly to repair telegraph lines cut by Arapaho Chief Crooked Knife (Chief Thundercloud). Dakota kills Fargo when Johnny and Kit foil the thugs’ dynamiting the engine. Bat and Charley succeed in dynamiting the trestle bridge.
Long Time displays fireworks to get Arapaho support against Dawson’s thugs. Dawson kills Black Wolf (Charles Soldani), but is tomahawked by Pawnee. Dakota takes over the engine, but falls into a ravine while fighting Johnny and Kit.
A leaking boiler makes the train stop short. Johnny persuades Tomahawk’s mayor (Raymond Greenleaf) to extend town limits. Regular train service will begin.
The film ends with train conductor Johnny fathering five daughters with wife Kit Jr.
A Ticket to Tomahawk is memorable in film history for Marilyn Monroe’s (1926-1962) participation as showgirl Clara in the song-and-dance routine “Oh, What a Forward Young Man You Are!”
Copyright: Friday, August 10, 2012 by Derdriu