|Directed by||Gordon Douglas|
|Screenplay by||Burt Kennedy|
|Based on||the novel|
by Clay Fisher
|Cinematography||Carl E. Guthrie|
|Edited by||William H. Ziegler|
|Music by||Howard Jackson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$1.7 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Yellowstone Kelly is a 1959 American Western film based upon a novel by Heck Allen (using his pen name Clay Fisher, which shows in the film credits) with a screenplay by Burt Kennedy starring Clint Walker as Luther Sage "Yellowstone" Kelly, and directed by Gordon Douglas. The film was originally supposed to be directed by John Ford with John Wayne in the Clint Walker role but Ford and Wayne opted to make The Horse Soldiers instead.
At the time the film was notable for using the leads of then popular Warner Bros. Television shows, Cheyenne (Walker), Lawman (John Russell), 77 Sunset Strip (Edd "Kookie" Byrnes), and The Alaskans (Ray Danton) as well as Warners contract stars such as Andra Martin, Claude Akins, Rhodes Reason and Gary Vinson.
Trapper Yellowstone Kelly and his partner Anse Harper come upon the sick Arapaho Wahleeh. Wahleeh is a captive of Sioux Chief Gall and is desired by both Gall and his nephew Sayapi. Kelly keeps Wahleeh to cure her and promises to return her to Gall when spring comes. However Sayapi vows to take Wahleeh back and kill Kelly. As winter ends Wahleeh has recovered and wishes to return to her people and not be returned to Gall or Sayapi. She finds herself falling in love with Kelly, But Sayapi attacks Kelly's cabin while he is trapping, injuring Harper and taking Wahleeh away. When Kelly returns he finds his cabin burning and Harper alive but succumbing to his wounds. He tells Kelly that Sayapi has taking Wahleeh before his passing away. Kelly tracks down Sayapi band engaging in a gun fight that kills Sayapi and his band. Kelly intends to keep his word and return Wahleeh to Gall despite his feelings for Wahleeh, but they come across a Cavalry troop that has been attacked by Gall. Gall and his warriors return to attack the troop. Before the attack Gall confronts Kelly telling him he can leave in peace if he gives up Wahleeh., but the troops must remain to be slaughtered. Kelly will not give up Wahleeh if it means the deaths of the soldiers. Gall's warriors mount the first attack killing many of the troops. All seems lost as Gall prepares for his second attack, when Wahleeh rides out to Gall in an attempt to save Kelly. Wahleeh is injured when her horse overturns, Kelly and Gall race to her side. Kelly clearly showing his feelings for Wahleeh tells Gall to end the battle so more don't have to feel as they do. Gall agrees and leaves with his warriors. Some time later Kelly and Whaleeh are seen taking Kelly's fur pelts to a Riverboat for delivery.
- Clint Walker as Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly
- Edd Byrnes as Anse Harper
- John Russell as Gall, Sioux Chief
- Ray Danton as Sayapi, Gall's nephew
- Claude Akins as Sergeant
- Rhodes Reason as Major Towns
- Andra Martin as Wahleeah, Sayapi's Arapaho captive
- Gary Vinson as Lieutenant
- Warren Oates as Corporal
Warner Bros announced the project in August 1956 saying that John Wayne would star. It was based on a novel by Clay Fisher, not published until April 1957. When the novel came out the New York Times said it "rates grade A without question".
By early 1959 the project had become a vehicle for Clint Walker, the star of Warner Bros' hit TV show Cheyenne and the final script was done by Burt Kennedy who was under contract to Warners at the time.
Filming took place in April and June 1959, partly on location in Flagstaff, Arizona. "I felt miserable and lost ten pounds in one month" said Byrnes. Ray Danton was signed to a long-term contract at Warners after the film.
The Los Angeles Times called the film "fairly good" in which Byrnes was "a bit too contemporary. Let it be said that he left his comb somewhere in the Sunset Strip and played it straight from there. Burt Kennedy's script is first rate."
Comic book adaption
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- Hager, C. Michael. Brief biography, RareWinchesters.com. Accessed: July 19, 2013.
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- "Dell Four Color #1056". Grand Comics Database.
- Dell Four Color #1056 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)