Tonio, Son of the Sierras (1925)

Genres - Western  |  
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In one of the few low-budget Westerns of the '20s dealing with Native Americans, director-writer Benjamin F. Wilson played Lieutenant Richard Harris, a friend of Indian scout Tonio (Chief Yowlachie). The latter is accused of treachery when Fort Almy is attacked by the Apaches. Harris attempts to speak for his friend but is blamed for killing a romantic rival, Lieutenant Willett (Robert Walker). The latter, it turns out, was murdered by a man whose sister he had wronged, and Harris, with Tonio's help, leads the cavalry against the Indians. Based on General Charles King's 1906 novel A Story of the Apache War, this Western was produced by Wilson and released by poverty row entrepreneur J. Charles Davis. Wilson's frequent collaborator, Neva Gerber, played the leading lady, and the film marked the acting debut of Native American Chief Yowlachie (real name: Daniel Simmons). A Yakima Indian from Washington State, Yowlachie (or Yowlache) enjoyed a busy screen career that lasted through the '50s. He died at the age of 74 in 1966.