Tonka

  • 1958
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure, Children's

Sal Mineo puts aside his Plato role from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and is here cast as a young Indian brave from the Sioux tribe. He finds and tames a wild horse which he names Tonka, only to have it taken away by a vicious cousin who joyfully beats it. It is eventually sold to the cavalry, where it is taken into the custody of Carey, a decent captain who tags...read more

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Sal Mineo puts aside his Plato role from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and is here cast as a young Indian brave from the Sioux tribe. He finds and tames a wild horse which he names Tonka, only to have it taken away by a vicious cousin who joyfully beats it. It is eventually sold to the cavalry,

where it is taken into the custody of Carey, a decent captain who tags the horse Comanche. To be near his horse, Mineo sneaks into the fort and is captured. When Carey learns why Mineo is there, he sets him free, recognizing their common love for the horse. Carey rides the horse into battle with

Custer against Sitting Bull's army and, along with every other cavalry member, gets killed, leaving only Tonka alive. Mineo is made an honorary cavalry soldier and put in charge of the horse. Contrived and implausible, TONKA does succeed in portraying the Indians as humans with real emotions, as

opposed to the villainous redskin usually seen on the screen. It's educational for children and entertaining for adults. The casting of Mineo in the lead role is superb, but unfortunately the film shifts its center of focus to the cavalry at midpoint, forgetting about Mineo. The film was shot on

location at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon, with many of the men and women on the Reservation used in the film and in making the sets.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Sal Mineo puts aside his Plato role from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and is here cast as a young Indian brave from the Sioux tribe. He finds and tames a wild horse which he names Tonka, only to have it taken away by a vicious cousin who joyfully beats it. It is… (more)

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