Tonka is a 1958 American Western film directed by Lewis R. Foster and starring Sal Mineo as a Sioux survivor of the Little Big Horn Battle. The film is based on David Appel’s book Comanche: Story of America’s Most Heroic Horse.
Directed By: Lewis R. Foster
Starring: Sal Mineo, Philip Carey, Jerome Courtland and Rafael Campos
Revenue: $2.5 million (US/ Canada)
The film tells the fictional story of the titular horse’s Indian and US Cavalry owners.
In Dakota territory in the 1870s, White Bull, a young Sioux, proves his manhood by catching and training a wild colt he names Tonka. When a cruel cousin claims the horse as the privilege of rank, White Bull lets Tonka go. The horse ends up in the hands of a captain in the US cavalry about the time that Sitting Bull gathers the tribes to confront the growing US presence, epitomized by the bigoted General Custer. All paths, including those of White Bull and Tonka, lead to the confluence of the Little and Big Horn rivers.