As announced by the Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office on May 31st, Martin Sensmeier, who starred alongside Denzel Washington in The Magnificent Seven, will play the lead role of Montford Johnson in the upcoming film by Chickasaw Nation Productions titled The Chickasaw Rancher.
The film will also feature Native star Tatanka Means, as well as Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy) and Dermot Mulroney, known for his role opposite Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding.
According to the Chickasaw Nation Productions site, “The Chickasaw Rancher is inspired by the life of Chickasaw rancher Montford Johnson. Orphaned at a young age, Johnson survived great hardships and tragedy to establish a vast ranching empire along the famous cattle highway of the American West, the Chisholm Trail.”
Martin Sensmeier told ICMN he was excited to be working on a production representing Native people. He also said he was happy to keep busy. “They got me working every day,” he said.
The cast of several notable actors is listed below:
Martin Sensmeier, (Red Harvest, The Magnificent Seven) will play Montford Johnson. Raised in the Tlingit Coastal Community in Alaska, Sensmeier (Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan) is also an ambassador for The Native Wellness Institute and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Oglala Lakota, Omaha and Navajo actor Tatanka Means, (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Tiger Eyes) has been cast as Rising Wolf.
Dermot Mulroney is cast as Montford Johnson’s father, Boggy Johnson. Mulroney has appeared in more than 70 films, including Young Guns, My Best Friend’s Wedding and August: Osage County, for which he and his fellow cast members were nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Tommy Flanagan will be portraying Holden in the film. Flanagan’s film and television credits include Sons of Anarchy, Gladiator and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
James Landry Hébert, cast as Lt. Richter. Hebert is known for Gangster Squad, Looper, Seven Psychopaths and for roles on the television series Taken and Westworld.
The production company says The Chickasaw Rancher will have more than 10 Native American tribes represented in speaking roles and citizens of the Chickasaw Nation and Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, among others, will also appear in pivotal roles.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said film production is part of the Chickasaw Nation’s effort to tell the true story of Native Americans, such as Montford Johnson. “Montford Johnson’s life story helps illustrate the important role Chickasaw people have played in shaping American history and culture,” Governor Anoatubby said. “We are pleased we have such a diverse group of actors involved in telling the story of Montford Johnson’s remarkable legacy of entrepreneurialism, altruism and diplomacy,” said Anoatubby in a release.
The Chickasaw Rancher is being directed by Nathan Frankowski and produced by Paul Sirmons. Frankowski and Sirmons previous credits include “Te Ata,” which was also produced by Chickasaw Productions. Filming on The Chickasaw Rancher takes place in Oklahoma and Florida.
*Follow Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) – ICMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wows and Sports Editor