“A Ticket to Tomahawk”

On-Set in the Old West

In the summer of 1949, Durango, Colorado, transformed from a picturesque locale into a canvas for the cinematic endeavours of “A Ticket to Tomahawk.” This period was pivotal in the rise of Marilyn Monroe, who portrayed Clara, a music-hall dancer. The production, spanning from August to 21 October 1949, was marked by authentic period costumes and spirited performances.

From Tests to Takes

Before filming commenced in Durango, Monroe underwent several wardrobe and hairstyle tests, crucial for her transformation into Clara. These preparatory stages, documented in photographs, particularly during her visit to Timble Hot Springs in September, offered insights into the meticulous preparation for her role.

The Ensemble Cast and Crew

Under the direction of Richard Sale and produced by Robert Bassler, the film boasted a diverse cast including Dan Dailey, Anne Baxter, and Walter Brennan. The visual flair of the film was enhanced by art directors George W. Davis and Lyle R. Wheeler, costume designer René Hubert, and composer Cyril J. Mockridge.

Plotting a Path Through Adventure

Set in 1876, the film narrates the rivalry between Dawson’s stage-coach company and the pioneering “Engine One” railway. Clara, portrayed by Monroe, joins a journey to Tomahawk, adding an enchanting subplot to the main story. The film culminates with an unexpected ally aiding the protagonists.

Legacy of a Screen Gem

Released on 19 May 1950, “A Ticket to Tomahawk” is celebrated for its mix of humour, heart, and the early display of Marilyn Monroe’s burgeoning star quality. This Western musical remains a treasured piece in cinematic history.

Film Credits

  • Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
  • Format: Technicolor
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Release Date: 19 May 1950
  • Director: Richard Sale
  • Producer: Robert Bassler
  • Screenplay: Mary Loos, Richard Sale
  • Cinematography: Harry Jackson
  • Music: Cyril J. Mockridge
  • Costume Design: René Hubert
  • Editing: Harmon Jones