Yellowstone Kelly

Yellowstone Kelly is a 1959 Western Technicolor film based upon a novel by Heck Allen (using his pen name Clay Fisher, which shows in the movie credits) with a screenplay by Burt Kennedy starring Clint Walker as Luther Sage "Yellowstone" Kelly, and directed by Gordon Douglas. The film was originally supposed to be directed by John Ford with John Wayne in the Clint Walker role but Ford and Wayne opted to make The Horse Soldiers instead.

Yellowstone Kelly
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGordon Douglas
Screenplay byBurt Kennedy
Based onthe novel
by Clay Fisher
StarringClint Walker
Music byHoward Jackson
CinematographyCarl E. Guthrie
Edited byWilliam H. Ziegler
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • November 11, 1959 (1959-11-11) (New York City)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.7 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

At the time the film was notable for using the leads of then popular Warner Bros. Television shows, Cheyenne (Walker), Lawman (Russell), 77 Sunset Strip (Byrnes), and The Alaskans (Danton) as well as Warners contract stars such as Andra Martin, Claude Akins, Rhodes Reason and Gary Vinson.

The novel was based on the real life Luther Kelly.[2]



Warner Bros announced the project in August 1956 saying that John Wayne would star.[3] It was based on a novel by Clay Fisher, not published until April 1957[4]. When the novel came out the New York Times said it "rates grade A without question".[5]

D.D. Beauchamp was hired to write a script.[6] Then Eliot Asinof was reported as working on the script.[7] Jack Warner assigned Irving Shermer as producer.[8]

By early 1959 the project had become a vehicle for Clint Walker, the star of Warner Bros' hit TV show Cheyenne and the final script was done by Burt Kennedy who was under contract to Warners at the time.[9]

Walker's co-star was Edd Byrnes who had leapt to fame playing "Kookie" on the Warner Bros detective show 77 Sunset Strip.[10][11]

Filming took place in April and June 1959, partly on location in Flagstaff, Arizona. "I felt miserable and lost ten pounds in one month" said Byrnes.[12] Ray Danton was signed to a long term contract at Warners after the film.[13]


The Los Angeles Times called the film "fairly good" in which Byrnes was "a bit too contemporary. Let it be said that he left his comb somewhere in the Sunset Strip and played it straight from there. Burt Kennedy's script is first rate."[14]

Comic book adaption

See also


  1. "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34.
  2. Hager, C. Michael. Brief biography, Accessed: July 19, 2013.
  3. Going forward, says new warnrer bros. head. (1956, Aug 06). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. Books and authors. (1957, Apr 29). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. By, H. B. (1957, Sep 01). Roundup on the western range. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1956, Aug 09). FOX SIGNS WALD FOR 18 PICTURES. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. MOVIELAND EVENTS. (1957, Apr 09). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. Schallert, E. (1957, Apr 16). Cobb battles brynner as karamazov father; randall now dramatic. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  9. "Burt Kennedy: Writing Broadway in Arizona". Parallax View. November 6, 2008.
  10. Hopper, H. (1959, Feb 05). Gloria grahame returns to films after two years. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  11. MURRY, S. (1959, Aug 30). SUCCESS STORY. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  12. Wolters, L. (1959, Aug 09). Kookie is kool, man, kool! Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  13. FILMLAND EVENTS. (1959, Jun 26). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  14. Warren, G. (1959, Sep 18). 'Yellowstone kelly' proves solid western. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  15. "Dell Four Color #1056". Grand Comics Database.
  16. Dell Four Color #1056 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
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