Chickasaw rancher Montford T. Johnson inducted into Hall of Great Westerners

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Release Date: November 23, 2021


OKLAHOMA CITY – Chickasaw rancher Montford Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners in ceremonies at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum recently.

Johnson operated one of the largest cattle ranches in Oklahoma from approximately 1868 until his death in 1896.

“Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher,” the third feature film production by Chickasaw Nation Productions, tells Johnson’s story and his impact on ranching within the Chickasaw Nation.

He was a warrior, entrepreneur, cattleman and philanthropist. Suffering from chronic illnesses and family trauma throughout his life, this self-made man managed to build a family legacy within Oklahoma that continues to be celebrated.

Johnson, the son of an Englishman and a Chickasaw woman, was born in 1843, north of Tishomingo along the Blue River. Johnson’s father left him in his grandmother’s care after Johnson’s mother died when he was an infant. It is a Chickasaw custom for motherless children to be reared by their own Chickasaw families.

Chickasaw Nation Productions presents Johnson’s life in a way sure to delight audiences of all ages. Inspired by the book “The Chickasaw Rancher,” the film covers the hardships Johnson and his family endured to create a ranching empire.

As his ranching domain expanded, Johnson’s perseverance established his legacy. Through conflicts with “Boomers,” cattle rustlers and numerous personal tragedies, Johnson stood strong. His ranching practices, such as burning fields to control growth and reduce diseases spread by ticks, along with erecting barbed wire fencing, are still used today.

The film about Johnson follows in the tradition of sharing Chickasaw stories from a Chickasaw perspective. Martin Sensmeier, a star of the 2016 remake of “The Magnificent Seven,” portrays Johnson. Actors Dermot Mulroney, Tommy Flanagan and Tatanka Means join Sensmeier.

Johnson was in exceptional company with other notable inductees to the Hall of Great Westerners including legendary actor Robert Duval (“Lonesome Dove” and “Open Range”) and country music singer George Strait (“Amarillo by Morning” and “The Cowboy Rides Away”), who received the lifetime achievement award.

"Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher” is now available to stream on Netflix. For more information, visit ChickasawRancher.com.

About the Chickasaw Nation