Tatanka Means portrays Rising Wolf in ‘Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher’ now streaming on Netflix

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Release Date: November 17, 2021


Actor, comedian and motivational speaker Tatanka Means portrays the character Rising Wolf in a new Chickasaw Nation Productions film inspired by the life of historic Chickasaw rancher Montford Johnson.

“Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher” tells the dramatic story of a time among settlers, cowboys, tribes, military and bandits.

Armed with grit and determination, Johnson had the courage that was needed to tame what seemed an infinite wilderness, while maintaining respect for the people who lived there.

The Chickasaw Nation Productions’ film brings to life the great hardships and tragedy Johnson and those close to him overcame to establish a vast ranching empire along the famous cattle highway of the American West, the Chisholm Trail.

Means is from Chinle, Arizona, and represents the Navajo, Omaha and Oglala Lakota Nations. His other acting gigs have included “The Son,” “Saints and Strangers,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and “Tiger Eyes,” among others. In addition to acting, Means performs stand-up comedy throughout the U.S. and Canada.

His character Rising Wolf is a friend to Johnson.

“We kind of grew up together. Through our whole life we keep coming in contact with each other through the good times and the hard,” Means explained.

He said many friendships were made on set, and one of the most rewarding parts of the process was telling this historic tale and getting it out to the people.

“Telling Montford’s story, being able to document that through film, visual storytelling – we want the next generation to know about important figures and people in history. I really believe in film and making that happen through entertainment,” Means said.

Many tribes are represented in the movie’s cast. Martin Sensmeier, who portrays Montford Johnson, is Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan. Casey Camp-Horick portrays Granny Vicey and is a Ponca tribal member. Sonia Hoffman is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and is cast as Asha, Rising Wolf’s wife. Rebeckah Boykin, a Choctaw model and actress portrays Johnson’s sister, Adelaide. Eddie Easterling, a Chickasaw citizen, plays Jesse Chisholm.

Other cast members include Dermot Mulroney, Tommy Flanagan, Grace Montie, James Landry Hébert, Denim Richards, Mackenzie Astin, Caleb Martin, Danny Tracey, Cat Merritt, Richard Whitman, Zack Morris, Randy Mendez-Kestler, Bella Muncy and Callan Wilson.

“Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher” was directed by Nathan Frankowski and produced by Paul Sirmons.

Most of the film was captured on Oklahoma soil. Davis, Reagan and Fort Gibson were key filming locations.

It is the third feature film produced by the Chickasaw Nation, joining “Te Ata” and “Pearl” in its effort to tell the story of the Chickasaw people.

The film is now available to stream on Netflix.

About the Chickasaw Nation