Jason Momoa is producer, co-writer and co-star of the Western set to open Nov. 18.
Promising to offer a revisionist view of the same real-life events that inspired Tell Them Willie Boy is Here (1969), The Last Manhunt is set for theatrical and digital release Nov. 18. Jason Momoa is an executive producer, co-writer, and co-star of the movie, which premiered last spring at the inaugural Pioneertown Film Festival, and boasts a cast that also includes C&I reader favorites Martin Sensmeier and Zahn McClarnon, Mainei Kinimaka, Lily Gladstone, Christian Camargo, Raoul Max Trujillo, Brandon A. Oakes, and Tantoo Cardinal.
Sensmeier stars as Willie Boy, a long-distance desert runner from the Chemehuevi tribe who, in 1909, must flee into the Mojave Desert with his young lover Carlotta (Mainei Kinimaka) after accidentally killing Carlotta’s father, William Johnson (Zahn McClarnon), a Chemehuevi shaman and tribal leader.
In pursuit of the fugitives, the local sheriff (Christian Carmago) leads a mounted posse armed with superior firepower, and accompanied by Native American trackers seeking justice for their “murdered” tribal leader. At first, Willie Boy and Carlota evade capture by outlasting the men and their horses. But sensationalistic news stories meant to sell papers add to the mounting pressure to capture Willie Boy — dead or alive.
Jason Momoa, Mainei Kinimaka and Zahn McClarnon
“It goes back to Jason,” says co-producer Martin Kistler, who last worked with Momoa on the Netflix movie Sweet Girl. “I think it was roughly 2018. Jason’s been going to Joshua Tree for a long, long, long time, for climbing and all different types of activities. And about four years ago, he was offered the chance to buy a piece of property outside of Joshua Tree Park. And so we were talking and spending some time out there. Then one of the locals, who’s also an old friend of Jason’s, made him aware of the Willie Boy story. Basically, what he said was, ‘Do you know what happened on your property that you’re about to buy? That was where the shootout with Willie Boy happened.’ And I was like, ‘What?’”
“I remember hearing about Willie Boy, the Desert Runner,” Momoa told the showbiz website Deadline last year, “and was fascinated by the story surrounding him. What should be a universal story of a relationship gone bad, quickly became a muddy, complex story about the power of crooked media and how Native Americans are portrayed to the public. The true story of Willie Boy has never been told, and it’s a beautiful one. I developed the story with my team because I wanted to set the record straight, and set the spirits of this story free.”