Although color would have been nice for this western shot on location in Kanab, Utah, The Yellow Tomahawk is no frills, brutal, and bloody western about some survivors of a massacre trying to make it home to safety. The Cheyennes however are only retaliating for the infamous Sand Creek Massacre in which the commanding officer had a big part. The commander is Major Warner Anderson who has some real issues of his own.
Rory Calhoun and Noah Beery, Jr. play a couple of scouts who see the problem, but are helpless with Anderson's intransigence and stupidity. Anderson even after Sand Creek is now building an army fort on Cheyenne land and the Cheyenne don't take kindly to that. They send the army warning signal of The Yellow Tomahawk which is their way of saying clear out. The scenes of the massacre of the cavalry and some civilians including women is not for the squeamish.
Peggie Castle and Rita Moreno play the women paired with Calhoun and Beery. Peter Graves is a shifty gold prospector. But the film belongs to Warner Anderson, this might be his career role. You won't believe why he ordered the Sand Creek massacre, but it's actually curiously relevant to issues coming before the Supreme Court to be rendered as I write this.