Stephen W. Browne | Rants and Raves



Who is Delle Bolton and what happened to her?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and for that my apologies to my hypothetical fan base. (I don’t have a hit counter so you readers are kind of like ghosts or angels to me. I might speculate about you, but am not really sure of your existence…)

At any rate, I’m settling in to my wonderful house and getting together regularly and guest teaching with a local martial arts group. Between that and my new newsroom gig, including blogging duties, I’ve been away for a while.

So about Della Bolton. I’m watching the Robert Redford flick “Jeremiah Johnson.” And by the way, Redford never mentioned the historical Johnson’s other monikers, “Crow killer,” and “liver-eatin’ Johnson.”

The notion this guy killed somewhere around 200 Crow wariors in single combat is considered unbelievable these days. White men of the present quite logically ask, why didn’t the Crow warriors just band together in a large enough group, hunt the mountain man down and kill him? Isn’t it nonsensical to suppose the Crow Killer could prevail against those odds?

Not to me.

To a man who understands warriors it’s obvious how this could happen. Once Johnson had a established his reputation, no Crow brave would want to share the glory of killing and taking the scalp of the Crow Killer. They’d have come at him one at a time until some older and wiser head said “Enough!” and made their peace with him.

The actress who played the Flathead Indian woman her tribe gave to Johnson, and whose killing he avenged on the Crows, was played by someone named Delle Bolton.

She actually looks Indian (though I’ve been fooled about this before,) and she’s very beautiful in that cheekbones-to-die-for Indian way. One could believe a man would go apeshit crazy homicidal if she was murdered.

So what happened to her? This is her only film credit I can find on the Internet Movie Database or Wikipedia.

Anyone know anything about her?

Please tell me she got a sample of the Hollywood bullshit, blew it off, got married to a good man and raised a family.

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  • Claus · October 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

    And here is a Delle Bolton Fan from Old germany. I love the movie which was just broadcastet on german TV. And of cause, I startet to search for the beautiful Delle on Internet. Well, here I am.

  • Doug · October 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I also thought she was very pretty and really enjoyed the film greatly.

  • xychteen · October 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I saw the movie first time – right now – and search for Delle, too ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems she has a really good fan team now, hasn’t she? ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Trapper · November 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    To start off yes Trapper is my real name, and I am a fur trapper . I was 12 yrs old in 1972 when the film came out .And I fell for swan as hard as Jeremiah .
    Delle, you were beautiful and am sure you still are ,just let us (your fans ) know that you are happy and safe . Always, Trapper

  • Barry · November 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Delle… are loved by many who wish you a long and good life….I pray Creator gives you all you need and that you are always loved.

  • Chris · December 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I found a link about Delle Bolton here:
    ; seems she celebrated her first wedding anniversary with screenwriter David Colloff during the filming of Jeremiah Johnson (1972). Also a 1972 article about her work at UCLA,3198599.

    Nothing after 1972!

  • Delle Bolton · December 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Settle down. I’m here in New Mexico selling Squaw Jerky to Tourist!

  • Patrick T · December 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Delle Bolton was also apparently in a ” Monk ” episode from 2008.

  • Delle Bolton · December 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I just watched ‘jeramiha Johnnson” Man oh Man, I was a Hot Lil Injun!

  • Charlie · January 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Does the movie industry not keep up with a beautiful and talented actress like Delle Bolton? If not, they are more stupid than I thought!

  • dunno · January 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm


    ‘nuther seeker out in cyberspace lookin’ round fur Delle Bolton. Mebbe Sydney Pollack was after a bit of realism, so Delle was ackshuhlly killed by them Crow and/or burned up in their log cabin,


  • Delle Fan · January 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I keep Delle in my Spank File!

  • Bill · February 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    A much older Delle Bolton played a bit part on an episode of “Monk” a few years ago. That, I believe is her only other theatrical credit.

    She was otherwise a teacher at various Indian schools.

    Yes, I believe she is an Indian.

  • the truth · February 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Delle Bolton is not Indian but of Dutch and English heritage. Her daughter Anya does casting for “Monk.” She lives in Southern California where she taught in private schools.

  • Jim · March 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Hauntingly beautiful was (and probably still) is Delle Bolton . The scenes with Swan and the Grizzly man are the reasons I go back to watch JJ .

  • Jim (Tiberious) · March 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Delle, would love to know how to get some of your Squaw Jerky.

  • mike · April 15, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Apparently she passed away…

    I was so in love with her too…

  • Horse Muffins · April 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Would like the Actual Obit ,and not some BullSpit Link,

  • marlin chasteen · June 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Stephen, what martial art are you into? I hold blackbelts in tae kwon do, & shotokan myself. Always admire a fellow martial artist.

  • Author comment by Stephen W. Browne · June 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you Marlin. Click on the link on the toolbar above the post title “Martial Arts…” etc and that’ll tell you something about what I do.

    You can also click on the “martial arts” link on the subject menu on the right to see some of my articles on the subject.

  • The Investigator · June 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    This webpage:
    confirms that she is a real Native American. It states:

    “Actress Delle Bolton was the last of 200 Native American women to audition for the role of Swan.”

    and also

    “Bolton was coached by a Flathead on how to act as a chief’s daughter and a mountain man’s wife.”

  • Saxman · September 30, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Delle is not American Indian. Raised in New Orleans, she had a southern Belle accent which is probably the reason that she did not speak (a few chants)in the movie. Her family moved to Santa Monica CA when she was 14 and then to Houston Texas where she finished high school and some college. The family moved back to Santa Monica and she graduated from UCLA. JJ was her only movie as she pursued teaching in the southern California area. She did not teach at an Indian school or on reservations. She did have a small part on the Monk film “Mr Monk and the three Julies”. Apparently her privacy is of utmost importance. It’s probably best that she did not continue her career in movies as she was not willing to have any kind of communication with her fans. Anything that is printed suggesting that she is Indian is not true. The movie studio interviewed approximately 200 Indian women for the part of Swan but ended up selecting Delle because of her talent and facial structure. At 14 years of age she was cute, at age 20 she was beautiful.

  • Steve · October 12, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Redford mentions the book “Crow Killer” in the features disk of the JJ Blu-ray set.

  • Mohsen qassemi · November 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Interesting! I was searching for any information about her and I found your website ๐Ÿ™‚ I also found her beautiful especially after she bleached her mustache ๐Ÿ™‚

  • silent thunder · December 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Absolutely fabulous you were. I watch this film more often than not. And I, too, wonder what ever happened to you. I pray the Holy One keeps your cirle strong and full of gooT medicine eh. I am glad someone/everyone had the strength to keep you in thought and you answered. Many thanks..Merci beaucoup!

  • Ed · June 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    She is a really pretty woman!

  • Bob · June 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I’m watching ” Jeremiah Johnson Now,, And Yes I wonder what happened to this Beautiful Woman. I watch this Movie each time It’s on. It’s such a Great movie and for a Change,, It’s Real Life unlike the Junk We have today. I think We’ve Lost the art of Telling Real Stories.

  • best martial arts for kids · July 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspirkng writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost oon everything.
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  • Author comment by Stephen W. Browne · July 28, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Hmmmm, I started with a free blog space and moved here on the recommendation of a computer-person friend.

    For aspiring writers the best short piece of advice I ever heard is attributed to Stephen King, a writer I don’t read much, but whose work on writing is worth a look.

    “You lift weights every day, you get big muscles. You write every day, you get good at it.”

    A somewhat lengthier treatment is Robert A. Heinlein’s address to the graduating class at Annapolis, the James Forrestal Lecture.

    You can find that in “Expanded Universe” I believe.

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  • Rob Stevens · October 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Hey, Saxman ยท September 30, 2013 at 12:05 am,Ya she is native American, and do you REALLY have to MESS with the FANTACY !

  • john carson · May 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    This is all so typical for internet forums:
    somebody asks a question and 30 people who have no idea whatsoever pop up and give their .000005 cents worth. But finally we did get somebody who answered. Thanks for that.

  • Dorman Nelson · July 14, 2015 at 12:55 am

    The real Johnston’s last name was Garrison. He was born in NJ. I will have
    all the ancestry in my book.

    Jeremiah Johnson is a great movie. Fiction, of course, following the tall tales footsteps of the books Crow Killer and Mountain Man…..


  • Dorman Nelson · July 14, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Johnston’s real last name was Garrison. He was born in NJ. The Jeremiah Johnson movie was great following in the tall tales footsteps of the books Crow Killer and Mountain Man.
    My book will have his ancestry and more…


  • mayan longcount · July 17, 2015 at 3:23 am

    she was sensational. who of us does not want to be called johnson in her voice. nice coat swan!!

  • Stephen · August 22, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Great legs Della

  • satx · August 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

  • alvena · September 14, 2015 at 6:39 am

    So many of you claim to be Delle Bolton fans including the publisher of the blog. So why doesn’t anyone aknowledge her in the comments? I saw her part at leat twice. I was in the first grade when this movie came out. I can still remember the family trip to the theater to see iton the big screen. This movie brings back find memories for me.

  • Les Bolton · January 4, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    My last name is Bolton, just like Delle Bolton’s. Would love to know if we are connected in some way remotely close.

  • Sweet William by · January 18, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I’ve heard every story about Delle Bolton here, it would really be nice to get the real truth about her point of or in and what she has been doing since J J…

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