Zahn Tokiya-ku McClarnon (born October 24, 1966, Hunkpapa Lakota) is a Native American actor of half-Irish descent. Born in Denver, Colorado, he lived in various places in the West, and visited his maternal grandparents at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.

Zahn McClarnon
Zahn McClarnon 2016.png
McClarnon in 2016
Zahn Tokiya-ku McClarnon

(1966-10-24) October 24, 1966 (age 53)
Years active1992–present
Known for

Zahn started acting in high school. Professionally, he is best known for his performances as Police Chief Mathias in the Western crime drama series Longmire, Hanzee Dent in the second season of Fargo, and Akecheta in the second season of Westworld.

Early lifeEdit

McClarnon was born in Denver, Colorado, the son of a Hunkpapa Lakota mother and a father of Irish ancestry.[1] He grew up near Browning, Montana, where his father worked at Glacier National Park for the National Park Service.[2] He would often visit the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, where his mother grew up, and often lived with his maternal grandparents on weekends and for longer visits. His mother lived on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When his father was relocated to Omaha, Nebraska for work, the family lived in the Joslyn Castle & Dundee neighborhood.[2]

McClarnon said that he grew up in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Montana.[3] McClarnon has a fraternal twin brother. He said that his childhood was "rough".[4]

In 1986, McClarnon graduated from Omaha Central High School, where he said drama teacher Peggy Stommes was a big influence.[5][2]


McClarnon got his start in a local production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Chanticleer Theater in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He connected with John Jackson, a local Omaha casting director who later became known for his work with director Alexander Payne, McClarnon gained some local work and in the early 1990s, he moved to Los Angeles for his career.[2][6]

McClarnon was in the Into the West (2005) miniseries for TNT and played Running Fox. He starred in the 2009 film Not Forgotten and comedy film Repo Chick. In 2013, he was in the horror movie Resolution. He had a recurring role as Bodaway Macawi in Ringer. He also played Mike Parker in the first four episodes of the SundanceTV series The Red Road.[7]

From 2012 to 2017, McClarnon portrayed Mathias, the Chief of Indian Tribal Police of the Cheyenne reservation, in Longmire, originally an A&E and later a Netflix television series.[8]

McClarnon portrayed Hanzee Dent in the second season of the TV series Fargo, where his performance received critical acclaim.[3][9][10][11] He appeared in the TV series Timeless as Native American U.S. Marshall Grant Johnson in the episode "The Murder of Jesse James". McClarnon appeared as Toshaway in AMC Network's The Son,[2][12] for which he learned the Comanche language.[13] Currently, McClarnon appears as Akecheta, the leader of the Ghost Nation, in HBO's Westworld. Although usually credited as a recurring character, McClarnon was credited as a main cast member in "Kiksuya", the eighth episode of the second season, which focuses almost exclusively on his character's backstory. His performance in the episode received critical acclaim, with Rotten Tomatoes stating that McClarnon delivered a "heart-wrenching, formidable performance" that elevates the episode to "one of the best of the entire series".[14]

Personal lifeEdit

McClarnon's first name is in honor of his maternal great-great-uncle, Frank "Frances" B. Zahn, who was an artist and Lakota elder of Standing Rock Indian Reservation.[15] McClarnon's middle name, Tokiya-ku, loosely translates to mean: "first one to come."

In late 2017, McClarnon fell at his home and suffered a brain injury, requiring hospitalization. The accident caused a brief shutdown of production for Westworld.[16]





  1. ^ Pond, Roscoe (July 7, 2003). "Zahn McClarnon, more than just Indian and Irish". Indian Country Today.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mertes, Micah (April 10, 2017). "In AMC's 'The Son,' Omaha-raised actor graduates to playing a patriarchal role". Omaha World-Herald.
  3. ^ a b Tobias, Scott (December 14, 2015). "Zahn McClarnon on 'Fargo' and What Makes Hanzee Tick". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (December 14, 2015). "'Fargo' Finale: Zahn McClarnon on Hanzee's Future and the Season 1 Easter Egg". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ "O-Book '85" (PDF). Omaha Central High School Archives. 1985. p. 44.
  6. ^ Mertes, Micah (March 11, 2016). "'Fargo' actor, former Omahan is on a good run". Omaha World-Herald.
  7. ^ Schilling, Vincent (March 13, 2014). "Shady Character: Zahn McClarnon Discusses his 'Red Road' Role". Indian Country Today.
  8. ^ Schilling, Vincent (March 3, 2015). "'Longmire' Was Saved by the Fans, Says Zahn McClarnon". Indian Country Today.
  9. ^ Jurgensen, John (December 8, 2015). "Meet Zahn McClarnon, the Man Behind the Lethal Hanzee Dent of 'Fargo'". The Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (November 23, 2015). "'Fargo' Star Rachel Keller on Simone's Long Walk Into the Woods". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Kavner, Lucas (December 14, 2015). "Fargo's Zahn McClarnon on Hanzee's Backstory and the Types of Roles Native Americans Get Onscreen". Vulture.
  12. ^ Krol, Debra Utacia (March 6, 2017). "Zahn McClarnon Cast as Comanche leader Toshaway in AMC's 'The Son.'". Indian Country Today.
  13. ^ Bernstein, Abbie (April 8, 2017). "The Son: Actor Zahn McClarnon on AMC's new series - Exclusive Interview". Assignment X.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "00900 - Photographs - Archives Holdings - Archives - State Historical Society of North Dakota: Zahn Family". State Historical Society of North Dakota.
  16. ^ Stedman, Alex (November 3, 2017). "'Westworld' Actor Zahn McClarnon Hospitalized, Season 2 Production Paused". Variety. Retrieved June 22, 2018.

External linksEdit