Look Back on These Vintage ‘Cowboy’ Films Shot in Colorado + Utah
Did you know some of your favorite movies from the 1940s, 50s, and '60s were filmed in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah? Grand Junction Daily Sentinel photographer Bob Grant had a chance to shoot a few photos from these movie sets.
Photos in the gallery below come from a handful of movies of the 1940s and 50s. Among them would be the John Wayne movie The Comancheros, Warlock, Devil's Doorway, and the Disney movie "Ten Who Dared."
Two Hits and a Miss
For your viewing please, I present stills from three movies receiving positive critical reviews and one flop-a-roo. If you're a Western fan, I can't help but think you'll recognize each of these films. If you're a Western Colorado or Eastern Utah native, chances are you recognize the scenery.
The Comancheros - One of the "Hits"
Wow! This movie scored a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's a 1961 Western Deluxe CinemaScope color film directed by Michael Curtiz, based on a 1952 novel of the same name by Paul Wellman.
The movie starred John Wayne and Stuart Whitman. Supporting actors include Ina Balin, Lee Marvin, Nehemiah Persoff, Bruce Cabot, Jack Elam, Patrick Wayne, and Edgar Buchanan, Bob Steele, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, and Harry Carey, Jr.
The movie was filmed on-location all over Utah, including Professor Valley, Dead Horse Point, King's Bottom, La Sal Mountains, Fisher Valley, Onion Creek, Hurrah Pass, and Haver Ranch.
Warlock - Another One of the "Hits"
There have been several movies made by this name. In this case, Warlock refers to the 1959 film starring Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda. Regarded by some critics as a "top-flight western," this film received an audience score of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Filming location included Dead Horse Point State Park, Professor Valley, Arches National Park, Moab, and White's Ranch, at mile marker 14 off of Highway 128 in Utah.
Western Colorado Hit #3 - Devil's Doorway
Have you ever seen the movie "Devil's Doorway"? Me neither. Did you know it was filmed in Western Colorado?
In this case, I'm talking about the 1950 MGM film "Devil's Doorway." It starred Robert Taylor, Louis Calhern, Paula Raymond, Marshall Thompson, and James Mitchell.
According to IMDb, the film was shot on location in Colorado in both Grand Junction and Aspen. Grand Junction Daily Sentinel photographer Bob Grant stopped by the set in September 1949 to shoot these photos.
The movie was fairly well received with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 62%.
... And a Miss - Ten Who Dared
Even in Western Colorado we occasionally crank out a turkey. We may not want to claim this one. This 1960 Walt Disney film, directed by William Beaudine, starred Brian Keith, Ben Johnson, and John Beal.
According to Wikipedia, some scenes were filmed at the Big Bend of the Colorado River, Professor Valley, Arches, Dead Horse Point, Dewey, Castle Valley, and Westwater Canyon.
Audiences weren't nice to "Ten Who Dared," giving it an underwhelming 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
How many of these places have you visited? Chances are you've been to several of the locations listed above. The next time I'm in Westwater Canyon, I plan to take a look around and see if I recognize any of these locations.