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  • During the 1940s and 1950s there were numerous Westerns such as 'Red River' being filmed on locations in southern Arizona. Just outside of Tucson was a large western movie set called 'Old Tucson.' In those days movie studio executives, crew and cast members such as John Wayne and other celebrities would regularly go to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico for food, drinks and entertainment. Nogale's main claim to fame was 'La Caverna' also known as 'The Cavern,' a restaurant built into a rock wall just a few…

  • I would like to share with you a couple of interesting articles I discovered from 2013 on the subject of vintage Mexican silver. In the second article it talks about the Red River D buckle and the La Azteca Silver Shop in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The last sentence in the part II article mentions a coming third and last installment to the story. I never found the third installment to the story. I did, however, contact the author of the articles. I was informed that they never got around to writin…

  • lvellek, I think you are right! I was looking through the cast and crew list for someone with the full initials "HMC". Looking again at the photo it is looks more like "HMc" with a small "c" designating the last name McSweeney.

  • Another Red River D belt buckle mystery? I recently found a post about this particular buckle on the Internet. This is a silver and gold belt buckle given to a female cast/crew member by Howard Hawks when she worked on the movie Red River in 1946. It contains the initials "HMC" in the lower left corner. It reportedly was stolen from a house on the Klamath River near Seiad Valley in Northern California on July 5, 2015. Record No. 54630. Reward: $2000. Does anybody have any idea what female cast o…

  • lvellekd, I would be very interested in seeing the photos of the others in your collection if you could perhaps share them.

  • I agree that the buckles were probably intended to look exactly the same. However, each of them were individually hand crafted by a skilled silversmith that would more than likely show slight unintended differences in each. Just looking at the John Wayne, Montgomery Clift and Norman Cook buckles you can see that the Norman Cook buckle does not have the "r" loop in the word "River." It originally could have had it but perhaps maybe repaired at some point after it was made.

  • It would be interesting to see photos of some of the other 1946 buckles that were given out to the cast and crew of 'Red River' before they are lost or mysteriously disappear. The buckle that Howard Hawks owned with the "JW" initials is also unaccounted for. The close-up photos I have seen are the ones for John Wayne, Montgomery Clift and Norman Cook. I don't know who now owns the Montgomery Clift buckle. Apparently the women in the cast and crew received buckles made in a different size. I have…

  • Great Western films like 'Red River’ can be classic films but do not have to be historically accurate for sure. There is an interesting website that is run from the descendants of Jesse Chisholm called Chisholm's Old West Leather Goods. They make old west reproductions of leather goods and belt buckles from museums and Western films including the Red River D Buckle. A lot of interesting reading there about the old west. I live in Missouri near Westport in the Kansas City area. That is where the …

  • Howard Hawks 'Red River' is a sweeping, epic story about a cattle drive historically based on the opening of the Chisholm Trail in 1867. The film spans a time period of fifteen years. At least 27 movies have depicted fictional accounts of the first drive along the Chisholm Trail. From 1867 to 1871, the trail ended in Abilene, Kansas, but as railroads incrementally built southward, the end of the trail moved to other cities. The route to the trail heads in Missouri was the earlier Shawnee Trail a…

  • Besides the Red River D belt buckles here is another interesting mystery surrounding the film "Red River" In the 1948 Howard Hawks film 'Red River' the music score was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin. During the opening main title sequence the choir singing lyrics to a song named "Settle Down." There is, however, debate as to what the exact lyrics to the song are. They apparently never were written down and saved anywhere. The only way to find out is to listen to the choir singing the cong. There ar…

  • Big Iron, I really don't know too much about the movie except from the information already available online. 'Red River' was shot on the vast Rain Valley cattle ranch near Elgin, Arizona from June through November 1946. The San Pedro River stood in for The Red River. Several dams had to be built along the river to make enough water for filming the movie. The filming location was about fifty miles northeast of Nogales. I thought the movie was very good and understand it is one of the top ten best…

  • Big Iron, I also proudly wear a solid brass Red River D belt buckle that I purchased on Ebay. I'm currently having a silversmith in California make me a more exact replica of the famous buckle made in silver and gold like the originals were made. Fortunately, I have recently had the opportunity to contact an individual who claims to have an original unfinished Red River D buckle in their possession. They have family ties to the Nogales area. I was informed that the buckle is about 75% completed.…

  • Thanks for the link Kevin. Yes, the articles are very interesting indeed! It's very likely from what I discovered that the Red River D buckles were made at the La Azteca Silver Shop in Nogales, Mexico. It was owed by the Martinez family. Brothers Jose and Elias Martinez were the silver craftsmen at the shop. I would like to learn if other people in the shop worked on the buckles besides them. I would also like to find out the year that the Martinez family relocated to the other shop in Scottsdal…

  • Hello members, I've recently been doing a lot of reading about the history of the Red River D belt buckles made during the production of the Howard Hawks film "Red River" in 1946. I have recently purchased a brass replica of the buckle with the initials "HWH" that John Wayne wore in nine of his films beginning with "Rio Bravo" in 1959. I'm curious if anyone has any unknown bits of information about the buckles to talk about. From the information I have gathered I'm pretty sure that the buckles w…