There are 33 replies in this Thread which was already clicked 39,678 times. The last Post () by dukefan1.

Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!



    Uncompahgre Valley ,Colorado

    Many Scenes from
    True Grit
    were shot at these locations


    Owl Creek Pass

    Located in the picturesque Uncompahgre Valley
    Ridgeway is surrounded by majestic snow-capped peaks of the Cimarron
    and San Juan Mountains, Ridgway is the “Gateway to the San Juans.”

    This “gateway” position was recognized over 100 years ago
    when the Rio Grande Southern established Ridgway as a
    railhead center servicing the nearby mining towns of Ouray and Telluride.
    The town was named for railroad superintendent Robert M. Ridgway
    who established the town in 1891.

    ( (c) 2003 James Pettengill, used by permission, all rights reserved)

    Kate's Meadow, where the shoot out took place

    Ridgway- Wikipedia
    Ouray Court House

    Ouray, Colorado

    The courtroom was used in
    True Grit

    The Ouray County Courthouse, constructed in 1888,
    is the seat of government of Ouray County, Colorado.
    It is located at the corner of 6th Avenue and 4th Street in Ouray, Colorado.
    This structure has been placed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.
    Infoprmation from Wikipedia
    Buckskin Joe's Frontier Town

    Canon City, Nevada

    Scenes from
    True Grit
    The Cowboys
    were shot here

    Nestled in the heart of Royal Gorge Country,
    you’ll feel like you jumped out of the 21st century back into old west
    where the name of the game was fast guns and slow travel.
    At Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway,
    we have provided millions of guests a unique experience
    and have helped create a ton of fun memories, since 1958.

    Buckskin Joe closing after 53 years
    The (Colorado Springs), Gazette,
    Sep 3, 2010 | by ANDREW WINEKE

    Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway,
    a staple of Canon City tourism for 53 years,
    will close Sept. 12.2010

    Owner Greg Tabuteau, who has owned the attraction for 25 years,
    sold the 805-acre property to a man he says wishes to remain anonymous.
    Tabuteau said the new owner is an Old West buff who was more interested
    in the buildings than the land and plans to move the structures to a new location.

    It's unknown what will happen to the land.

    Tabuteau, 63, said he's ready to relax a little.

    "I've been in tourism all my life and never had a summer vacation,"
    Tabuteau said. "My wife and I want to have a little fun before
    I don't have the health to do it anymore."

    Buckskin Joe's employs 45 people, all but five of those seasonal employees.

    Mike Bandera, general manager of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park,
    said Buckskin Joe has been a good partner and that losing
    one of the gorge's attractions makes it harder to bring visitors to the area.

    "Very sorry to see them go," Bandera said.
    "Obviously, the more you have, the greater you're likely
    to be the destination for a family."

    Buckskin Joe was built in 1957 as a set for Western movies
    and 30 authentic buildings were moved in from ghost towns around the region,
    including one building from the real Buckskin Joe,
    a mining camp outside of Alma that enjoyed a brief heyday in the 1860's.

    The Royal Gorge Buckskin Joe was the setting for
    1965's "Cat Ballou" and John Wayne's "The Cowboys" (1972),
    along with many other films.

    For more information:-
    Buckskin Joes- Wikipedia
    Bent's Old Fort

    Otero County ,Colorado

    Some scenes from
    How the West Was Won
    were shot here.

    Bent's Old Fort is an 1833 fort located in Otero County in southeastern Colorado, USA.
    William and Charles Bent, along with Ceran St. Vrain, built the fort to trade
    with Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians and trappers for buffalo robes.
    For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent settlement
    on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements.
    It was destroyed under mysterious circumstances in 1849.

    The area of the fort was designated a National Historic Site
    under the National Park Service on June 3, 1960.
    It was further designated a National Historic Landmark
    later that year on December 19, 1960.
    The fort was reconstructed and is open to the public.
    Information from Wikipedia

    True Grit Locations, then and now





    For more information and photographs:-
    Bents Old Fort- Wikipedia
    Bents Old Fort

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 54 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I had posted a couple of the photos,
    but thanks Kalmouk for now posting that link.

    Keith, I realize I never acknowledged your original posting of this thread, which of course represents quite a bit of work. THANK you so much for gathering the different information and compiling it for our members' perusal. You have done an excellent job of sharing information on numerous different locations of Duke's movies, this being just one of many.

    Chester :newyear:

  • Ethan,
    Was the Ouray Courthouse in True Grit ? It looks like the courthouse
    used in the 1972 Clint Eastwodd movie "Joe Kidd". However I don't remember any beautiful mountains, right behind it.

    "A people that values their Privileges above it's Principles. Soon looses both." Dwight Eisenhower

  • Now updated with new photographs and information.
    See the much better photo of the
    Ouray Court House in True Grit

    I believe Buckskin Joe's Frontier Town
    is now CLOSED, can anyone confirm this!

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Some more info on True Grit locations:

    The Ouray County Courthouse was used, but only for the interior scenes - and some of the film didn't turn out, so a replica had to be built in California to re-shoot a few shots. The exterior of the courthouse in the film was a set built next door to the "fire house" in Ridgway. It was just an exterior shell and removed after completion of the film shoot. The Ouray Courthouse is a beautiful building - I've sat jury duty in there during a snowstorm, and it's a unique feeling of being in the 1880s.

    The actual name of the meadow where the final shootout takes place is Katie's Meadow. The US Forest Service used to have a sign there, but the signs were stolen by tourists just as fast as the USFS could put them up, so there is no sign anymore. Some sources refer to it as Debbie's Meadow, but they have their films confused - Debbie Reynolds was in How the West Was Won, which partly shot in "downtown" Ridgway and (I'm told) out on Last Dollar Road west of town. Her mother bought property near Ouray and I'm told the house is still in the family.

    The snake pit/mine at the end is on private property just southwest of Ouray. The fiberglass rocks and log bed frames in the cave are still there - I was up there last autumn. There is no public access to this site, but sometimes it's opened up for tours or special events.

    The Ross Ranch is on Last Dollar Road, which is about 12 miles west of Ridgway. The ranch is about 2 miles down the road from highway 62, on the right. It's private property, too, and the ranch house is VERY run down. The scenes were shot from the far side, so the house doesn't look quite right from the road.

    The True Grit Cafe in town was built around the exterior wall that had a sign for a grocery painted on it, and that sign is still visible on the wall. It was painted by Montrose Western artist Bob DeJulio, who did a lot of painting of sets for the film.

    I live in Ridgway (yeah, tough assignment, but someone has to do it) and took the photo labeled Kate's Meadow in the original post in this thread. It's copyright 2003, James Pettengill, used by permission, all rights reserved.

    Edited once, last by jgp1843: typo ().

  • I'm actually going to be in the Silverton/ Ouray Colorado area in August 2011 and would like to see some of these locations. After seeing the True Grit re-make it sparked an interest in the original movie shooting locations- nostalgia I guess.

    Are there detailed directions to these anywhere ? ( respecting private property of course)

  • The Ridgway (Colorado - located 10 miles north of Ouray) Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center has a handout with info on the movies shot here - True Grit 1, a couple of scenes from How the West was Won, and James Cagney's last western, Tribute to a Bad Man. We also have the true story behind The Sons of Katie Elder, which was loosely based on the lives of a family who moved here in 1889. The hand out is free. The visitor center is located at the intersection of routes 550 and 62 (at the county's only traffic light), in the same building as the Ridgway Railroad Museum, which is also worth a look. If you happen to stop in on a Wednesday, chances are that I will be the volunteer on duty at the visitor center.

    To check out the museum, visit

    I promise to put up a summary of the story behind the Sons of Katie Elder before long.

  • I promise to put up a summary of the story behind the Sons of Katie Elder before long.

    And we'll hold you to that! :wink_smile: When you get the time, please do share that with us. I always enjoy reading the books that turned into Duke films, so this is another story I would love to hear.


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • If you happen to stop in on a Wednesday, chances are that I will be the volunteer on duty at the visitor center.

    Ugh. I have been through Ridgway a couple times and never had a chance to stop there at the museum, coming in from Moab over Paradox, Telluride, etc.

    I have to see what days I will be in the area, when I figure that out I will let you know in case we can chat for a few mins, even if just to say Hey ! I helped restore a steam locomotive once and would find that museum interesting in any case.

  • OK, I have finally posted the true story behind the Sons of Katie Elder in the Katie Elder area. It's long, but it's a very complex story. I'd recommend reading the referenced publications for the whole story. If anyone here will be at the Wild West History Association convention in Cody, Wyoming at the end of the month, I'll be there, too. Look me up.

    Jim Pettengill