Hollywood in Wyoming: The Classic Western
Hollywood has a longstanding fascination with Wyoming. The cowboy state’s vast and beautiful landscapes have appeared onscreen in more than 120 films. The rolling hills, steep snow-capped Tetons, and vast plains have served as a movie backdrop for over a century, starting all the way back in 1904 with Wyoming Roundup.
Many of the early westerns were shot in studios, but the lure of the locations brought filmmakers to the Wyoming landscapes and throughout the West. They came to tell stories of the American dream and the rugged individualist, of the tough, flawed, loner hero, and of the scoundrels he gunned down with his trusty six-shooter. These are the same stories of romance, conflict, greed, generosity, and bravery that we still imagine when we look out at the majestic Wyoming landscape.
You can get a full list of Wyoming westerns at IMDB, but here are a few highlights:
The Cowboy and the Lady (1922) staring Mary Miles Minter and Tom Moore
The Big Trail (1930) with John Wayne
Shane (1956) staring Alan Ladd
Flicka (2006) starring Tim McGraw
Cheyenne Autumn (1964) starring Richard Widmark (partially shot here)
Dances with Wolves (1991) with Kevin Costner. (partially shot here)
Beyond the Western
Westerns have been the majority of films shot in the cowboy state, but they are by no means the only stories that Wyoming has to tell. Such films include Mr. Skitch(1933) starring Will Rogers, Hellfighters (1969) with John Wayne, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax starring Angela Lansbury, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper (1981) with Robert Duvall and Treat Williams, Prison (1988) with Lane Smith and Viggo Mortensen, and Meet the Deedles (1998) starring Dennis Hopper.
In the eastern and central part of the state, Devils Tower hosted scenes for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) starring Richard Dreyfuss and Teri Garr, and directed by Steven Spielberg. Hell’s Half Acre was the location of Starship Troopers (1997) with Casper Van Dien and Neil Patrick Harris, a movie based on a book of the same name by noted science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein.
In the western part of the state, Jackson Hole has been host to several film, including Any Which Way You Can (1980) starring Clint Eastwood, Rocky IV (1985) starring Sylvester Stallone, and Ghosts Can’t Do It (1990) starring Bo Derek and Anthony Quinn. Wyoming has also served as the backdrop for TV movies, National Geographic and IMAX productions, and many ski films.