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Stagecoach (1939) Wikipedia - Stagecoach (1939)

Stagecoach

The history the making of Motion Pictures in Monument Valley Wikipedia - Monument Valley begins with the making of Stagecoach Wikipedia - Stagecoach (1939) in 1939.

Harry Goulding Link - Gouldings , who had run a Trading Post in Monument Valley since 1925, realised the potential of Monument Valley as a movie location. Goulding heard that John Ford Wikipedia - John Ford was making a new Western and traveled to Hollywood to persuade John Ford that Monument Valley was the ideal location for the Movie. Goulding seated himself outside John Ford's office and just waited until John Ford gave him an interview. Ford traveled to Monument Valley and the rest is motion picture history.

Harry Goulding at his Trading Post
Harry Goulding in his Trading Post circa Fifties.

Harry Goulding at his Trading Post
Harry Goulding in his Trading Post circa Fifties.

Harry Goulding in Monument Valley
Harry Goulding and his wife Mike at Goulding's Lodge

Goulding's Lodge
At Goulding's Lodge circa 1940. The photograph above this one was taken on the rock strata below the cliffs to the right of frame.

Movie goers for decades would imagine that the entire South-Western USA was covered in the distinctive Butte and Mesa, which it is not for the most part. In fact a land which is scattered with Butte and Mesa is the Land between Barcelona Wikipedia - Barcelona and Zaragosa Wikipedia - Zaragoza in North-East Spain, although the Western Movie-making capital of Spain is way to the South in the Badlands of Almería Wikipedia - Almería, where the Spaghetti Westerns Wikipedia - Spaghetti Western and Play Dirty (1974) Wikipedia - Play Dirty were shot. You can catch a brief glimpse of the landscape near Barcelona in Acción Mutante Wikipedia - Acción Mutante although there are no Mesa or Butte appearing in the Frame.

Filming of Stagecoach
John Ford filming Stagecoach above Valley Road. The West Mitten Butte is in the Frame.

John Ford in Monument Valley
John Ford on the Location of Stagecoach standing on US Highway 163 several Kilometers south of Monument Valley.
Agathla Peak rises in the Background.

US Highway 163 past Agathla Peak, El Capitan
US Highway 163 at Kayenta going north to Monument Valley past Agathla Peak, El Capitan. US Automakers would emphasise ride quality in automobile suspensions over un-asphalted roads in until the early Seventies.

Script of Stagecoach
In the above Photograph, an Original Script of Stagecoach. One of the Stories which the script was based on was the Last Stage to Lordsburg.

John Ford at Ford Point
John Ford at Ford Point, above Valley Road. Merricks Butte dominates the background. The Indians obseeved that Ford liked this position of Vantage so much that they named it after him. Merricks Butte dominates the Background.

 

John Ford, John Wayne in Monument Valley 1971

 

Careful framing of the camera enables the cameraman to re-use many locations within Monument Valley, which is quite a small area of a more expansive landscape.

Monument Valley lends itself well to long shots with small figures moving through a large landscape.

The crux of the movie is the scene where the Indians attack the stagecoach and chase it flat-out across the Desert. This was filmed at Lucerne Dry Lake Wikipedia - Lucerne Lake near Big Bear in California. Lucerne Dry Lake also featured as a section of some of the big Desert Motorbike Races Link - Desert Motorcycle Races of the Fifties and Sixties.

Reportedly, all the original negative prints of Stagecoach have been lost and a new version was constructed from an original positive reel owned by John Wayne which had never been through a projector. The version of the movie which was transferred to DVD, visible here, was made from a transfer of the original negative to videotape, made some years previously.

+ Monument Valley Maps

Stagecoach

Stagecoach

Stagecoach

Stagecoach

Stagecoach
In the above frame, looking north along US Highway 163 a few kilometers before Monument Valley, next to El Capitan Wikipedia - El Capitan or Agathla Peak, which is out of frame to the Left (West).

Adjacent Agathla Peak on US Highway 163

Agathla Peak, US Highway 163
In the above Map, US Highway 163 a few Kilometers before Monument Valley, next to El Capitan Wikipedia - El Capitan or Agathla Peak. US 163 was just a dirt track when Stagecoach was filmed in 1939.

Stagecoach
In the above Frame, the Location is at Gouldings Lodge, looking North-West, in the direction of Train Rock.

Gouldings Lodge looking North-West to Train Rock
In the above Photograph, you can see the present position of Monument Valley Airfield at Gouldings Lodge.

A-Z Minerals Airfield and Gouldings Airfield
In the above Map, the position of Monument Valley Airstrip at Gouldings Lodge. Monument Valley proper is on the other side of US Highway 163 to the East, on the lower edge of this Map.

Stagecoach

Stagecoach
(00:14:16)

Agathla Peak, looking North along Highway 163 before Monument Valley
In the above Frame, looking North along US Highway 163 a few Kilometers before Monument Valley, next to El Capitan Wikipedia - El Capitan or Agathla Peak which is Center-frame.

Agathla Peak in relation to Monument Valley
In the above Map, the relation of El Capitan / Agathla Peak, to Monument Valley and Gouldings Lodge.

Agathla Peak on US Highway 163
In the above Map, US Highway 163 as it runs past Agathla Peak.

Stagecoach

Stagecoach - Mitchell Butte.
Mitchell Butte, looking back toward Mitchell Mesa and the South West. The cavalry are on what passed for US 163 in 1939. Gouldings Lodge would be out of frame right behind the shoulder of the camera.

Scene: The entrance of the Ringo Kid (00:17:34)
Location: The Iverson Movie Ranch Wikipedia - Link - , Chatsworth

Garden of the Gods
(00:17:34)

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Stagecoach

Stagecoach
Iverson Movie Ranch Wikipedia - Link - , Chatsworth. Reproductions of John Wayne's Winchester Model '92 44-40 carbine are available here: Link - Bounty Hunter Special http://www.bountyhunterspecial.com/

 

 

Stagecoach
(00:18:57) The above frame is Valley Road, looking back East into Monument Valley with Merricks Butte in the Frame. US Highway 163 is behind the Camera.

Valley Road adjacent to Merricks Butte

Valley Road, Monument Valley
Valley Road. Thirty-Six years later, Clint Eastwood would film a chase through the desert in The Eiger Sanction (1975)Wikipedia - The Eiger Sanction down this same section of Valley Road entering from the opposite direction.

Stagecoach

Stagecoach
(00:18:57) The above Frame is close to Valley Road heading toward US163. This position was, likely, chosen by John Ford using the Camera Lens, after which he would have had the Stagecoach run up the Bank through the Frame.

Valley Road heading toward US Highway 163

Valley Road, Monument Valley

Stagecoach
In the above Frame Valley Road, with the East Mitten Butte on the Left, and on the Right, Merricks Butte.

Valley Road, West Mitten, Merricks Butte

Stagecoach
In the above Frame, Valley Road, the West Mitten Butte on the Left and the East Mitten Butte on the Right.

Valley Road, West Mitten, East Mitten

Stagecoach
(00:21:58) In the above frame, Valley Road, the distinctive Stagecoach Butte complex is left of frame and the West Mitten Butte is right of frame.
The Stagecoach Butte complex is part of a grouping of Butte which includes Stagecoach, King-on-his-Castle, Brigham's Tomb, Eagle Mesa, to the north of Monument Valley in the direction of the settlement of Mexican Hat.

Valley Road, Stagecoach Mesa, West Mitten

Stagecoach
In the above frame, the Stagecoach passes along Valley Road, as Sentinel Mesa comes into the frame from the left.

Valley Road, Sentinel Mesa, Stagecoach Butte

Valley Road heading toward US Highway 163
The above panorama is a composite of John Ford's panning shot of the stagecoach and cavalry escort making its way along Valley Road westward in the direction of US Highway 163 with the camera position on the banks of Mitchell Mesa, which was John Ford's favorite direction of outlook onto the Valley. Most of the shots used in Stagecoach are from skirts of Mitchell Mesa which rises behind the camera.

Valley Road heading toward US Highway 163

In the above comparison, John Ford's Camera probably stood somewhere to the Left and slightly Lower of the Position of the Photograph. In 1974, Forty-Six years later, Clint Eastwood and Miles Mellough will race down this section of Valley Road in the opposite direction in The Eiger Sanction (1975)Wikipedia - The Eiger Sanction .

 

Valley Road, Monument Valley

Scene: The Captain of Cavalry waves farewell.
Location: Below Sentinel Mesa

Stagecoach
In the above frame, the Stagecoach Butte Grouping is Right of Frame, with Sentinel Mesa Left of Frame. See the Monument Valley Maps Page.

Sentinel Mesa, Stagecoach Butte

 

Valley Road, Monument Valley
In the above Frame, the Position of the Camera below Sentinel Mesa.

Stagecoach
(00:30:22)

Sentinel Mesa
In the above tableau, Eagle Mesa from US Highway 163 heading North to Mexican Hat. On the opposite side of the Road to Eagle Mesa is the constellation of Brigham's Tomb, King-on-his-Castle and Stagecoach Butte. Remember that US 163 was just a dirt track when Stagecoach was filmed, thus making this a major intersection.

US Highway 163 looking North West in the direction of Mexican Hat
In the above photograph, US Highway 163 looking north west in the direction of Mexican Hat. On the left hand side of the road is Eagle Mesa. On the right hand side of the road is the constellation of Brigham's Tomb, King-on-his-Castle and Stagecoach Butte group. Further to the right (and closer to the camera) is Big Indian and half way out of frame is Sentinel Mesa.

Stagecoach
(00:31:13) In the above Frame, the Stagecoach makes its way along the Track from Gouldings Lodge toward US Highway 163 and the Crossroads with Valley Roach. In the Background, Left-to-Right, Big Indian Butte, Sentinel Mesa, West Mitten Butte, East Mitten Butte, Merricks.Butte.

Big Indian, Sentinel Mesa, Mittens, Merricks Butte

 

Stagecoach

Stagecoach
(00:33:42)

Stagecoach

 

Scene: The stagecoach arrives at Apache Wells (00:38:30)
Location: The Iverson Movie Ranch Wikipedia - Link - , Chatsworth

Garden of the Gods

 

Scene: The burning relay station (01:03:36)
Location: The Iverson Movie Ranch Wikipedia - , Chatsworth

Stagecoach

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

 

Scene: The River Crossing.
Location: Kern River, north of Chatsworth Wikipedia - , CA.

Yakima Cannut arranged this Scene as well as the great pursuit at the end of the movie.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Scene: Apache War Signals (01:01:23)
Location: The Iverson Movie Ranch Wikipedia - Link - , Chatsworth

Garden of the Gods
(01:01:23)

Garden of the Gods

 

 

Garden of the Gods

 

Scene: The Indians Attack (01:06:09)
Location: Under Sentinel Mesa parallel to Valley Road.

Stagecoach
(01:06:09) In the above frame, the Stagecoach travels down a track north of Valley Road and parallel to it, moving in the direction of US Highway 163. Sentinel Mesa is right of frame, and Eagle Mesa, away to the north over US Highway 163 is center background.

Sentinel Mesa

Valley Road, Monument Valley

 

Valley Road, Monument Valley

 

Stagecoach
In the above frame, the Stagecoach travels along Valley Road in the direction of US Highway 163. Merricks Butte rises left of frame.

Merricks Butte

Stagecoach
In the above frame, the Indians assemble on the Flanks of Mitchell Mesa, rising behind the Camera. The West Mitten Butte, rises in the Background.

West Mitten at Ford Point

 

Valley Road, Monument Valley

Stagecoach
In the above Frame, Valley Road, with the West Mitten Butte Left of Frame, and Merricks Butte Right of Frame.

Valley Road, Merricks Butte

Valley Road, Monument Valley

Stagecoach
In the above Frame, the Indians turn to descend their Vantage Point to begin their pursuit of the Stagecoach.

Scene: The Stagecoach hurtles through a narrow Cutting.
Location: Beale'sCut Wikipedia - Beale's Cut, new Newhall, California.

Beale's Cut
See Location Hunter »The Great Silence«'s Blog page Link - The Great Silence Blogspot for more information on Beale's Cut. Beale's cut itself fell into disuse after the war and in the last decade suffered from a landslide which has buried the lowermost sections.

Stagecoach

Scene: The Indians attack the Stagecoach.
Location: Lucerne Dry Lake Wikipedia - Lucerne Lake , Big Bear, California.

Stagecoach

Stagecoach

Stagecoach

Stagecoach

 

Yakima Cannut
» The Leaders ! «
Yakima Cannut Wikipedia - Yakima Canutt doubles for John Wayne, going forward to catch the Reins of the lead pair of horses which were dropped by the driver when he was wounded. Yakima Cannut defined the role of stuntmen and became the Godfather of Stuntmen the World over. In this sequence, he design modifcations to the Yoke and Harness of the Team, which offered Handholds and also spaced the Team further apart than normal, which is not visible when the Camera is positioned to the side of the Team.

 

Yakima Cannut performing his most famous stunt

Yakima Cannut

Yakima Cannut performing his most famous stunt

Yakima Cannut

Yakima Cannut performing his most famous stunt

 

Scene: Arrival in Lordsburg
Location: Republic Studios back-lot

 

 

John Ford directs some Indians
Stagecoach: John Ford directs some Indians at Lucerne Dry Lake

 

John Ford at Agathla Peak South of Monument Valley on US 163 during the filming of Stagecoach
John Ford at Agathla Peak

 

John Ford on Ford Point, Monument Valley
John Ford at Ford Point in Monument Valley

 

John Ford at the Totem Pole, Monument Valley in the Fifties
A magnificently attired John Ford at the Totem Pole during the Fifties. Ford looks as though he has been cast in a Sergio Leone Western.

 

+ SEE ALSO

- Last Stage to Lordsburg. the short story on which the screenplay for Stagecoach was based.

- The Eiger Sanction (1975) makes extensive use of the same Locations within Monument Valley.

- Monument Valley Maps

 

+ EXTERNAL LINKS

- HISTORIES OF GOULDINGS:

-http://www.silverstage.net/Link -

- http://www.vanityfair.com/Link -

-http://www.legendsofamerica.com/Link -

- Beale's Cut Link - The Great Silence Blogspot

- See Location Hunter »The Great Silence«'s Blog page Link - The Great Silence Blogspot

- Iverson Movie Ranch Blogspot Link - Iverson Movie Ranch Blogspot iversonmovieranch.blogspot.co.uk

 

 

+ OTHER WESTERN LOCATIONS

- Laurie Power's Wildwest Blogspot Link - Laurie Power's Wildwest Blogspot

- Beale's Cut at www.moviesites.org Link - www.moviesite.org Beale's Cut

 

 

 

 

 

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