Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Contrabando Movie Set

If you ever visit the Big Bend area of Texas you can't help but notice the landscape.  It looks desolate and deserted and like it's exactly the kind of place you'd see cowboys going about their cowboy type business.  You'd also expect to happen upon an authentic, abandoned Mexican village.

But you won't find one.  However, you will find a fake abandoned Mexican village.  Hollywood producers also noticed the picturesque scenery and built a few "Western type" buildings for the 1986 film Uphill All the Way (starring, amongst others, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, Burl Ives and Glen Campbell).

Sadly the film doesn't seem to be on DVD so I can't get any screen captures to show you.  But a perfectly good movie set in a perfectly suited environment was too tempting for other producers because a slew of other westerns have been filmed there too.

Here's what it looks like:

And here's a similar shot from the 1995 mini-series, and Lonesome Dove sequel, Streets of Laredo:

And a shot from the 2006 mini-series, and Lonesome Dove prequel, Dead Man's Walk (which has the absolutely bizarre casting choice of David Arquette in the Robert Duvall role):

And here's a view from the other side from the 2001 film The Journeyman:

The main highlight of the little town is the church:

Which, of course, you can see in Dead Man's Walk:

It can also be seen (as well as most of the rest of the town) in the music video for the Brooks and Dunn song My Maria:

The building in the background is sometimes used as a saloon or cantina:

Like it was in the 1993 TV movie Rio Diablo (starring Kenny Rogers in a non-Gambler Western role):

But it has also been used as the offices of a mining company in The Journeyman:

So the next time you are watching a Western, and there's a scene that takes place in a small village, take a closer look to see if you might recognize it.


  1. I absolutely love filming location comparison posts ;) This is great!

    I haven't been in that area of Texas since I went on road trips with my grandparents. Saving my nickels and dimes for a western adventure in the future ;)