True Grit: Then and Now

John Wayne, True Grit, Then and Now

John Wayne, from the famous shootout scene in “True Grit”

My You Tube Video, “True Grit :: Then and Now,” has become  popular and I’m frequently asked how and where I found all those movie locations 40 years later. Well, now you can find out! Retrace my steps and see where the Duke filmed his famous scenes!

Much of  the 1969 western “True Grit” was filmed in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and the movie lead to John Wayne’s only Academy Award. The amazing natural scenery of Colorado’s southwest corner was a huge part of the film. I happen to spend a lot of time down there, and after stumbling across a few of the filming locations, I decided to create a “Then and Now” video highlighting the locations from the movie, and what they look like today. Who knew it would be a You Tube hit?

The Ross Ranch

True Grit: Ross Ranch, Last Dollar Road

Click to enlarge the road leading to the Ross Ranch

The Ross Ranch is located on Last Dollar Road, which can be found off Highway 62, which runs from Ridgway to Telluride. The cutoff for Last Dollar Road, if you’re traveling from Ridgway, is past the Dallas Divide, and on the left. There’s a sign at the intersection, so you won’t miss it. (GPS: lat=38.0834180156, lon=-107.924766506).

Travel this road until you reach a fork. A road sign shows Last Dollar Road turns off to the left (and it will take you on a spectacular journey through aspen groves and over mountain passes to Telluride), but if you stay right, you will immediately see the Ross Ranch up ahead on your right (it’s set back off the road though).  You can pull into a short parking area, jump the fence and trespass in order to go up to the houses…or you can drive a bit further up the road and look back for a nice view and photo opportunities. It’s private land, so be sneaky about it, if you decide to hop the fence! I’ve been told by locals that MANY people hop that fence to get a closer view, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you want to recreate the shot from t he first frame of the movie, it will require a bit of a climb to the  top of a hill overlooking the houses. This is where the cemetery scene was shot, but nothing remains up there now, except for cow pies. Also, in the summer, cattle are often grazing on this hill.

McAlester’s Store

Click to enlarge this Google Eaarth map of Horsefly Mesa, location of McAlester's Store

Click to enlarge this Google Earth map of Horsefly Mesa, location of McAlester’s Store

Since this location is close to Last Dollar Road, it’s best to do these two locations at the same time. Also located off Highway 62, and just a few  miles further up the road from the Last Dollar Road cutoff, is the road you need to take to go to the McAllester’s Store location. This area is called Horsefly Mesa. This road is a little tricky to describe how to get to, since I’ve never seen any road names on it. But, basically, from the Last Dollar Road cutoff, continue on Highway 62 a few more miles until you see a road cut off on your right. There are only a few roads that go to the right, so that helps to narrow it down a bit. You’ll see a cutoff to your right and the road takes an immediate sharp cut up and to the right. There will be a private residence to your right and then immediately after that, you’ll see a private driveway on your left with a  huge ranch sign and gate. If you see those two things, you know you’re on the right road!

You’ll continue on this dirt road with aspens on both sides and finally you will round off to the left and come into a clearing and the views open up behind you. Up on your left, you’ll see a clearing and a crumbling old homestead. That’s the homestead that is behind John when he first rides up to the store. Turn in here (GPS: lat=38° 6’56.79″N, lon=107°57’37.34″W) and  park near the homestead and you can rummage around. This is where you’ll find the old hitchin’ post and the planks on the ground. If you continue through the trees, you’ll discover an old corral back near the fence line.

The Lone Pine Tree

This is the pine tree that is behind Rooster, La Boeuf and Mattie as they ride their horses down a “trail.” the trail is actually this same dirt road you’ve been traveling on to get to McAlester’s store. Once you pull back onto the road from the McAlester’s Store location, head back the way  you came (heading back to Highway 62) and you will immediately see the lone pine tree on your right around the 1-mile marker. (GPS: lat=38° 6’55.90″N, lon=107°57’36.41″W). You can’t miss it; it’s the only pine tree in a grove of aspen.

Deb’s Meadow (Shootout Field)

True Grit: Deb's Meadow Google Earth

Click to enlarge this Google Earth map of both Deb’s Meadow and Sleeping Rock

The famous shootout scene at the end of the movie was filled in Deb’s Meadow, near the summit of Owl Creek Pass. From Ridgway, travel toward Montrose on U.S. Highway 550 and turn right on County Road 10 (GPS: lat=38°10’25.86″N, lon=107°44’30.97″W). Follow the signs for Owl Creek Pass; you will pass through many ranches and private residences along this dirt road. The views are spectacular and just keep getting better as Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Peak (featured prominently in the shootout scene) come into view. It’s about 13 miles from the Highway 550 cutoff to the summit of Owl Creek Pass, and Deb’s Meadow is on the left, about a quarter of a mile before you reach the summit. You can’t miss it though…as you near the summit you will complete a very loopy switchback and curve back to the left. Right after you complete this switchback, you will see a large field on the left with a turn in (GPS: lat=38° 9’43.40″N, lon=107°34’4.21″W). Park and get ready to relive the scene that was made famous by the line, “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!”

As you walk down the faint trail that threads through the center of the field, look to your left and head toward the large boulder. This is the rock the Duke was next to when he and his horse was shot. Looking up, you’ll Chimney Peak, which is what was above Robert Duvall’s head when he first entered the field. In summer, the field will be covered in Corn Lilies and can also be a bit swampy.

If you go back to the turn in, and face the road, to your left you will hear and see a small stream. This is the stream they camped next to. Follow the stream through the trees and you’ll find their streamside camping place.

Sleeping Rock

The rock that Mattie slept in is at the summit of Owl Creek pass, which is literally only a few minutes further up the road from Deb’s Meadow. Follow the road until you reach the summit sign for Owl Creek Pass and turn into the little loop, which also has a port-a-potty. You’ll see the Sleeping Rock immediately and will be shocked at how close it is to the road! In the movie, the way it’s framed, of course looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but the rock is literally feet away from the road! The smaller rock that the Duke leaned against while drinking coffee is also located right next to the Sleeping Rock (GPS: lat=38° 9’28.25″N, lon=107°33’43.94″W).

The Hanging Scene

True Grit: Hanging Scene, Ridgway Town Park

Click to enlarge Google Earth map of Ridgway’s Town Park and True Grit Cafe

True Grit’s Hanging Scene was filmed in Ridgway’s Town Park, also know as Hartwell Park. It is right downtown and you can’t miss it. It’s a great place for a picnic and they often have concert series there during the summer and fall. To find the park, simply turn off Highway 550 into downtown and it will be on your right, off Lena Street. Also, when you turn off to head downtown, turn in to your left and you’ll see the  old Paddy Wagon from the beginning of the movie, when the Duke was bringing in prisoners. It’s parked there near the highway and downtown.

If you walk around the park, you will see the famous old trees used in the scene. The beautiful red building with the steeple is on the back end of the park, just down the road from True Grit Cafe (a must-see, great food). That red building is the old firehouse. Also, take time to look at the building to the left of the True Grit Cafe, and notice it is the Fort Smith Saloon, also used in the movie.

The True Grit Cafe is filled with True Grit and John Wayne memorabilia and has a great menu. Visit their web site and be sure to notice the wall to the left as soon as you enter. You’ll see the Chambers Grocery Store sign still painted on the wall, the same one used in the movie when Duke pulls up with the Paddy Wagon. There’s lots to look at and you can also purchase True Grit memorabilia from their store.

Chen Lee’s and Other Town Scenes

Chen Lee’s place is on Clinton Street in Ridgway. From the True Grit Cafe, just walk down the boardwalk next to the street, pass the Firehouse and turn left on Clinton Street. You’ll see a Natural Grocer’s across the street, this was a building that was shown behind John Wayne and Kim Darby when they were talking in the street. If you continue up Clinton Street, on the left side you’ll see a building that was part of the front of Chen’s. It’s the door Rooster and Mattie walk through to go into Chen’s.

Courthouse

Ouray County Courthouse, True Grit Courthouse scenes

Ouray County Courthouse, Ouray, Colorado

Some of the scenes that showed Rooster in court were shot in the Ouray County Courthouse, and some of the courthouse scenes were built sets. I did find the staircase that Mattie chased Rooster on, and it was indeed in the Ouray County Courthouse. From Ridgway, take Highway 550 10 miles to Ouray. The courthouse is on the left side of the main street. Turn left on 6th street, then turn right onto 4th street and the courthouse will be on your left. If you go inside, the staircase is on your right.

Other Scenes

The snakepit scene is located on Camp Bird Road outside Ouray (as you’re leaving town and heading toward Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway, you’ll see the sign for Camp Bird Road, just take a right). Camp Bird takes you to beautiful Yankee Boy Basin and is worth the trip alone for that. You can’t reach the snakepit scene, unfortunately.

The ferry scenes were filmed over at Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is between Montrose and Gunnison. The actual locations are now under water, but you can see the rocky cliffs that were shown in the movie.

Resources

When in doubt, please visit the Ridgway Chamber of Commerce, which is located on the left side of the road when you enter downtown Ridgway. They have True Grit DVDs for sale and also offer some directions to various True Grit related areas…but I have to admit, I believe my compilation is more comprehensive!

The most amazing time of year to visit these locations is the last week of September. The aspens are at their peak colors and are simply stunning. On your way from Ridgway to Last Dollar Road and Horsefly Mesa, you have to stop at the Dallas Divide, a very picturesque area that shows the San Juan Mountains in all their autumn glory. Another great time to visit is mid-July, when the wildflowers are blazing. The San Juan Mountains played a vital role in the movie for good reason: they are one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Have fun! Long Live the Duke!

You Tube Video

Comments

  1. admin  August 8, 2011

    The cutoff is just a bit further up the road toward Telluride, on the opposite side of the road.

  2. Bill  August 22, 2011

    Well we wrapped up our trip, didn’t get to see the Ranch or McAlesters due to time, did see the all the rest though. The meadow does indeed have a lot of skunk cabbage this year and is a bit damp in places near the stream. Lotsa cow-pies ! Beautiful nonetheless. I love this area between Durango and Ridgway…the folk in the True Grit Cafe were super. Thanks again for your page and video.

    So as I understand it Ridgway no longer hosts True Grit Days ? Anyone know what happened ?

  3. admin  August 23, 2011

    Glad you found the field, it’s in a beautiful spot! And yes, the folks over at True Grit Cafe are great! According to my sources in Ridgway, it’s just a bit expensive to continue putting on True Grit Days, so it’s been shelved for now…

  4. Cleve Koon  September 10, 2011

    I loved it, gave me all the information i was looking for. Thank you very much. Keep up the good work. I have been to a lot of the Duke’s early movie locations. Cleve

  5. Perry Giles  September 12, 2011

    I traveled to Ouray and Ridgway in this summer after carefully studying your website. We went to see Deb’s Meadow and the Sleeping Rock. We had a little picnic at the Sleeping Rock at Owl Creek Pass. Being at Deb’s Meadow was like a pilgrimage for me. I just loved being there at the actual site of Rooster’s big shootout. We also went to see the Ross ranch home place but I didn’t jump the fence because they had lots of signs up. I found the Lone Pine tree on horsefly mesa but could not find the McAlester’s store. That was disappointing. How far is it from the lone pine tree? Maybe I didn’t go far enough north up the county road from the pine tree?

    I spent a good bit of time in Ridgway checking out all the film sites. Lunch at the True Grit was great for a John Wayne fan like myself. Thank you so much for putting all this leg work in which enabled me to find these places. It was a vacation that I will never forget.

  6. admin  September 13, 2011

    Hey, glad you had such a great time. If I remember right, the pine tree is just up the road from the McAlesters spot. Literally, less than 100 yards. The turn in for McAlesters is a faint dirt trail to the left before you reach the pine tree. You know you’ve found it when you see the old cabin that has fallen and there’s an old corral hidden in the back in a grove of aspen. It was easier to spot back before the cabin fell because you could see the cabin from the road…so glad you were able to find most everything!

  7. Joan Cron  September 13, 2011

    Thank you so much. While camping at Ridgway Reservoir with my husband and son, and shortly after viewing the Cohen Brothers’ movie, I thought, “Wouldn’t going to all the ‘True Grit’ sites make a great tour for the Museum I work for.” My husband thought it was a lousy idea, so naturally I pitched it to my boss thinking he would assign it to one of the curators or historians. He thought it was a great idea, but he assigned it to the bookkeeper, me, and your You Tube video turned out to be an indespensable resource. However, we could not find that lone pine no matter how hard we looked. We had some blurry shots from the movie and the mountains were right, but no tree. We cursed that we didn’t have GPS coordinates, and since Horsefly Mesa is largely private we really didn’t want to bug the residents too much. We’ll see if the tour flies, but I would have had no chance without your help.

  8. admin  September 13, 2011

    That pine tree is really only noticeable if you are coming BACK the way you came. In the paragraph of this article I list the GPS coordinates for the pine tree. Did you try those coordinates? If you drive up the road after turning off off Hwy 62, you don’t notice it as much. However, if you come BACK down the road like you are heading back to Hwy 62, you will see it. It literally is the only pine tree in a forest of small aspen. Hopefully it hasn’t been struck by lightning. I will be up there again in 2 weeks. You may use my photos of the tree from this page if you need them. I’m glad you had a good time!

  9. Perry Giles  September 13, 2011

    The pine tree was there at the end of July and doing just fine, I parked about 100 yards north of it and walked off the toward the east (the dry ravine) looking for any sign of McAlester’s store. Can you tell me again how far from the pine tree and in what direction is McAlester’s? I have looked for the fallen building and corral on Google Maps and cannot locate it.

  10. admin  September 15, 2011

    Yeah, the building is too small to show up on Google Earth, I think. It was maybe 8×10 feet, pretty small, and it’s just a collapsed roof now. the corral is hidden by the trees. If I remember correctly, it is on the side of the Pine Tree that is CLOSEST to Hwy 62, so coming from Hwy 62, and turning up onto the mesa, you come to McAlesters FIRST, then the Pine Tree. There’s a curve to the left in the road, and then as it begins to straighten out, the turnoff is a faint trail to te left, into an open field. You turn and there’s a slight rise, which is why it might be hard to locate it…it is just slightly higher than the road. Once you take the trail you will see the cabin on your left and then the hitching post on your right. following that trail back into the field you will see the corral and an aspen grove.

  11. Perry Giles  September 15, 2011

    I don’t know how you ever located that. I studied Google satelite pictures for hours and could not find it. They show every aspen tree there. Maybe next time… It gives me an excuse to go back. I would love to see Deb’s Meadow when the aspen trees were turning.

  12. Bill  September 25, 2011

    I have now re-watched the movie again after having been to these locations and noticed a few details that I had not before, and also a few puzzles. The scene where Rooster and Mattie chat on the street corner, behind them you can clearly see a storefront marked Ridgway Market, as well as power lines. The entire courthouse exterior in the movie that sits to the left of the Fire House and to the right of the True Grit Cafe was built just for the film ? So if I’m correct the majority of the interior shots were all the Ouray courthouse, the exteriors were all the Ridgway movie built version. There must have been enough inside the fake building for a few rooms/ sets to film the entering/ leaving scenes- when they walk in and out the view outside through the doorway is clearly not the street scene in Ouray, but the view looking out across the Ridgway park. Also found it interesting that in the shots looking back down the street towards Rt 62 ( towards the Cafe wall and south down the valley towards Ouray ) that there is really nothing but scenery in the film shot, where in reality there are a number of buildings that should have been there at the time- I wonder how they did that.

  13. Rich  September 26, 2011

    After viewing your videos they inspired me to try it myself. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Anyway you can view them on Youtube – just search for “soonerbum.” My editing is a little amateurish yet but, hopefully, will improve with practice. Let me know what you think.

  14. admin  September 30, 2011

    Thanks for letting me know, I will check out your videos! Thanks for writing!

  15. David & Susan K. Johnson  January 10, 2012

    Thank you, so much, for putting all this together. Very well done!! As real John Wayne, and True Grit fans, my wife, and I took this “True Grit Trip” (and, elsewhere, in this part of Colorado), during the peak fall foliage, around 10/1/11. We thought it a shame, that, especially, at Katie’s Meadow, there was not some sort of memorial, to The Duke, and movie.
    I’m a semi-pro photog., so got a bunch of great fall shots, both “on location”, and elsewhere, in this part of Colorado. (Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a website, so I’ve just been emailing them around, to all our friends, in Colorado, and Texas. If anyone would like to see the pix, please email me, at davidkpar72@yahoo.com. I’ll try to respond.

  16. Bob Johnson  March 3, 2012

    Love the video! Will be there end of May – June and looking forward to visiting these sites. Question: Have you found the site of the cabin where they tried to ambush Ned and Dennis Hopper’s character got stabbed? Sort of a valley location w/ a stream running through it if memory serves. I’m sure it has to be around there somewhere. Just curious. Again, love your videos and appreciate the effort involved. I’m retired from the television production field, so I really do know the effort involved. I also know the genuine enjoyment of doing it. Congratulations on work well done.

  17. Alpine Paradise  May 25, 2012

    This is some great stuff, I have been giving Tours in the San Juans for well over 20 years, and a bit I might add, I have been to the Snake Pit, I used to find a Aspen Tree up on last $ Road that had carved ” John Wayne on Location 1968″ that has since disappeared and for some reason thought this located on Horse Fly was McCalister, but I may be wrong! http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.209043192515542.53681.197220750364453&type=3 Clay
    Where is the house/cabin that they smoked the bad guys out of????

  18. Carrin & Gary Pearce  June 9, 2012

    Found your videos just this week and Oh My God! Fabulous and inspiring. Have made the trip in Sept. several times from Georgia. RMNP, Maroon Bells, Ouray, and two years ago, finally got to Telluride! We love it and now have something to do between trips. Your videos are the next best thing and really convey your love for what you show and talk about. God bless you and oh, we love JD too!

  19. admin  June 12, 2012

    Thanks for your sweet note! I’m glad you’re enjoying the videos. I love that area so much!

  20. admin  June 12, 2012

    That’s really cool you found an Aspen tree with his name on it! The area I’m calling McAllister has not been officially confirmed by anyone that it’s the correct area, BUT it’s right next to that Lone Pine shot AND the mountains do indeed line up in the background, so I thought it was legit. I could be wrong though. The cabin scene was filmed in California.

  21. Lynn  June 25, 2012

    Great information ! You mentioned the route from 550 on C.R. 10 to Deb’s Meadow was a “dirt road”. We’ve done a little mountain pass exploring in the San Juans. Always in a 4WD. This time planning on taking a car. Can you tell me if C.R. 10 can be navigated in a car, or is it more of a “pass” ? IE. Can we get to Deb’s Meadow without “bottoming out” in a low slung automobile ? Thanks for the research

  22. admin  June 25, 2012

    You will have NO problem in a passenger car on Owl Creek Road. Very easy drive.

  23. mike  June 30, 2012

    I’m sorry to hear about the fires in your area. have you been affected or are you out of the path? Co. seems to be hard hit with fires this year.

  24. admin  July 2, 2012

    I am very close to the fires once they came into town. I was about 7 blocks away from evacuating. I can watch the flames and smoke from my house. I am safe now and just hoping for the continued safety of our firefighters. Thanks so much for thinking of me.

  25. Carol Ann  August 13, 2012

    I am such a True Grit Fan—I think I’ve watched the movie at least 30 times ( You’ve pushed that saucy too far)—-LOL— my favorite Glen Campbel line! Anyway—through the last 7 to 8 years I searched and found several locations from the movie and I have taken friends and family on the True Grit tour.
    Went again this last week and discovered another site—the scene where Mattie shoots Chaney then Lucky Ned Pepper comes up to see what the shooting is all about. I took a picture with mountains in backgroud—then compared it to movie—Bingo—the same
    I thought McCallisters was the ranch almost directly across from Last Dollar rd—the gate was always closed—but now I know that it is futher down past Last Dollar rd—so I can go see it the next time I’m over there. I was also happy to find out where the sleeping rock was—DARN—past it so many times!!!!!
    Thank You, Enjoyed your video so much

  26. Paul Ptack  September 16, 2012

    Thank you for all the info and video. Looking to move there soon and have share this with friends on facebook.

  27. Mike  September 17, 2012

    Hey, Its me again…….Dont mean to keep bugging you but I have a question you may be able to answer. I’ve searched the net and cant find the answer. Is Ophir pass one of those county roads that is closed seanonally? I ran across this info on Map Quest saying it is closed Oct 1st. Does that mean it is matter of factly CLOSED or just when it snows? I am planning on being in the area on Oct 8th but will change my route accordingly……Any help will greatly be appreciated.

  28. admin  September 17, 2012

    I don’t know if it closes every single year on that date..usually the roads close depending on the snow. You could contact the Forest Service and find out though. http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan Have a blast!

  29. T Berg  November 10, 2012

    The cabin scene was filmed on Hot Creek near Mammoth Lakes, CA with My. Morrison in the backgrtound.

  30. Scott Tucker kansas city  May 2, 2013

    Hey! I realize this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.

    Does operating a well-established blog like yours require a massive amount work?
    I am completely new to running a blog but I do write in my diary on a
    daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

  31. Kevin Mikkelsen  May 11, 2013

    Hello! Here it is May already and I didn’t bother leaving you a post after we met on County road 5 last Fall. Of all places in Colorado you could be tooling around in your Jeep, we found you there! What are the odds? Glad we had a chance to meet and chat for a while. I’m thinking that I would like to see Colorado during the wildflower season this year. Do you know if the snow totals were above or below average last winter? I know Yankee Boy is a good choice and I have a couple of other locations near Silverton that look promising. Any recommendations? Thanks again for sharing all this great information that you have acquired over the years and allowing us ‘out of staters’ to spend more time enjoying the beauty of Colorado!
    Kevin

  32. Kevin Mikkelsen  May 11, 2013

    By the way…..we talked with the security officer at the Ouray County courthouse and he has a lot of personal knowledge and experience about the filming of True Grit. He was actually working with a company that provided security for the movie (and The Duke). He recounted an episode when he was able to meet and speak with John while he stayed in Montrose during filming.
    I can’t remember his name, but he was still working at the courthouse last Fall and is probably still there. His first hand accounts were amazing! If you get in the area I suggest you stop by and see him.
    Kevin

  33. Perry Giles  July 16, 2013

    I am headed back up to the Ridgway area in a couple of weeks. Two years ago I went out and found the Lone Pine Tree but was never able to locate McAlesters place. Could you describe to me again? Is McAlesters past the Lone Pine Tree (to the north of it) or before it (to the south).

    Thank you, sorry to bother.

  34. Allan  July 19, 2013

    Your website is a very well thought-out resources for guys like me who like to visit film sites from memorable movies! We were just up there a couple of days ago (from Colorado Springs) but must have missed something major, because we never did find Deb’s Meadow. The only GPS we have right now is in our I-phones, which of course have no service up there. We stayed on what we THOUGHT was Owl Creek Pass, but never saw a lot of the landmarks you mentioned. Headed back up in a couple of weeks to try again. Is there a not-so-obvious turnoff we might have missed?
    Thanks!!

  35. Perry Giles  July 20, 2013

    Nevermind, I just found it on Google Maps. The two old buildings and the corral are clearly visible. They are north of the Lone Pine Tree by about a quarter mile. I hope to check it out in about 10 days. Thanks again for posting all this information!

  36. admin  July 22, 2013

    If you go up Owl Creel from Ridgway, about one mile from the summit of Owl Creek, there is a meadow on your left. If you reach the summit, you’ve gone to far. As you are driving up the road, Courthouse Mountain (the one featured in the shootout scene behind Robert Duvall in that one scene) gets so close you feel like you could touch it. Every time you round a curve it gets closer. finally, you round a curve and the meadow is on your left and Courthouse Mountain is now only seen from that meadow. You can camp in Deb’s Meadow. There is a circular drive you can pull through and park a camper or put a tent there. The actual field is surrounded by a split rail fence so you cant’ drive on the field any more. The summit has a summit sign and a pull in and parking area. That is where Sleeping Rock is. Sleeping Rock is RIGHT by the road. Literally 5 feet from the road. You can’t miss it. Pull in at the summit sign and you’ll see it. You just have to walk around it to see it from the perspective they used in the movie. But yeah, if you get to the summit and haven’t seen the meadow, you’ve missed it. Just turn back around and head back down like you’re going to Ridgway and it’s literally 2 minutes down the road. Good luck!

  37. admin  July 22, 2013

    Ok, I’m glad you found it because I couldn’t remember which one came first on the road. LOL But yes, they are SUPER close together and you have to be traveling back the way you came, in order to really notice the Lone Pine. It’s not so noticeable going out, but once you turn around and come BACK, you see it, because then you’re looking at it from the perspective that the scene was shot. Have fun!

  38. Perry Giles  July 22, 2013

    I have to see the McAlister site to complete my True Grit pilgrimage of two years ago. I was so close last time but turned around before I got there. Also I need to go across Deb’s meadow to the camp site next to the irrigation ditch “creek” and see where Glen Campbell shot his turkey. Watching the movie again, I believe there is another scene where Deb’s Meadow is in the background. When Rooster is about drunk on horseback and says that he looking for sign, I think that Deb’s Meadow may be in the background. There appears to be a bald rise on the NE side of the meadow.

  39. Perry Giles  July 22, 2013

    I suggest to Allan that you buy yourself a county map next time. The are several forks in the road on the way up the Owl Creek Pass. A good old fashion paper map can help you make take all the correct turns. Deb’s Meadow was the highlight of my trip two years ago… Never felt so close to the Duke as when I walked out to where his horse went down… Another guy that I didn’t know walked out there and asked me what I was looking at. After I explained it to him, he got all excited and ran back to his car to tell his wife. Then he came back with his camera… I think there should be a monument there.

  40. admin  July 24, 2013

    Yes, there was a bald rise and it’s still there, you can climb up it, but it’s sort of steep. It’s also marshy to get over to it most months. But you wlil see it right away as you look toward the field and then turn to about 2 o’clock.

  41. admin  July 24, 2013

    I agree, I think a monument on the side of the road would be fantastic. That way people won’t miss it if they’re looking for it. They’ve already go that fence to keep cars from going onto the field, so it should not get any more “trashed” just because they are publicizing it. However, it would fall to the town of Ridgway to do it, I believe, and they don’t have the funds for something like that, I doubt.

  42. Bill  August 20, 2013

    Well, after some sleuthing I think I have derived the Ferry Crossing scene location on Blue Mesa Reservoir. I matched up the scene backgrounds, took note of the sun position relative to the water, and narrowed down the possibilities. I had seen some info claiming it was the Soap Creek arm of the reservoir, and indeed using Google Earth pointed to 38°31’12.49″ N 107°18’03.29″ W and using the eye level perspective you can line up the cliffs pretty close to the scene where Rooster and LaBoeuf ride up to the ferry. ( the ferry crossed Soap Creek from West to East ). I do not know if every shot in that sequence was in that area.

    While the reservoir levels have gone up and down over the years leaving only the surrounding scenery, in January 1968- January 1969 the lake level was 7430-7500 feet, a recent lake level was 7467 feet, so depending on time of year it may actually be lower than when True Grit was filmed.

  43. Devon Leesley  September 26, 2013

    The park in Ridgway was also used in How the West Was Won my all time favorite movie. Also the shoot out scene for True Grit was used in HWWW.

  44. Brian Hettinger  December 16, 2013

    WOW !! What can I say except , thank you, thank you. My wife and I drove out to Colorado from Indiana this past June and July. Specifically for seeing these sites. We camped at Ridgway Reservoir . A beautiful park all in itself. We used the info you provided to locate all of the sites. Chen Lee’s, Deb’s Meadow, Ross Ranch,the Lone Pine Tree…….where we enjoyed a picnic lunch, McAlester’s Store and on and on. The drive to Owl’s Creek Pass took longer than I thought it might. A truly breath-taking drive though. As you mentioned, Sleeping Rock is RIGHT beside the road. We didn’t drive any further past there though. We turned and headed back after a long day of sight seeing. We too spoke with the reserve sheriff’s deputy that worked security during the filming. He enjoyed reliving that experience as much as we enjoyed listening. The original Ouray County Courthouse is a delight to see. Standing on the same steps as the Duke did was a moving experience. We were even allowed to go into the courtroom where the proceedings took place since court was in session at the time. The same court room seats were still there ! It truly was a very memorable trip. We returned to Indiana by heading to Wyoming to see The Tetons and Yellowstone, then across to the Black Hills and Mt Rushmore. This route afforded us to be able to stop at Winterset, Iowa . The trip was made complete by visiting John Wayne’s birthplace. Lots of pictures and lots of great memories. Thank you again.
    p.s. It was sad to see all the fire damage again this year. We went to Royal Gorge on the way. Very disheartening. God bless you and take care.

  45. admin  December 16, 2013

    Sounds like you had an amazing experience. I’m so glad you were able to find everything! For a Duke fan, it is definitely a thrill to find the locations and recognize the landmarks; imagine how much fun I had the first time I found them, some of them completely by accident :) Thanks for writing and happy holidays!

  46. Brian  December 17, 2013

    Happy Holidays to you as well.
    I’m sorry I was so long winded before, I just had to thank you for the work you put into your video.
    I’m sure we’ll return to these locations as I have a brother that would also love to see them.
    Again, thank you and Merry Christmas !!

  47. Tom  January 23, 2014

    For those interested in more information about the cabin where Rooster, Mattie, and Lebouef ambushed Dennis Hopper, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB0dE89KBac&feature=youtu.be

    What really interesting about this spot is that it was also used for the filming of scenes from North to Alaska and Nevada Smith.

    BTW, thanks very much to Jeepstergal for the great video on True Grit locations. It is one of the best of its kind I have ever seen, including professional documentaries on commercial DVDs and Blu-rays.

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