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EXPLORE AMERICA: J.W. Eaves Movie Ranch

Walk right into a Western at the J. W. Eames Movie Ranch

Have you always wanted to know what it was like to pretend to be a sheriff at high noon? Now’s your chance. Walk down the dusty street and turn around fast on 12 paces and give it your best pretend quick draw. This time you pretend to be the bad guy and you give it your best fake cowboy death, right in the street. Black hat falling off into the dust. You are the winner? Go kiss the girl and ride off into the sunset. Suddenly, you are not a tourist in a souvenir T-shirt, Bermuda shorts, camera, white socks, sandals and fanny pack. Oh, no, you are all Gary Cooper, silent, strong you just returned justice to the mean streets of Tombstone. Go on, do it. No one here will every see you again. I bet you are the first one to give a try. Now’s the time to have your moment of Western truth.

This moment of Western Hollywood fantasy and many others were brought about by Jesse Willard Eaves. He purchased the land south of Santa Fe in 1958 and by the early 1960s it had become a popular spot for shooting movies and commercials. What really got the cameras rolling though was in 1969 Gene Kelly asked Jesse Willard to make a whole Western town for a movie. This opened the door for many more Westerns to be made including “”Silverado””, “”Easy Rider””, “”Lonesome Dove”” and “”Young Guns””. The movie ranch is still used as a film set and can also be used for special events.

J. W. Eaves Movie Ranch is located at 105 Rancho Alegre Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Telephone (505) 474-3045. http://eavesmovieranch.com/

Photo credit: ©Rand McNally/Brett Gover

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