Where Was Silverado Filmed?

Where Was Silverado Filmed

First shown in cinemas in 1985, the journey of Emmett’s (Scott Glenn) long journey towards Silverado has become one of the most prolific movies in American Western cinema. 

The film is a remake of John Ford’s 1939 classic Stagecoach, which starred Henry Fonda and John Wayne.

The original movie had been remade twice before: once in 1951 with Spencer Tracy as Doc Holliday, and again in 1956 with James Stewart as Wyatt Earp. 

Silverado has gone on to win multiple awards, including being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and winning the Golden Globe Award for best picture – musical or comedy.

The plot begins with Emmett Dalton escaping from Mexican soldiers, crossing the Mexican border near Arizona.

While he is eventually captured and taken to the town of San Miguel de Allende, there he meets two other passengers who all escape together to find medical help for Emmett, and eventually end up in small mining settlement Silverado where even more western standoffs and action takes place. 

The film features a great cast of rather unconventional characters, including some outlaws who are more lighthearted and goofy than audiences would usually expect in the declining years of westerns.

For western enthusiasts, Silverado still ranks up there with some of the most prolific and memorable movies out in recent times, and a partial reason for this is the acres of beautiful and rugged landscape we see surrounding the actors and especially during gunfights. 

In fact, the scenery is so good that it has made it into several films, such as Tombstone, Unforgiven, and Django Unchained. 

To get a closer look into the locations used in Silverado and utilized by many others films after, we have compiled the primary locations below, along with the memorable scenes featured in them. 

Here’s the best guide for all Western lovers!

Where Was Silverado Filmed

Cook Ranch

Most of Silverado was actually shot on a set known as ‘Cook Ranch’ located in New Mexico, also known as Cerro Pelon Ranch.

When planning the locations of the film in 1984, Lawrence and his brother Mark Kasdan were scouting for locations in New Mexico to build a township set which would become known as ‘Silverado’ in the film. 

The area had wide open space and was perfect for staging some of the early action scenes of the movie, it is also close to Albuquerque which is where the main character was said to live.

The ranch can be spotted in the opening scene of the film when Emmett first arrives there, and we get introduced to the character.

This location is also known as the ‘Baldy’ Ranch because of its large bald mountain range.

The set itself is actually still largely intact, with more than one Hollywood production going on to use it for its sandy environment and spacious aesthetic.

Some of these high profile features include Young Guns II, Cowboys and Aliens, and even more recently 2011’s Thor that can be spotted near the end of the film when Thor is in the diner.

The ranch also was set up and built to resemble four different states in one, giving it aspects from all over America and really adding to the epic western tale the movie tells.

Silverado Mine

Silverado Mine

When Emmett finally reaches the mine itself, he finds his fellow travelers already waiting for him.

The mine is located in the mountains in the Sierra Madre Mountains near the city of Chihuahua, Mexico. It is real and actually called the Silverado Mine, and although not technically open to the public, you can visit it today. 

The mine is now owned by the state government and is open to tourists, but only if they are accompanied by a guide.

The mine is located about an hour and half drive south of the city of Chihuahua, and is easily accessible via car or bus.

During filming, the mine was closed off to visitors, and the crew built their own set inside it. They then added fake rock walls and props to make it appear like a real mine, however it was later demolished once filming ended.

This location can be seen in the multiple scenes where Emmett enters the mine, with it actually playing a big part in the story line of the film, as it is here that Emmett meets the other members of the gang, including the leader who will become his mentor.

El Pueblito 

The El Pueblito ranch was used as the home base for the production team. The ranch was owned by Robert Redford’s father-in-law, and was used for the majority of the shooting.

The ranch itself is located in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, and is actually still standing today, however it is currently being used as a private residence so is unfortunately closed for any western fans to visit.

The name used for the setting actually shifted around a few times. It began as ‘La Puerta’ (the gate), then changed to ‘El Pueblito’ (the village).

The reason given for changing the name was actually because the ranch was considered too small to be a town.

El Pueblito features many western styled buildings, cathedrals and bars that would have given Lawrence, Mark and the rest of the production team some great inspiration to delve into the Western genre and try to raise it back to its prominence while it was declining through the 1980s.

Conclusion

Silverado was released at a time when Western cinema was waning and giving way to gritty crime dramas and popular sci-fi. 

However, despite this and it’s middling critical reception, Silverado was a commercial success upon its release and has been seen in hindsight as a western classic combining so many elements of the genre that made it great, and this includes the sandy wastelands and small towns that were utilized in the film to create a genuine cowboy atmosphere that works in its favor. 

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