This past weekend, Ghost Host Andy Lindberg and myself (DKC) traveled to the Wallowa Whitman National Forest to visit the filming site of “Paint Your Wagon.” PYW is approaching its 50th anniversary, and we will be assisting Oregon Film with a viewing of the movie at the Hollywood Theater in Portland on November 16th, 2017 at 7:00pm. Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to benefit the Baker Heritage Museum, and Kick Ass Oregon History will have a podcast on the subject in the beginning of November.
The site we camped at was the location of the set of No Name City, the fictional California gold rush town that Paramount built in the mountains. It is on the east fork of Eagle Creek, just above where it intersects with Jack Creek. In the “climax” of the film, No Name City collapses into the mud due to the over exuberant strip mining that the protagonists undertake.
When you visit the site today, 49 years later, you can still see evidence of the massive and impressive sets that were built. They aren’t directly in front of your face, but if you get up to go pee at night – you might want to bring a flashlight or possibly get impaled on some rusty, 50 year old rebar…
We thought we might share some of the images with you, as there just aren’t too many photos of the site on the interwebs.
Here is one striking example. This section is maybe 30 to 40 feet long, and almost falling down into Eagle Creek…
You can see the cinder block construction has started to break down over the years, and this section of the set was likely underground, at the time of construction, and (more) recently exposed by bank erosion. Again, there is the rusty rebar that appears here and there out of the ground at the site.
Here is a more detailed shot of the materials at the left end of the image.
Just so you have a geographic reference, here is a larger shot of the scene. The yellow arrow is pointing down at the end of the cinder block wall, pictured above. You can see the curve of the bank erosion in the image.
It was also interesting to see some of the applied facing on the inside of some of these cinder block walls – there is a red stucco type of material, with rocks strategically placed into the mix to give it a more natural “tunnel look,” me thinks.
Here is a shot of the same type of set that has fallen down into Eagle Creek.
Now for reference, we have pulled a few screen shots from the film. While these are not the exact locations from the above images (some were likely filmed on a sound stage in LA), none-the-less, it gives you a good idea of how these set constructions would have appeared in the film…
Here is Lee Marvin drinking in the tunnel.
And here is a shot of the bull tear assing through the same tunnels. You can see the fake rocks in the stucco.
And here is a shot of the “tunnel” on the set of No Name City. From viewing the film, it looks like there were several of these around the site.
Here is Lee Marvin and “The Parson” exiting the collapsed tunnel. Again, you can see the finish with the fake rock embedded…
We had a great time camping at the site and so much much fun exploring these still somewhat visible man-made constructions. Hope you will enjoy the podcast, and a HUGE Thank YOU to this podcast’s sponsors – Oregon Film, Dogwood Distilling, pFriem Beer, Trailhead Coffee, and the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City. We hope to see you at the Hollywood on 11/16/2017. We hear tell that LEE MARVIN’s PANTS will be on display!