This summer, Disney released its big budget blockbuster, The Lone Ranger. The film is, of course, a remake of the 1960s television series – which was actually based on an earlier radio show. The plot revolves around a Texas Ranger and his American Indian sidekick, Tonto, as they fight crime in the Old West. To create the world of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, played by Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp respectively, Disney production units filmed in several Southwestern states, including Utah.
Some of the large, sweeping desert landscapes come from places like Angel Fire, New Mexico. The scenes during the climactic train race were filmed in Durango, Colorado. But a large portion of the shots came direct from Monument Valley, Utah. Including the opening scenes of “Tonto’s story” – the one where they have a discussion about the pros and cons of wearing a mask. Then they rob a bank.
When choosing the filming locations of the The Lone Ranger Disney often returned to Utah. The “spirit scene” when the Lone Ranger stands on the rickety old platform overlooking a canyon, was filmed in Dead Horse State Park. Dead Horse is one of our favorite state parks, if you’re in Utah, you should check it out. (Indecently, it is also the filming location for the end of Thelma and Louise.)
Several shots were filmed in Moab, Utah and the nearby Arches National Park. Since the production teams wanted something amazing in the background of each shot, the Moab region ends up all throughout the film.
The Calvary charge against an Indian tribe – where Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp are buried in the sand – was filmed in Professor Valley, also near Moab. Which may surprise readers since the background is a forested valley. However, this demonstrates how diverse the scenery of Utah can be. Drive any direction for an hour and you will see something new and amazing.
Regarldless of what you think of the The Lone Ranger, the amazing backdrop of this off-kilter adventure is sure to please.