Katie’s Meadow (sometimes called Debbie’s Meadow or Deb’s Meadow), with Chimney Rock in the background, is the site of one of the most memorable scenes from True Grit. This is the location of the climactic showdown between Rooster Cogburn and the outlaws, where Robert Duvall taunts John Wayne by shouting “I call that big talk for a one-eyed fat man!”. Wayne replies, “Fill your hand you son-of-a-bitch!”, takes the reins in his teeth and charges across the meadow with both guns blazing.
True Grit begins and ends at the family ranch of young Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), which was filmed at a historic home on Last Dollar Road above Ridgway. In the final scene, John Wayne jumps his horse over a fence and rides off into the distance. The ranch house is very run down but the scenery around it hasn’t changed much and is as gorgeous as it was then.
The captivating beauty of Ridgway, Ouray and surrounding areas has attracted a number of production companies making movies, documentaries and commercials. More than 100 films have been made in southwestern Colorado.
2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of True Grit, for which John Wayne won his only Academy Award. The first annual Ridgway Old West Fest in 2019, celebrated Ridgway Colorado's brief transformation into Fort Smith, Arkansas, for the filming of True Grit.
Be sure to visit the John Wayne themed True Grit Cafe, also on the West side of the Park. Don’t miss the actor and movie memorabilia and a sign painted for the film, which reads “Chamber’s Staple & Fancy Groceries – Fruits & vegetables”. This was an exterior wall that was preserved when the restaurant was built around it!
In an ongoing effort to promote our local businesses and organizations, the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to introduce our September 2020 Member of the Month:
Ouray County Ranch History Museum
Spectacular scenery around our charming Colorado town, at the foot of the San Juan Mountains, caught the attention of the director of the film True Grit, starring John Wayne as the one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. In 6 weeks in 1969, the film crew turned 5 blocks of the center of this old railroad town into 1880’s Fort Smith, Arkansas.
True Grit (filmed summer and fall, 1968) – When Charles Portis’ novel was published early in 1968, John Wayne received a pre-publication copy and directed his son to buy the movie rights for their Batjac production company. The Waynes lost out to Paramount, who immediately hired Wayne to play the part of Rooster Cogburn.
The Ridgway Chamber offers a one-hour True Grit Movie Walking Tour, which departs every Friday at 11 a.m. from the Ridway Visitors Center (May through October). For reservations, call 970.626.5181. The fee is $10 for adults and free for children under 12.