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How the West Was Won

Debbie Reynolds in How the West Was Won
How the West Was Won (1962) – Ridgway’s Hartwell Park, Cow Creek, and the Katie’s Meadow (Debbie’s meadow) areas used by director Henry Hathaway, who later used the same areas for True Grit. The meadow was used for the scene where wagon master Robert Preston proposes to Debbie Reynolds.


  • Release: November 1, 1962
  • Duration: 164 Minutes
  • Distributed: MGM
  • Genre: Western

Production Team

  • Director: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall
  • Producer: Bernard Smith
  • Written by: James R. Webb
  • Based on True Grit by Charles Portis


  • Carroll Baker
  • Walter Brennan
  • Lee J. Cobb
  • Andy Devine
  • Henry Fonda
  • Carolyn Jones
  • Karl Malden
  • Agnes Moorehead
  • Harry Morgan
  • Gregory Peck
  • George Peppard
  • Robert Preston
  • Debbie Reynolds
  • Thelma Ritter
  • James Stewart
  • Eli Wallach
  • John Wayne
  • Richard Widmark

Movie Locations

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.

Old Rio Grande Southern Railroad Depot

The Old Rio Grande Southern Railroad depot is now a private residence located on Railroad Street across from the tennis courts. It starred as the Independence Hotel in How the West Was Won.

Mattie Ross's Ranch House

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.

Please respect the boundaries of this private property but by all means, pull over and snap a few photos! To reach the Ranch, leave Ridgway going West on Hwy 62, and drive over Dallas Divide, which is one of the most photographed locations in Colorado! The left turn on Last Dollar Road (58P), approximately 11 miles from Ridgway, is clearly marked. Stay on this good gravel road for 2.5 miles from the turn off and the ranch will be on the right side of the road. In the winter, the road is not maintained beyond this point.