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.
While not well known, Tribute to a Bad Man was a significant western. It was written by Jack Schaefer, who also wrote Shane and Monte Walsh and was directed by Robert Wise, who also directed The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Andromeda Strain and The Day the Earth Stood Still. James Cagney replaced leading man Spencer Tracy who was fired from the set and it was Cagney’s last western.
Tribute to a Bad Man was filmed on Miller Mesa at the historic Walther Ranch, which was homestead by George and Charles Marlow (of Katie Elder fame). The private ranch still features the Marlow’s original cabin.
To reach this area, go south on County Rd. 5 for 5 full miles from Amelia St. in Ridgway. Along the way you will pass the gate entrance of the Walther Ranch and at the end of the 5 miles, you will reach a large open area with stunning views of the Sneffels range: this is the general area where the ranch scenes were shot.
The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The Ridgway Visitor Center, located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62), will reopen from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. Hours of operation are Thursday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432