History & Heritage

Weathered by snowy winters and sunny summers, but preserved by local storytellers and curators, a collection of cultural and economic artifacts and sites awaits your exploration around Ridgway, Colorado.

True Grit, filmed in Ridgway Colorado

On The Big Screen

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. The rugged peaks, steep canyons, rustic mine buildings and ghost towns of the San Juan Mountains make you feel as though you are still in the Old West of the American frontier. Hollywood filmmakers have always thought so too. Thus, the Ridgway area has served as settings for several classic western movies. Many film sites, buildings, props and embellishments may still be seen in and around our town.

Western Movie

  • True Grit Ridgway Colorado
    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.
    More movie details

    Interested in True Grit walking tours? Click for info.

  • Tribute to a Bad Man Ridgway Colorado
    Tribute to a Bad Man (1957) – filmed just south of Ridgway on Miller Mesa on the old Walther ranch, near Top of the Pines and the Elk Meadows mailboxes on County Road 5. Written by Jack Schaefer, who also wrote the classic westerns Shane and Monte Walsh. Directed by Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Andromeda Strain, The Day the Earth Stood Still). Originally to star Spencer Tracy, Tracy hated southwestern Colorado and Wise fired him and replaced him with James Cagney. This was Cagney’s last western.
  • How the West Was Won Ridgway Colorado
    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.
  • Sons of Katie Elder Ridgway Colorado
    The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) – While this film was not filmed in the immediate Ridgway area (a bit was shot on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad near Durango), it is based on the lives of George and Charley Marlow, who lived in Ridgway and the Colona area from 1890 to about 1920 and maintained strong ties to the area until their deaths in the early 1940s. While in this area they were respected ranchers and served as lawmen for about 10 years. The portion of their life story that became the movie took place in western Texas in 1888 to 1889, and their real-life story is much more dramatic than the movie. They have many descendants in the area.
    Discover more in our film brochure: The True Story of The Sons of Katie Elder
Dennis Weaver Ridgway Colorado

Dennis Weaver: Actor & Local Hero

Billy Dennis Weaver (June 4, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an Emmy Award-winning American actor, best known for his work in television, including roles on “Gunsmoke”, as Marshal Sam McCloud on the NBC police drama “McCloud” and in Steven Spielberg’s feature-length directorial debut, the cult TV movie “Duel”, in 1971. Dennis Weaver, actor, humanitarian, and pioneer environmentalist, was an inspiration to many of the townspeople of Ridgway, well known for his kindness and generosity. His late wife, Gerry, was also known for her generosity and support of many important causes in the community, as well as for her natural ability as an entertainer. Their sons, Rusty and Rick, still live in the area. 

The beautiful Dennis Weaver Memorial Park was dedicated on August 25, 2007, with family, friends, and townspeople joining in the celebration. For a park map and information on the Eagle Memorial, stop by the Ridgway Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center at the corner of Hwy. 550 and Hwy. 62 or visit www.dennisweaverpark.com. Learn more about Dennis Weaver and his contributions to Ridgway, Colorado.

You may also be interested in...

Poetry, Lectures & Films

Whatever your interest or passion, local theaters are sure to present a performance or film to match it! The Sherbino...

Mountain Girl Gallery

The Mountain Girl Gallery features unique handmade art from four local woman. Inspirational ceramics, artisanal...

Wright Opera House

For decades, the Wright Opera House has provided high quality entertainment and culture. With the Friends at the helm...

River Stone Jazz

Yasuo “Yaz” Ishikawa performs traditional jazz on alto and tenor sax. Prepared with a strong repertoire of jazz...

Community Theater

Community theater is an important part of our culture in Ridgway and Ouray County with many venues offering a variety...

More things to do in Ridgway

Sign Up To Receive Updates

We occasionally send info on things of interest happening in and around Ridgway, Colorado. We dislike spam as much as you, and ensure that your information is not share, traded or otherwise given away. Likewise, we provide an opt-out in every email.

Visitors Center & Ridgway Area Chamber

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The chamber operates the Visitors Center, which is open from May 1 through October 1 and is located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62).

Mailing address: P.O. Box 544, Ridgway, Colorado 81432


2018 Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce. View sitemap
Managed by Peak Media Company LLC

Visitors Center and Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce is organized to achieve the objectives of promoting business and community growth and development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The Visitors Center is located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of Sherman Street/Highway 62).

Mailing address: P.O. Box 544, Ridgway, Colorado 81432


Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce. Managed by Peak Media Company LLC

Welcome to Ridgway

Extra Info

The Grammy Awards, presented to music industry superstars each year, are made in Ridgway by local artist and musician John Billings and his crew at Billings Artworks gallery and foundry.

Plan your trip
  • Elevation: 6.985'
  • Population: 932 (2013)
  • Sunshine: 300 days / year
  • Summer Temps: 82º / 55º F
  • Winter Temps: 45º / 6º F

Background image graciously supplied by Nature's Finest Images

See you in Ridgway

Adventure, night life and all around easy living await you in Ridgway Colorado, gateway to the San Juan Mountains.