Unless you are very young, you’ve probably seen a quite a few Western movies when growing up. And while for many people these tales of bank robbers, cowboys and beautiful tavern maids were just a way to pass an idle afternoon or evening, there are more than enough die-hard fans of the Western genres who would give an arm and a leg for Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western hat. If you’re a fan of the Wild West in all its gritty glory, there’s more you can do than buy movie props on e-bay – you can go and visit some travel destinations that even after all these years still have the unmistakable mood of a western film. Here are 5 destinations for the Wild West enthusiast.
Museum of the American West, Los Angeles, California
The Autry National Center celebrates the history, culture and diversity of the American West through three institutions, among which the supremely enjoyable Museum of the American West. You will find information and exhibits about the first settlers of the West, the creation and evolution of rodeo, and all sorts of objects that no western fan can resist: prototype Colt revolvers, gold rush memorabilia and others.
Alabama Hills and Lone Pine, California
Fans of Clint Eastwood’s western films in particular will probably remember Alabama Hills as the setting of several of his movies, but hundreds of western films used the rugged Alabama Hills as a backdrop. The unmistakable rock formations are a must-see, but after that you can take a trip to the sleepy town of Lone Pine and visit Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History where you can immerse yourself in the history of western movie-making.
Old Tucson Studios, Tucson, Arizona
If you’ve seen any western films in your life, then you can’t escape the feeling of deja vu when visiting the Old Tuscon Studios where hundreds of films were made. The studio is still working, but it is also a huge tourist attraction. The town is exceptionally realistic, and there are mock gunfights and bank robberies put on for the benefit of visitors.
Dodge City, Kansas
A fan of the Wild West and western movie would have to try really hard to get bored in Dodge City, the hometown of famus lawman Wyatt Earp. In the city center there’s a partial reconstruction of Dodge City as it existed in the 1870′s (complete with functional saloon and variety show). Other places of interest include the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Sante Fe Trail Remains, and the Boot Hill Museum.
St. Elmo, Colorado
St Elmo was settled at the peak of the gold and silver mining rush in Colorado, but when the hype died down the town was slowly abandoned. In its glory days, St Elmo had a post office, a telegraph office, dancehalls, saloons and general stores, most of which are very well preserved to this day. Although officially St Elmo is a ghost town, it is not uninhabited, considering that it is open for tourism all year round.