Rooster Cogburn was in production in Oregon from September 5 to October 30, 1974. Wayne and Katherine Hepburn began their first collaborative film in Bend. West of town, in the Deschutes County, they shot all the mountain scenes. During the Bend location, cast and crew stayed in the town named Sunriver .
The Ryan Ranch Meadow was the scenic backdrop for "Fort Ruby". Here comes Rooster, arriving after the Hawk gang raided the settlement.
The Ryan Ranch Meadow in the Deschutes National Forest as it is today, unchanged for 50 years. The wetland just south of Dillon Falls is on public land.
This beautiful vista of Mount Bachelor is seen in the credits of the film. It was actually shot at...
...at Sparks Lake, also in the National Forest near the crest of the central Cascade Range. This picture was taken 50 years after the Rooster Cogburn shooting. Note the tree.
In the scene where Rooster revealed that his real name is Reuben, notice the large volcano rocks. The Cascades are primarily composed of volcanic igneous rock.
Several Rooster Cogburn scenes involving the nitro wagon where shot close in Shevlin Park (because the company was able to move the wagon on paved roads that lead through the park), which is close to Bend. The movie company left one reminder behind: a marker on this fishing lodge in the park informs that they movie makers, in lieu of paying the filming fees for utilizing Shevlin Park, paid for the restoration of this cottage.
Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne was mainly reserved for the bad guys's scenes. The setting for a western town with saloon scene was erected at the park entrance...
...exactly here. It's actually the first campground before you enter Smith Rock State Park.
Paul Koslo and the bunch arrive at Smith Rock State Park...
...that's another angle at the campground.
The location of Anthony Zerbe's knife fight on the wagon: the River Trail along the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park.
Note the distinctive form of the little rock in the middle of the picture - you will recognize it in the Rooster Cogburn knife fight. Smith Rock is a world renowned rock-climbing destination, known as the birthplace of American sport climbing. Its locations where also used for the western "The Way West".
Rooster Cogburn and the Lady shoot the rapids: this exciting sequence, combining daring stunt work with excellent insert shots of Wayne and Hepburn, was shot at...
...Benham Falls, the rapids of the Deschutes River located between Sunriver and Bend, Oregon. With a pitch of 22.5°, they are rated Class 5 for watercraft, and are the largest falls on the upper Deschutes. Use the Benham West trailhead and you'll find out why the movie company used this river: they were able to easily place the camera along the path to shoot up and down the rapids.
If you follow the trail all the way to the top, you'll get to the pleateau where Kirk Douglas had the cavalry fort Kirk Douglas constructed for The Indian Fighter, subsequently known as Fort Benham.
While the whitewater rapids were shot on the Deschutes River, for the calmer river scenes they moved to the Rogue River in the Josephine and Curry counties, west of Grants Pass, Oregon.
A mural painting of a stagecoach painted on the side of a brick building in Grants Pass, Oregon. Note that the passenger has a big resemblance with an outlaw called The Ringo Kid.
John Wayne returned to Grant's Pass and Oregon once more. When Great Western Savings gave him editorial control over their commercials, he choose to shoot the first one on the ranch of his friend Chick Iverson, at Grants Pass. It was filmed on October 25, 1977.
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All pictures posted on this website are from the collection of the author, unless otherwise noted