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 in the Deschutes National Forest was one of the scenic backdrops for Wayne’s and Hepburn’s constant bickering scenes. The wetland just south of Dillon Falls is on public land. At Sparks Lake, also in the National Forest near the crest of the central Cascade Range, a prominent scree is the place where Rooster revealed that his real name is Reuben.
Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne was the setting for a saloon scene with the bad guys: the building at the park entrance was built as a set for the movie, it portrayed „Kate’s Saloon“. Smith Rock is a world renowned rock-climbing destination, known as the birthplace of American sport climbing. When the outlaw gang is trying to follow Rooster’s raft, they jump from cliff to cliff on the steep face at Crooked River.
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.
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