Where Was Red River Filmed? John Wayne’s Classic Western Drama!!


Are you looking for a classic black & white film like The Maltese Falcon? Well, then look no more, as today I will introduce you to a famous film that has stood the test of time, Red River. And also let you in on where was Red River filmed.

The American western drama film, Red River, released in 1948, was inspired by a magazine by Borden Chase, published 2 years prior to the film. In this film, director Howard Hawks masterfully presents the story of Thomas Dunson, a hardworking cattle rearer, planning to embark on a journey to Missouri. Although he encounters a number of challenges along the way when his enemies join hands to destroy his flourishing business.

Red River, was highly praised by audiences and critics upon its release. This classic drama film was nominated for a couple of awards, including 2 at the Oscars, and went on to win 4 prestigious awards. Commercially, Red River performed decently, grossing over $4 million in total box office revenue.

Now before I give you an overview of this film, let’s find out where was Red River filmed. So that you can enjoy the beautiful filming locations of this John Wayne starrer film.

Where Was Red River Filmed? Let’s Know This Western Drama Flick Closely!

Director Howard Hawks, who also pitched in as a producer of the film, wanted to shoot Red River, in the state of Texas all along. But due to the difference of opinion, regarding the choice of filming location with the other creative heads of the unit, the majority of the filming was done in Arizona. The production later added the state of California to the list of probable filming locations.

So after chalking out Arizona as the potential place to be used for filming, the production unit formed a special team to scout for the exact shooting locations. Soon, a bunch of locations were finalized within the state of Arizona, which could portray the dry and arid backdrop of Texas. The principal photography began towards the beginning of September 1946 and took almost 3 months to complete. Now, without waiting any longer, let’s discuss in-depth, where was Red River filmed, and find out more about the specific shooting sites.

Arizona | USA

Where Was Red River Filmed? John Wayne’s Classic Western Drama!!

The opening scene of the film, where we see the character of Thomas Dunson herding the cattle, was filmed near Whetstone Mountains in Arizona. The filming crew took the exterior shots of the mountain and the herd in two days, after which they moved to the city of Tucson. The sequence in the film, where Thomas and Groot are shown buying a small home in Texas, was actually filmed in Tucson. A house located at 201 South Kinney Road in Old Tucson was used to depict Dunson’s home in the film. A few other pivotal sequences featured the Lil’ Boquillas Ranch and San Pedro river.

In order to recreate the scenes of Abilene in Missouri, the production unit reached the sparsely populated area of Sonoita, which is located in Santa Cruz County. The majority of the shooting was done here, while a few exterior shots of the Empire Ranch were also captured.

California | USA

The production unit then moved to the state of California, after capturing the outdoor shots in Arizona. The hot and dry weather of Arizona had taken a toll on the health of the unit members, thus filming was halted for a couple of weeks. Later the interior sequence of the camps where Thomas and his companions were shown to take rest, in the film, was shot inside Samuel Goldwyn Studios. 

However, after the completion of the entire filming process, the production unit head got involved in an argument with the owners of the studio located at 7200 Santa Monica Blvd. and eventually decided not to mention the name of the studio in the list of film credits.

Alright, guys, it’s time for me to give you an overview of this enticing film. So that you can get a better understanding of the actual storyline. Meanwhile, you can also check out Bodyguard and My Cousin Binny which are equally entertaining, if not more.

Plot Of Red River | What’s It About

Where Was Red River Filmed? John Wayne’s Classic Western Drama!!

The film begins by introducing us to the character of Thomas Dunson, a hard-working cattle rearer, planning on expanding his business by traveling to Texas, along with his farm hand, Nadine Groot.

As Thomas and Groot embark on their journey, they face an attack by the Indian tribes and are shown to somehow make out of the situation alive. Later Thomas learns that the woman he loved, Fen, succumbed to a similar attack by the Indians a couple of days back. Dunson, adopts Matthew Garth, an orphan that he found along the way, thinking it would somehow recede his pain. Eventually, Thomas and his companions cross the Red River, to enter the state of Texas and settle there.

Midway through the film, after 14 years, Thomas faces a new challenge, as the Civil War has adversely impacted his business. Dunson now plans to move to the southern state of Missouri to conduct his business peacefully. Shortly after, he instructs Mathew and Groot to search for a bunch of skilled gunmen to defend the herd and the group from the savage Indians. However, the inept leadership of Thomas soon lands him in trouble as his adopted son plots a rebellion against him, with the backing of the other companions.

Finally, after traveling through Sedalia, Missouri, Thomas and Mathew reach the city of Abilene in Kansas and prepare to auction the herd. Dunson gets agitated to see Mathew and gets involved in a brawl with him, but later realizes his mistake. The credits roll, as Thomas eventually makes peace with his adopted son, after paying heed to the advice of Tess.

Final Words

Ok guys, now that you know where was Red River filmed, it’s time for me to say goodbye. Although I hope that you enjoyed the read, and found what you were looking for. Be sure to add your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to check out other amazing articles on Viebly.

Who Are The Cast Members Of The Film Red River?

The cast of the film Red River includes John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan and Joanne Du amongst other actors.

Who Is The Cinematographer Of The Film Red River?

Russell Harlan is the cinematographer of the film Red River.

What Is The Runtime Of The Film Red River?

2h 13m is the runtime of the film Red River.

Are There Any Sequels To The Film Red River?

Yes, there is a remake of the film, Red River, which was released in 1988, with the same name.


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