Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Comanche Station Location (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 39.550 W118 08.461)

Here is one that is a bit different. Technically, it really is not in the Alabama Hills area. It is much further north on Movie Road and out of the way of the great rock structures of the area. Not too many things have been filmed out here compared to the rest of the Alabama Hills.

Notice the trees in this next still from Comanche Station:

Now compare to this:
The common theme in my Alabama Hills Series is that people and environments change, but rocks and hills/mountains pretty much stay the same over a period of time. Trees tend to live short lives. Although I must note, the Bristlecone Trees about 80 miles away outside of Bishop and Big Pine in the Ancient Bristlecone Forest are the oldest living organisms on the planet going back a few thousand years. It is possible that some of these trees go back to the time of these movies, but you can see that a lot of other trees have grown in that were not here back during that time.
The actual "Comanche Station" in the movie was really not a big part of the movie. Budd Boetticher's movies with Randolph Scott tend to have titles that are a red herring to the real story. On the other hand, the house on "Anchor Ranch" in The Violent Men was featured throughout the movie here. Including the climatic final scenes. I will say something about "Anchor Ranch" and the real one at the bottom. The following picture is the entrance into the area with Movie Road in the foreground passing by.
"Comanche Station" would have been in the background right side of this next picture. The house in The Violent Men would have been much further back near the incline.
The small horse stable would have been to the left in the background of the following picture:
One of the silly things I mentioned in the video is something I call the "Comanche Station Guardian." Whenever I visit this area there is always this guy sitting by on one of the trees:
He usually starts making loud sounds. In the video, he was flying around and at one point I thought he might dive bomb me. I have seen more than one of these there, but if you see him there tell The Comanche Hawk I said, "Hi!"

I mentioned that in The Violent Men they refer to that ranch here as "Anchor Ranch." I was told the story once, but can not remember all the details. Someone in Lone Pine would be better explaining this. As I remember, this movie took place here and you might notice that there are a bunch Anchor signs in the movie. When you first head into Lone Pine heading north on the HWY 395 on the left side you will see the real Anchor Ranch and there is a Anchor Sign near the private road that takes you into the ranch. Originally, if my faulty memory is correct, they took one of the signs from the movie and put it there. The one that is currently there is not from the movie, but a replacement. There really is not any connection between the two locations other than that. However, the real Anchor Ranch I have just described was used for tons of old b-westerns going back to the 1940's. There used to be something called the Hacienda that shows up in a lot of Hopalong Cassidy movies. I was there last October. The last remains of a wall fell down a few years ago. One of these days I might put up a funky video of a dead cow being dragged by a truck near there. Kind of dark and morbid; it is April Fool's Day type of material, but may not get the best reactions. ;) I have pictures of this area, but there really is not much to see there other than using your imagination.