Presidio County, Texas – The Real Old West

Rio Bravo was a 1959 American western film, directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson. In this classic movie, Wayne plays John T. Chance the Sheriff of Presidio County, Texas in the heart of the “old west”. It’s the story of Chance, Dude (played by Dean Martin) and Colorado’s (played by Ricky Nelson) fight against the minions of ruthless landowner Nathan Burdette, a classic story of good versus evil set against the backdrop of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) river.

Like most westerns of the late 50’s and early 60’s, it was shot in Tucson, Arizona at the famous Old Tucson Studios, not in Presidio County where the story takes place. And that’s just a shame since much of beautiful desert landscape of Presidio County, Texas matches the authentic look and feel that made those old westerns so popular (at least for this young boy with dreams of someday riding those dusty trails like John Wayne did).

As you can see in this image, the real “old west” of Presidio County hasn’t changed much in the past hundred years. Standing out here alone, it’s easy to imagine Chance, Dude and Colorado riding down this path and into the sunset.

Presidio County Texas

The Real Wild West – Presidio County, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/14 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

3 thoughts on “Presidio County, Texas – The Real Old West

  1. There is nothing more beautiful or as scenic as a drive through Texas. You got mountains, plains, rivers, trees, deserts and finally oil fields and wind fields.

  2. You are so right, Jeff. It’s a shame that there aren’t more movies made in that area. We once saw the movie, I think the name was “Dead Man’s Walk” that was made at the Contrabando Movie Set. It was fun to watch, to see the horses and cowboys running through an area that I have photographed many times.

    • Hey Bob,

      Yes, it makes me want to rent a nice quarter horse for a few hours of riding through Presidio County. Just not quite sure my tired old back is up to the ride. 😉


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