The legendary setting for John Ford Westerns in the 1940s and 1950s, Utah has been described as the the iconic American West, its striking scenery appearing in everything from Thelma and Louise to Westworld.
The connection Utah has with the Old West still lives on in the lives of many Utahns; the cowboy culture thrives in the lives of those living and working on one of the state's many ranches and farms. Whilst the romance of life under the stars in a spectacular setting of mountains, mesas, and colourful buttes and spires is readily available for visitors to embrace.
Anniversaries for 2019 include:
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, 50th Anniversary – Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford this seminal Western won four Academy Awards in 1970 including Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Based on a true wild west story, the film immortalised the lawless adventures of Robert Leroy Parker – born in Beaver, Utah – and the Wild Bunch. As well as visiting movie locations including Zion National Park, St George, Grafton Ghost Town and Snow Canyon State Park, fans of the film can track down the real Wild Bunch hideouts and stay at Robert Redford's Sundance Mountain Resort.
Forrest Gump, 25th Anniversary – Monument Valley is no stranger to appearing on the big screen, its remarkable sandstone buttes and red-sand landscape featuring in everything from The Lone Ranger to Back to the Future III and Doctor Who. It was here on Highway 163 that Forrest Gump ended his epic run around the USA.
Easy Rider, 50th Anniversary – Visitors to Monument Valley can also follow in the tracks of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, the stars of quintessential hippy, road trip film Easy Rider.
Stagecoach, 80th Anniversary – Another landmark Western, Stagecoach was directed by John Ford and saw John Wayne in his breakthrough role. It was the first of many westerns shot by Ford in Monument Valley.
Dumb & Dumber, 25th Anniversary – The cult comedy was filmed in various Utah locations including Salt Lake City, Park City, Orem, Sandy and Heber City.
Union Pacific 80th Anniversary – Directed by Cecil B DeMille, Union Pacific tells the story of a plot to derail the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. This cinematic milestone coincides with the 150th anniversary of the actual completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, which occurred on 10 May 1869, when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads were formally connected and opened for through traffic. President of the Central Pacific, Leland Stanford ceremonially drove the gold ‘Last Spike" with a silver hammer at Promontory Summit. Anniversary celebrations are being brought together under the name 'Spike 150' over the weekend of 10 May and throughout the summer of 2019.