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True Grit (2010) Filming Location Details

February 18, 2020
4 min read

It was always going to be a tall ask to follow-up legendary actor John Wayne’s 1969 classic western, but the Coen Brothers’ 2010 adaptation of ‘True Grit’ did a rather fine job of it, all things said. Starring the likes of Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, ‘True Grit’ was a commercial and critical success, even managing to bag ten Academy Awards nominations along the way, despite winning none of them. The film drew rave reviews for its unapologetic revival of the classic western, complete with a bleak atmosphere and powerful performances.

‘True Grit’ follows fourteen year old Mattie Ross whose father, a farmer named Frank Ross, was murdered by his employee Tom Chaney, who steals his money and flees to inaccessible Indian territory. With thoughts of revenge on her mind, Mattie enlists the help of an aging U.S Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn to help her in her quest, despite her reservations about his alcoholic and generally irresponsible behavior. The two are also joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who also happens to be chasing Chaney for his own personal reasons. Together, the three dace a number of challenges and obstacles that test their mettle.

If you were wondering where the 2010 adaptation of the classic western was filmed, read on to find out everything we know.

Where Was True Grit Filmed?

The story line of ‘True Grit’ largely takes place in and around Fort Smith, Arkansas. However, the 2010 adaptation was not actually filmed in Arkansas, and neither was the 1969 original. While the original movie chose various locales across the state of Colorado to film the scenes sent in Arkansas, the 2010 remake opted for various venues across Texas and New Mexico.

Explaining the reasoning behind not choosing Arkansas as the filming location, co-director Joel Cohen said, “The whole pictorial idea of the movie would have been much different in a place like Arkansas. The honest answer is it kind of becomes this mishmash of different considerations that go into where you’re shooting and how you want to treat the landscape. They’re a little hard to sort out after the fact, but it’s everywhere from the practical to just what does the movie actually want to be about.”

Principal filming began in March of 2010 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and proceeded to other locations including Granger and Austin in Texas.

Check out these pictures of the cast of ‘True Grit’:

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A huge portion of the story in ‘True Grit’ takes place in the Indian territory, where the trio of Mattie, Rouster, and LaBoeuf is hot on the trail of Tom Chaney. Most of the exterior shots for these scenes were filmed in the Santa Fe area, and specifically the Buena Vista Ranch in New Mexico. The Buena Vista Ranch is located in the northeastern part of New Mexico and constitutes a diverse habitat including parts of the Mora River, Sapello River, Coyote Creek, and Cebolla Creek. This is an ideal location for the filming of western films owing to its scenic vistas perfectly suited to the genre.

The other high profile production in Buena Vista Ranch is the Tommy Lee Jones starring 2014 western ‘The Horseman’.

Filming for interior scenes was also done at the Garson Studios in the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The studio has also served at the filming location of the Coen brothers’ own 2007 classic neo western ‘No Country for Old Men’.

Granger, Texas

The scenes set in Fort Smith, Arkansas during the opening sequences of ‘True Grit’ were actually filmed in the small city of Granger, Texas. The location was chosen specifically because of the prevalence of plentiful empty lots between brick buildings and the rail terminus. A special wooden building was constructed for the depiction of Forth Smith in the film.

Check out this behind the scenes picture of the filming of ‘True Grit’:

A few other movies have been filmed in the city of Granger including the likes of the 2003 remake of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and Edward Norton’s drama ‘25th Hour’.

Various Locations Across Texas

Additional filming for certain scenes in the movie was done in a number of locations across the state of Texas. For instance, the scenes set in the courthouse were filmed at the Old Blanco Courthouse in Blanco, Texas. The location currently serves as a multi use building rented for special events.

Other filming locations in Texas include the cities of Austin, Bartlett, and Smithville.

Read More: Best Movies Based on True Story

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