Artist Preserves Cowboy Film History

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A maverick hero during the wild west was… tough, independent, fearless. Characters of honor and principle.” ~ Unknown 

In 1980, artist Kerry Powell  helped to spearhead efforts to preserve the Western cinematic history of Lone Pine,California by organizing the Lone Pine Film Festival. The Alabama Hills and the Inyo Mountains, located only 170 miles from Hollywood, provided the scenic backdrops to some 400 western movies produced between the years 1920 to the 1970s. Some of the notables were: 

    • The Round Up (1920)
    • Gunga Din (1939)
    • High Sierra (1941)
    • Along the Great Divide (1951)
    • Thunder in the Sun (1959)
    • How the West Was Won (1962)
    • Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) 

    For many, “Westerns” congered up romantic notions of life on the American western front and independent living at its best. Artist Kerry Powell’s painted murals around the town of Lone Pine, California reflect the era of Western filmmaking. Her desire to protect this era in cinematography came from her fulfilling memories of the production crews arriving in town, movie sets being built and of the legendary actors, most of whom are now deceased, who stayed at her family’s motel. Big name Hollywood actors such as Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Johnny Weismuller were just a few of the actors that frequented this area to produce movies.

Eleven years later, The Lone Pine Film Festival now draws audiences of 5,000 Western film enthusiasts from around the world. It is scheduled for October 7 – 9. For ticket information, please visit

The period of the cowboys and Indians is seldom captured in movies anymore, and the film production process will never be the same. Modern-day filmmaking has changed all that. So, saddle up and attend this year’s fest! The 100th birthday of Roy Rogers will be celebrated this year. It is guaranteed to be one of the best Western Film fests yet.

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