Although set in the US, much of the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain was actually filmed in and around Alberta. This province is a such great choice if you wish to make a western themed film. It has so many wonderful locations and settings and a film maker can find everything they need from remote farms to quaint small towns, flat fields to rolling hills. It’s no wonder so many movies are shot here.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that one thing we like to do is duplicate scenes from movies that were filmed here, doing our best to line up our shot as close to possible to that seen in the film. Sometimes we ace it, other times our shot is quite a bit off – either way and the most important reason we do it, is to have fun. It’s a hoot!
Normally we pick older movies for these series as there is often dramatic changes between the time the film makers captured the scene to the time we try and duplicate it. It makes for a more interesting picture. This “newer” movie however grabbed us by the sheer number of locations they used which will keep us busy for quite a while.
One thing to keep in mind when we plan these shoots is that we rarely count on outside help or use fan websites to research the spots (even though we know we could find them easily that way). We use our detective skills to track down the location, using visual clues and our own extensive skill sets. Even in spite of that though, on occasion we’ve been stumped and have called for help.
In this then-and-now series we take at look at some later scenes in the movie. In these shots the main character Ennis, having had a quarrel with his wife Alma over Thanksgiving dinner, drives to a nearby watering hole to drown his sorrows. While crossing the street he almost gets hit by a passing truck and after some words are exchanged with the driver, a fight ensues.
Picture one shows Ennis’ old pickup truck heading towards the camera and in the second screen capture, the near accident is caught.
While it’s supposed to be in Riverton Wyoming, in fact these scenes were shot in a small town southwest of Calgary, a place called Blackie. In this scene we are Railway Avenue (every small prairie town has a Railway Avenue) in what is essentially “downtown”. Not that it means much since the only open businesses that seem to exist here are the Post Office, a grocery store and a restaurant and pub. Otherwise most buildings are locked up and are look either vacant or maybe used for things like storage and such.
The building used in the movie, I am told used to be Blackie’s old hardware store. Used only for exterior shots it was made up to look like a typical good ol’ boy cowboy bar with lots of neon signs and the like. It captures that redneck vibe well!
Unrelated to the movie, but very interesting, is a fading mural just a few doors down from the “bar”.
This is to be, what we hope, the first of many Brokeback Mountain then-and-now series we’ll do. For future reports we’ll be tacking them in no particular order as we go where the wind takes us.
Images from the movie are copyright Focus Features.
In the fall of 2012 we visited Blackie and area and took a look at an elevator there, since demolished. To see that report, go here…
Grain elevators and ghosts southeast of Calgary.
To see some other Brokeback Mountain then and now reports we’ve done, follow these links…
Brokeback Mountain then and now – “Jack, I swear”.
Brokeback Mountain then and now – Signal Wyoming.
Brokeback Mountain then and now – getting married and drive in movie.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Date: March, 2013.
Location: Blackie, AB.