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The ranch where the fatal ‘Rust’ shooting happened has been a go-to location for Hollywood

Scattered buildings on an isolated film location
New Mexico’s Bonanza Creek Ranch, where a fatal on-set shooting occurred Thursday, is a longtime favorite location for westerns.
(Sam Wasson / Getty Images)

The set of the western film “Rust” was the site of a real-life shooting Thursday when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that killed rising cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

The film’s location, Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., has been a Hollywood go-to for more than 130 films and TV shows shot there over the past 50-plus years.

The ranch’s cinematic roster includes classics such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Easy Rider” and the “Lonesome Dove” limited television series. Other well-known shows and films made there include “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Young Guns” and “Silverado.”

More recent titles include “3:10 to Yuma,” “Cowboys and Aliens” and the Coen brothers’ ”The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

‘Rust’ star and producer Alec Baldwin, who fired a weapon that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, addressed the incident Friday via Twitter.

The ranch was constructed near the site of Bonanza City, a ghost town in the county of Santa Fe. Bonanza City was a gold-rush town established in 1880, whose population plummeted from around 2,000 to 200 within just a few years of its founding. It was abandoned entirely by the early 1900s.

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In 1955, when the location was known as the Jarrett Ranch, it hosted its first Hollywood production: “The Man From Laramie,” starring James Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann. It was the last of that duo’s eight collaborations as they soon had an infamous falling-out, supposedly over Stewart’s desire to play the accordion in his next western, “Night Passage.”

A man in a cowboy hat rides a horse
John Wayne on the set of “The Cowboys” in 1971 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico.
(Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

In 2007, the controversial CBS reality seriesKid Nation” was filmed there; the show “sent 40 children, ages 8 to 15, to a former ghost town in New Mexico [the ranch’s re-creation of Bonanza City] to build a society from scratch.”

The production sparked questions about child labor, working conditions and the labor classification of reality-show participants in general. Injuries on the set included one child being splashed with hot grease while cooking her own meal and another two mistakenly drinking bleach, according to participants. The low-rated series lasted one season.

When a prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of “Rust,” it followed decades of other incidents.

The location is also a working ranch. In a 2009 New Mexico Free Press article, owner Imogen Hughes said of the 200 or so head of cattle bred there every year, “If they don’t act, we eat ’em.”

Here’s a partial list of notable films and TV shows made at Bonanza Creek Ranch over the years, per its official site:

  • “3:10 to Yuma” (2007)
  • “All the Pretty Horses” (2000)
  • “Appaloosa” (2008)
  • “Around the Bend” (2004)
  • “The Astronaut Farmer” (2006)
  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (2018)
  • “Beer for My Horses” (2008)
  • “Black Blizzard” (2008, TV)
  • “Brotherhood of the Gun” (1991, TV)
  • “Buffalo Girls” (1995, TV miniseries)
  • “The Burrowers” (2008, not related to the TV series)
  • “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
  • “The Cheyenne Social Club” (1970)
  • “Conspiracy” (2008)
  • “Cowboy” (1958)
  • “The Cowboys” (1972)
  • “Cowboys & Aliens” (2011)
  • “Desperado: Avalanche at Devil’s Ridge” (1988, TV)
  • “The Desperate Trail” (1994, TV)
  • “Doc West” (2009, TV)
  • “Easy Rider” (1969)
  • “Empire” (1962, TV)
  • “The Far Side of Jericho” (2006)
  • “The Fight Before Christmas” (1994)
  • “Gunsmoke: The Long Ride” (1993, TV)
  • “Into the Badlands” (2015, TV)
  • “Into the West” (2005, TV miniseries)
  • “John Carpenter’s Vampires” (1998)
  • “Kid Nation” (2007, TV series set in Bonanza City)
  • “Last Stand at Saber River” (1997, TV)
  • “The Lazarus Man” (1996, TV series)
  • “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” (1981)
  • “Lightning Jack” (1994)
  • “Lonesome Dove” (1989, TV series)
  • “Lucky Luke” (1991, TV series)
  • “Lust in the Dust” (1985)
  • “The Man From Laramie” (1955)
  • “The Missing” (2003)
  • “Nightwing” (1979)
  • “Outlaws: The Legend of O.B. Taggert” (1993)
  • “Powderkeg” (1971, TV)
  • “Power” (1986)
  • “The Return of Desperado” (1988, TV)
  • “The Sacketts” (1979)
  • “Scattering Dad” (1998)
  • “Shoot First and Pray You Live” (2008)
  • “Silverado” (1985)
  • “The Staircase” (1998, TV)
  • “Time Rider: The Adventures of Lyle Swan” (1982)
  • “The Tracker” (2001, TV)
  • “Undead or Alive: A Zombedy” (2007)
  • “Walker, Texas Ranger” (1993, TV series)
  • “Wild Hogs” (2007)
  • “Wild Times” (1980, TV miniseries)
  • “Young Guns” (1988)

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars, was killed on the set of ‘Rust.’ Here’s everything we know so far.


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