The Lone Pine Film Museum

Lone Pine, CA

One of our first stops in Lone Pine was a visit to The Museum of Western Film History (formerly called The Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History).  In 1920 the history of Lone Pine was dramatically altered when a movie production company came to the nearby Alabama Hills (more on the hills in a later blog) to make the silent film The Roundup.  Other companies soon discovered the scenic location and since then over 400 films, 100 television episodes, and countless commercials have used Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills as a film location.

Mural along the side of the museum with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background

A closer look at the mural

The first thing you see as you enter the museum is material from one of the latest movies filmed in the area, Django Unchained.

The dentist’s wagon from Django Unchained

All different genre of movies were made here, but it is most famous for Westerns.  All the famous movie cowboys worked here including Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry, Gary Cooper, and John Wayne.

Movie poster from 1944

Roy Rogers and Dale Evens

Gene Autry memorabilia

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger and his horse, Silver

In the era of the cowboy movies the stars were heroes to most young boys growing up.  They made great role models as they always did the right thing and lived by a code of honor.

One of the most famous “non-western” films made in the area is the 1939 movie Gunga Din starring Cary Grant.

The Alabama Hills serves as the northern frontier of India in the film set in the 1880s.  Look closely at the photo below and you will see hundreds of extras acting as soldiers in one of the famous battle scenes.

The picture below is of a rope bridge from the movie.  The camera was placed on the ground below the bridge to give the impression that the bridge was very high over a canyon.

The small museum is a must-see for movie buffs.  We went there first to get some images of the movies shot here before we visit the locations in the nearby Alabama Hills.

More on that later . . .

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14 Responses to The Lone Pine Film Museum

  1. Mary says:

    That looks very fun. I love the Hop a Long Cassidy rules for kids. Oh I which every parent taught those today.

  2. pmbweaver says:

    Awesome murals.

    My Italian grandparents, Gdpa and Gdma Spino, loved cowboy movies. Guess they didn’t get to see them in Italy.

    Cool museum. My grandparents would have loved that one.

  3. Ingrid says:

    Al would love this place! Right up his alley 🙂

  4. Sue says:

    Those cowboys weren’t just heros to little boys ya know! Lots of us little girls sat on the arms of our big old sofas, pretending we riding Trigger or Silver…..

  5. I love seeing where films are made! What a fun museum.

  6. Gay says:

    It is so cool to watch the old movies and say…”I have been there!” What a cool museum!
    Happy trails….

  7. jimandbarb says:

    You are right about America’s young looking up to the cowboys of that era. Interesting to read the greeds. The movies are certainly a long way from that now.

  8. What a neat perspective this must have given you while climbing around the Hills!

  9. We were there during the film festival when they place placards throughout the Alabama Hills so you can read about the movies filmed at those particular spots. There were a lot of movies made in the Hills!

  10. Jodee Gravel says:

    Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were my very favorites on Saturday mornings so I know we have to go check out the museum (maybe this morning)! Hmmmm, perhaps the movie bridge gave someone the idea for photographing that intrepid rock climber in a previous post………..

  11. Sherry says:

    Great mural. I’ve never even heard of this place. You guys do find terrific things. I was a big Roy Rogers and Lone Ranger reruns fan. Love the “rules” and “creed”. Can’t even imagine something like that anymore.

  12. Laurel says:

    I had a cowgirl outfit, boots, and gun when I was about 5 years old. It was my favorite outfit. 🙂 And Eric just reminded me that he had a cowboy outfit, too — Hopalong Cassidy was his hero. Such fun memories! We’re looking forward to seeing that museum — looks like it’s in our very near future! Thanks for the great preview tour.

  13. frankeeg says:

    Donnis & I do not normally “do” museums but from your post I think we or more particularly me would love this one… Cheers

  14. LuAnn says:

    We enjoyed visiting this museum the first time in the hills. Great way to prepare for the Alabama Hills. 🙂

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