Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The 40th Anniversay of the Classic Movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Okay, I admit it--I have a special fondness for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the classic movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It's the first movie I remember seeing at the theater, and I was hooked from the opening credits until the final scene.

When I started exploring back roads and ghost towns around Las Vegas, I was delighted to find that part of the movie was shot near Las Vegas, in and around Zion National Park. Some of the scenes of Etta's home were filmed in the ghost town of Grafton, Utah. I became determined to find Grafton, and although I had to dig through maps and even get a little lost while searching for it, it was worth the effort. (I also found that Butch, Sundance, and Etta weren't the only actual historical characters mentioned in the movie. I was researching Caliente, Nevada, for an article and discovered that E.H. Harriman, who is mentioned frequently in the movie as the outraged railroad magnate, was involved in a railroad dispute in Caliente in the late 1800s.)

Here are some of my pictures, taken on a visit to Grafton a couple of years ago. Grafton is just outside Springdale and Zion, about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas. The turn-off is not well-marked, and private individuals own much of the land in and around the ghost town. You'll see working farms and cattle wandering around if you visit. ~Photo information, from top to bottom: The Grafton Schoolhouse, which is being restored-- watch the movie and you'll see it in the background behind Etta's house; the privately owned home that is allegedly the place where the scenes of Butch (Paul Newman) and Etta (Katharine Ross) riding a bicycle were filmed; and two other buildings around Grafton--in sepia, in honor of the movie.~

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