Where Was the Movie Silverado Filmed? Unveiling the Iconic Shoot Locations

The 1985 Western film “Silverado” offers a nostalgic throwback to the cowboy era, providing audiences a cinematic journey into the adventures of the Old West. It is a tale brought to life not just by its star-studded ensemble, including Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, and Kevin Costner, but also by the authentic and sweeping landscapes in which it was set.

The movie’s backdrop plays a crucial role, serving as an untamed character in its own right.

Filming primarily took place in Cook Ranch, known today as Cerro Pelon Ranch, in North Galisteo, New Mexico. This location was not only chosen for its aesthetically fitting scenery but also for its capacity to be molded into the untamed towns and vistas crucial to the Western genre.

Other parts of New Mexico also featured prominently, creating the mise-en-scène essential to transport viewers back to the time when the West was indeed wild. Do you want to know where was the movie Silverado filmed? Let’s take a tour through the iconic locations.

Key Takeaways

  • “Silverado” captures the essence of the Western genre with its authentic filming locations.
  • The ensemble cast synergizes with New Mexico’s landscapes to evoke the cowboy era.
  • Filming locations contribute significantly to the film’s atmospheric and cultural impact.

Film Overview

Diving into the world of “Silverado”, we’re greeted by a blend of adventure, drama, and the quintessential grit of the American West. This film isn’t just a throwback to the heydays of the Western genre; it’s a vibrant tapestry of bold characters and thrilling escapades.

Plot and Genre

“Silverado” sets its tale in the broad, untamed landscapes of the American West, specifically within the dynamic vistas of New Mexico. This American Western film intertwines the lives of four unlikely heroes. Portrayed by Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, and Kevin Costner, their paths cross in the town of Silverado, where each man confronts his own challenges and adversaries.

The storyline is rich with the genre’s beloved conventions: from gunslinging and saloon brawls to the pursuit of justice and personal redemption.

Release and Reception

When “Silverado” made its theatrical debut on July 10, 1985, it did more than just entertain audiences; it rekindled a love for the Western movie tradition. The film’s reception among critics was polarized yet tended to be positive, earning it a place at the 58th Academy Awards with nominations in Sound and Original Score.

While it may not have been a runaway box office hit, “Silverado’s” earnest tribute to wild west adventure captured hearts, currently holding its own on Rotten Tomatoes with a score that reflects a mix of professional critic reviews and moviegoer affection.

Main Cast and Characters

The heart of “Silverado” beats with its stellar ensemble cast who brought to life a story of friendship, valor, and justice in the Wild West. This section shines a light on the key actors who portrayed the lead characters and the talented supporting cast who added depth to the film’s vibrant tapestry.

Lead Actors

  • Kevin Kline as Paden, a charming yet lovable rogue, whose wit and heart drive much of the film’s narrative
  • Scott Glenn as Emmett, the tough but fair older brother figure, standing as the film’s moral compass
  • Danny Glover as Mal, a skilled marksman facing prejudice but never wavering in his quest for respect and equality
  • Kevin Costner as Jake, Emmett’s impulsive younger brother, whose eagerness often lands him in tight spots

Supporting Cast

  • Rosanna Arquette plays Rae, embodying the spirit of the West with her resilience.
  • John Cleese offers a comedic touch to the film as the quirky English Sheriff Langston
  • Linda Hunt features as Stella, the saloon owner, who is as much a part of the bustling town’s fabric as any cowboy
  • Jeff Goldblum portrays the slick gambler who finds himself entangled in the town’s affairs
  • Brian Dennehy stands out as the film’s formidable adversary, bringing depth to the character Cobb, the unscrupulous Sheriff
  • Additional cast such as Ray Baker further enrich the dynamic world of “Silverado,” each bringing a unique flavor to the iconic Western frontier

Production Details

In the making of the classic Western film “Silverado,” two key aspects stood out: the vision of director Lawrence Kasdan and the memorable music of Bruce Broughton. These essential elements contributed significantly to the movie’s success.

Directors and Producers

Lawrence Kasdan, known for his direction and screenplay contributions to major Hollywood hits, helmed “Silverado.” His notable works include co-writing for some of the “Star Wars” films and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

This film was developed under the banner of Kasdan’s own production company, Delphi III Productions. Kasdan’s insightful direction, coupled with his ability to produce, helped “Silverado” resonate with audiences and critics alike.

He ensured that the Western landscape was as much a character as the actors, contributing to the film’s captivating visuals.

Music and Score

The score, composed by Bruce Broughton, brought the essential Western vibes to life, perfectly complementing the film’s scenery and action.

Broughton, affectionately referred to as “Brave Broughton” for his bold compositions, received acclaim for his work on “Silverado.” The music played a pivotal role in setting the tone and supporting the film’s dramatic narrative.

“Silverado,” released with a PG-13 certification, offered 133 minutes of gripping Western adventure. Despite being a Hollywood production with filming primarily in the wilderness of New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Colorado, the film managed to create an authentic representation of the old West that transcended its geographical filming locations.

The production of “Silverado” remains a testament to the careful crafting of a Western film that has stood the test of time.

Filming Locations

The 1985 Western “Silverado” showcases the rugged beauty of New Mexico’s landscapes, featuring authentic and diverse locations that significantly contributed to the film’s Old West ambiance. Let’s find out where was the movie Silverado filmed.

Primary Locations

New Mexico served as the central stage for “Silverado,” with its vast deserts and unique geological formations embodying the quintessence of the American frontier. Principal photography unfolded across several key sites:

  • Eaves Movie RanchLocated at 75 Rancho Alegre Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this ranch provided an extensively adaptable setting for Old West towns and its scenic environs, steadily becoming a favored spot for Western productions
  • Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu – The Ghost Ranch’s red and yellow cliffs, a real slice of New Mexico’s geological wonder, offered a majestic backdrop resonant of the classic Western landscapes

Supporting Locations

Aside from the principal sites, a variety of locales across New Mexico added depth and authenticity to the film’s setting:

  • Santa Fe – The capital city’s historic architecture and rich cultural tapestry lent itself to intricate street scenes and vital plot settings
  • Cerro Pelon Ranch and Cook Ranch – These ranches near the town of Galisteo provided additional arenas for the action, mirroring the rugged life of the frontier
  • Los Alamos and White Rock areas – These places enhanced the film with their natural beauty, helping to transport audiences to the untamed lands that the characters traverse throughout their adventures

Set Construction and Design

The production team at Columbia Pictures erected impressive structures to create a sense of immersion into the Old West:

  • Sets around the Eaves Movie Ranch encompassed fully constructed facades and interiors, turning the grounds into believable historical sites replete with the hustle and bustle one would expect from frontier settlements
  • In paying homage to the genre, designers replicated historical accuracies in set dressing, ensuring that each location within New Mexico not only represented but felt like an integral piece of the Western tapestry they were recreating

Cultural Impact

When they think back on the movie Silverado, fans might recall the stunning backdrops that gave the film its authentic Western vibe. But beyond that, Silverado‘s choice of filming locations had a lasting effect on how we see the Wild West in cinema.

Influence on Western Genre

Silverado, filmed amid the dusty trails and vast vistas of New Mexico, reignited a passion for the American Western film during a time when the genre was losing its allure.

By shooting in historical places like Ghost Ranch—familiar to fans of Georgia O’Keeffe—Silverado gave viewers a real taste of the Wild West, synonymous with cowboys and outlaws. It paved the way for films like Wyatt Earp and 3:10 to Yuma, ensuring that the love for Westerns didn’t just fade into the sunset.


The film’s cultural impact is also evident in how the chosen locations have since turned into iconic landmarks.

Bonanza Creek Ranch and Cerro Pelon Ranch, which have doubled as backdrops for various Hollywood projects including Lonesome Dove and Cowboys and Aliens, are now part of movie history.

These ranches, along with others scattered across the Southwestern United States, add an air of authenticity to Western films and have helped maintain a connection to the genre’s rustic roots. Silverado might not be the last Western to be filmed there, but it certainly helped etch these places into cinematic lore.

Additional Information

Let’s get a closer look at some fascinating trivia and gauge how fans have received the iconic film locations.


  • IMDb lists Silverado’s filming period as having spanned from November 1, 1984, to March 31, 1985. This signals a detailed and labor-intensive production
  • Landscapes synonymous with the film include the Jemez Mountains, striking Red Sandstone Cliffs, and the mesa known as Black Mesa. All of these add to the film’s authentic Western feel
  • Cochiti Pueblo and Santa Ana Pueblo were areas of cultural significance near the film’s locations. They provided an authentic backdrop to the storyline
  • Real towns like Abiquiú and Nambe in New Mexico were in proximity to the filming sites. This contributed to the film’s atmospheric authenticity
  • Although not part of Silverado, the state of Idaho and the city of Albuquerque are well-known for providing picturesque settings for other Westerns

Fan Reception

  • Fans often discuss Cerro Pelon Ranch in Galisteo, New Mexico. This is the primary setting of Silverado, which later gained fame as a must-visit spot for Western genre aficionados
  • Silverado’s shooting locations, especially the Ten Rocks area, have become minor celebrities themselves. They are celebrated on fan sites for their rugged beauty
  • The landscapes shown in Silverado, like the Jemez Mountains and the iconic Red Sandstone Cliffs, continue to captivate fans. They inspire road trips and photographic pilgrimages

Written by Alexander