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Friday May 29th 2020

The Misfits | 1961

The Misfits location: Mia's Restaurant, Pike Street, Dayton, Nevada
The Misfits location: the rodeo town bar: Mia’s Restaurant, Pike Street, Dayton, Nevada

Mournfully atmospheric movie, overshadowed by the untimely deaths of the three principals. Clark Gable’s heart gave out a few weeks after the arduous shoot was over, Montgomery Clift’s system finally caved in after years of pills and booze in 1966, and what actually happened to Marilyn Monroe in 1962 is anybody’s guess.

Centering around the roping of wild mustangs in the desert, the film opens in the divorce capital of the USA, the self-proclaimed 'Biggest Little City in the World', Reno, Nevada, where Roslyn Taber (Monroe) is ending her marriage at the Washoe County Courthouse, 5 Virginia Street between Mill and Court Streets, before following tradition by tossing her wedding band into the Truckee River.

The casino, where she gambles with Gay Langland (Gable), was the now-gone Mapes Casino, in the Mapes Hotel, 30 North Virginia Street, Reno. Most of the company stayed in the hotel. Marilyn and writer husband Arthur Miller occupied room 614, while Monty was discovered naked in the lift after one of his notorious barbiturate and alcohol cocktails.The hotel was finally demolished in 2000.

The rodeo town is Dayton, about 40 miles southeast of Reno. Don’t expect this historic, one-street Gold Rush town to be buzzing. Until 2007, you could still have eaten at Mia’s Restaurant, the bustling bar in the movie, in the Odeon Hall Building, 65 Pike Street, but sadly it's now closed down. The town, incidentally, was the first non-Native American settlement in Nevada – you can pickup a self-guided walking tour at the Dayton Museum, Shady Lane at Logan.

The roping of the stallions was filmed on the white salt flats of Pyramid Lake, about 30 miles north of Reno. The ranch of Guido (Eli Wallach) is Quail Canyon Ranch, off Pyramid Highway.