The Searchers, 1956


John Ford


visit Arizona

Monument Valley can be reached on Route 163, 24 miles north from the town of Kayenta, Route 160. There's a visitor centre (admission charge; tel: 435.727.3353). A 14-mile loop snakes through the valley, but not all roads are open to the public. You can see more of the park on a guided tour, from the parking lot at the visitor center.


John Ford made Monument Valley a cinematic icon in Stagecoach and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.

Twelve Dancers, Monument Valley, Arizona

The Searchers location: Finding Scar: Twelve Dancers, Monument Valley, Arizona

Arguably John Wayne’s best role, as the tormented Ethan Edwards, obsessively tracking down the niece abducted by Comanche.

The opening title, ‘Texas 1868’, is blatantly belied by a view of John Ford’s beloved Monument Valley, Arizona, where much of the film was shot. The spectacular columns, by which Ethan Edwards finally catches up with Scar, are the Twelve Dancers.

There's also filming in Utah, on the San Juan River at Mexican Hat, several miles to the north.

Second unit filming, capturing snow scenes and buffalo herds, took place all over the West, including Aspen and southwestern Colorado.

The dusty climax, where Edwards finally meets up, and accepts, with his kidnapped niece Debbie (Natalie Wood), is actually Griffith Park, in Los Angeles.

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