The 1985 Western film Silverado holds a special place in the hearts of many as a classic 80s adventure.
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, the action film takes viewers on a journey through the Old West as four unlikely heroes team up to take down a corrupt sheriff who killed their father.
With its talented cast, sweeping score, and stunning landscapes, Silverado became an instant hit upon its release in US cinemas. The movie was a box office success that made $32 Million at the box office, receiving mostly positive reviews.
But where exactly was this Western epic filmed? Let’s take a look at some of the iconic Silverado filming locations that brought the Wild West to life.
Where was Silverado filmed?
Silverado (1985) movie was filmed at various ranch locations in New Mexico, United States. IMDb reports have confirmed that the shooting took place from Nov 1, 1984 to March 31, 1985.
The Opening Scene Location – White Rock
The opening scene of the western movie was filmed at 700 Overlook Rd in White Rock, New Mexico. This spot offers beautiful 270 degree views over the Rio Grande River and the Jemez Mountains. From this scenic viewpoint, you can take in the same breathtaking natural landscape that was featured in the film’s iconic opening.
When Emmett comes out of his rickety hut, we’re taken to a quintessential frontier vista – endless blue sky meeting rugged plains dotted with resilient vegetation. This location encapsulates the promise and peril of the Old West, where freedom and danger lie around every bend.
The Fictional Town of Silverado – Cerro Pelon Ranch
When Emmett and Paden arrive in the fictional town of Silverado, the filming took place at Cerro Pelon Ranch, located about an hour east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nestled amidst New Mexico’s high desert, Cerro Pelon’s western facades and rugged landscape transported viewers into a lawless frontier town.
As Paden reclaims his stolen horse in the dusty streets, we’re drawn into the adventure and uncertainty of a new settlement fighting for order. Though the ranch is privately owned and not open to visitors, you can still view it from afar by driving or taking public transportation from Albuquerque towards Capitan.
Crossroads Meeting – Ghost Ranch’s Breathtaking Vistas
The visually stunning meeting between Emmett, Jake, Paden, and Mal at a remote crossroads was filmed at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Set against a backdrop of red sandstone cliffs and desert, Ghost Ranch’s wild natural beauty reflects the boundless freedom and danger of the Old West.
This expansive 21,000-acre retreat features stunning red sandstone cliffs and desert terrain, which served as a picturesque Wild West backdrop. When gunslingers converge at the crossroads, we enjoy those panoramic views that underline the allure and excitement of new frontiers waiting to be explored.
The Arrest of Mal – J.W. Eaves Movie Ranch
Mal’s dramatic arrest outside a church was filmed at J.W. Eaves Movie Ranch – 75 Rancho Alegre Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This western town set provided the perfect backdrop, with saloons, jails, and mercantile buildings evoking frontier justice.
As Mal is accosted by the sheriff’s men, the scene crackles with tension, bringing Silverado’s outlaw-filled streets to life. Film buffs can visit this ranch to appreciate its role in creating some of Hollywood’s most memorable Wild West moments and don’t forget to walk through Bonanza Creek Ranch, also featured in the film.
The Gunfight – Tent Rocks National Monument
The climactic gunfight between Emmett’s crew and the posse was filmed at the awe-inspiring Tent Rocks in Cochiti Pueblo. This natural monument’s ancient cliffs and precariously stacked boulders create a one-of-a-kind battlefield.
You can see the marks of bullets ricochet off the red rock, the stark beauty of this windswept desert amplifies the scene’s drama. The unique geology tells a story eons old, reminding us of man’s fleeting presence in the vast wilderness. Tent Rocks is a special location that gives Silverado an indelible sense of place.
Rocks View Scene Location
The climactic shootout between Emmett’s crew and the posse was filmed at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument southwest of Santa Fe. This area contains unique red sandstone rock formations and cliffs formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. The monument is open to daytime visitors only.
The Final Showdown – Galisteo Basin
The epic final showdown between the heroes and the villainous Sheriff Cobb was filmed in Galisteo Basin, another remarkable landscape in New Mexico.
This dry, high-altitude basin is surrounded by the Ortiz Mountains, with very little vegetation outside of juniper trees and sagebrush. The harsh, barren environment reflected the stark mortality of the characters in their final face-off.
As Emmett, Jake, Mal, and Paden have their final confrontation with Cobb amid the ruins of an old adobe town, the location enhances the scene’s drama. Galisteo Basin’s austere beauty and evocative abandoned buildings provide the perfect backdrop for the story’s emotional climax
California’s Wild West Past
Scenes involving the ranch home of Kevin Kline’s character were shot at the storied Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank. This facility offers a variety of Western-style buildings and landscapes, having hosted productions like Maverick and Deadwood.
If you love exploring those western movie locations that takes us back to the cowboy era, then you will love checking out the shooting locations of Open Range (2003) and Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider (1985).
Who’s in the cast of Silverado?
- Scott Glenna as Emmett
- Rosanna Arquette as Hannah
- John Cleese as Sheriff Langston
- Kevin Kline as Paden
- Brian Dennehy as Cobb
- Danny Glover as Mal
- Kevin Costner as Jake
- Jeff Goldblum as Slick
- Linda Hunt as Stella
- Ray Baker as McKendrick
- Joe Seneca as Ezra
- Lynn Whitfield as Rae
- Jeff Fahey as Tyree
- Dick Durock as Bar Fighter
- Pepe Serna as Scruffy
- Patricia Gaul as Kate
- Amanda Wyss as Phoebe
- Earl Hindman as J.T.
- James Gammon as Dawson
- Thomas Wilson Brown as Augie (as Tom Brown)
- Marvin J. McIntyre as Clerk
- Brad Leland as Trooper (as Brad Williams)
- Sheb Wooley as Cavalry Sergeant
- Jonathan Kasdan as Boy at Outpost (as Jon Kasdan)
- Todd Allen as Deputy Kern
- Kenny Call as Deputy Block
- Bill Thurman as Carter
- Meg Kasdan as Barmaid
- Gene Hartline as Bar Fighter
- Autry Ward as Hat Thief
- Jake Kasdan as Stable Boy (as Jacob Kasdan)
- Rusty Meyers as Conrad
- Zeke Davidson as Mr. Parker
- Lois Geary as Mrs. Parker
- Troy Ward as Baxter
- Roy McAdams as Tall Outlaw
- Jim Haynie as Bradley
- Richard Jenkins as Kelly
- Jerry Biggs as Bartender
- Sam Gauny as Deputy Garth
- Ken Farmer as Deputy Kyle
- Bill McIntosh as Deputy Charlie
- Charles Seybert as Shopkeeper
- Jane Beauchamp as Neighbor Woman
- Jerry Block as Townsman
- Ben Zeller as Townsman
- Ted White as Hoyt
- Ross Loney as Red
- Walter Scott as Swann
- Bob Terhune as Guard Cowboy
Silverado Movie Review
Over 35 years since its premiere, Silverado remains one of the definitive Westerns of the 1980s. While the characters and story are fictional, the evocative filming locations scattered across the Southwestern United States are very real places fans can still visit.
Whether you’re seeking the ghost town ambiance of New Mexico, the monumental vistas of Monument Valley, or the Hollywood magic of Old Tucson and Warner Brothers Ranch, it’s possible to experience some of the Old West atmosphere that made this film such an enduring classic. For a nostalgic trip back in time, see these iconic backdrops and relive the adventure of Silverado.