Where was Gun Fury filmed?
Sedona, Yavapai County, Coconino County
American, Naturescapes, Hotels/Motels
Desert, Hotel/Motel-style, Southwestern
About Gun Fury
Released in 1953 and helmed by Raoul Walsh, “Ten Against Caesar,” a novel penned by Robert A. Granger and Kathleen B. George, inspired “Gun Fury.” Donna Reed and Rock Hudson shared the screen in the 3-D Western as Jennifer Ballad and Ben Warren.
The movie follows Ben, a former Union soldier, and his fiancée. Following the war, all the pair wants is to settle down at their California ranch near the ocean. On their trip to start their new beginning, the duo gets separated after a stagecoach robbery.
Frank Slayton (Philip Carey), traveling under the alias Mr. Hampton, isn’t too happy with the way the war ended. He has infiltrated the stagecoach with his gang, and they initially dupe the other passengers into thinking that they are regular travelers.
Most notably, Slayton is accompanied by his associate Jess Burges (Leo Gordon). He instantly takes a liking to Jennifer and isn’t fazed by the fact that she is traveling with her husband-to-be or her disinterest in him.
The outlaw gang eventually holds up the stagecoach, and during the commotion, Ben is presumed to have been left for dead in the desert. Slayton and the gang take off with Jennifer, and Jess argues that they should leave her behind because she’ll cause trouble. The argument ends with Slayton having his way, and instead, the gang leaves Jess tied up to a fence.
Ben, who is still alive and kicking, sets out to rescue her. As he embarks on the mission to catch up with the outlaws, his efforts prove futile in getting help from the townsfolk. That is until he encounters Jess, now one of Slayton’s sworn enemies, and they join efforts.
The Western received positive reviews for its solid performances, great storytelling, and thrilling action sequences. However, critics still pointed out some glaring plot holes and its problematic ending. Regardless, fans have hailed the selection of “Gun Fury” filming locations for adding to the nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Gun Fury Locations
Besides the stunning visuals, the ‘53 Western is equally compelling because of its setting. The stagecoach in “Gun Fury” sets off west from Arizona, with Ben and Jennifer heading for a peaceful life at their newly purchased ranch in California.
After the stagecoach heist, Ben, Jess, and their accomplice are said to catch up to the outlaws just miles away from the Mexican border. The majority of the “Gun Fury” scenes were filmed around the vast Sedona area in Arizona.
Several of the places seen in the ‘50s Western are easily identifiable and might just spark the interest of filming location enthusiasts. However, like most great movies from that era, concrete details are scant about the precise locations used to spring the story to life.
Other locations are hard to interpret but given that the production team shot the entire movie in Arizona, locals might give better insights about some of the sights seen in the film. After scouring the internet for more details, here is a breakdown of the IMDB listed filming locations of “Gun Fury” and a recap of some of the best scenes from the production.
Walsh and Hudson collaborated on two other films released in 1953. That includes “The Lawless Breed” and “Sea Devils.”
Ben and Jennifer meet Slayton scene in Gun Fury
MacDonald’s Ranch, 26540 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ
We are introduced to Ben, who fought for the Union during the Civil War and wants to leave that part of his life in the past. Having witnessed his share of killing and no longer carrying a gun, he says, “I learned one thing. Bullets are very democratic. They kill good men as well as bad.”
Post-War, Ben is driven by the desire to wed Jennifer and live a quiet life on his large California Ranch near the ocean. Jennifer is a Southern belle who hails from Atlanta and he equally desires to start a life far away from the bleakness of the Sherman’s March. Also known as the Savannah campaign,
The pair set off to their new beginning aboard what ends up being an ill-fated stagecoach. That is when they cross paths with Slayton, who is a former Confederate turned southwest outlaw.
The initial “Gun Fury” scenes unfold aboard a stagecoach, and while we don’t have a mapped-out route of the film shoot locations of those scenes, you can go back in time and enjoy the old transit experience at the MacDonald’s Ranch.
The Richardson family operates the Ranch with the activities offered including horseback rides, cowboy cookouts, and private event rental services. Their authentic stagecoach rides take visitors on a scenic 45-minute tour around the property’s 1,280 acres. Bus MLHD, 72, and 81 passes near MacDonald’s Ranch.
Ben and Jennifer find out that they are in the company of outlaws scene in Gun Fury
Coffee Pot Rock, West Sedona, AZ
The film starts with Jennifer at a stagecoach accompanied by a Calvary escort as well as two former Southern gentlemen. She is carrying gold with her, and they initially make a stop in Haynesville, Arizona. That is where she links up with Ben and they continue on the journey.
It isn’t long before the betrothed couple finds out that the two Southerners are the infamous outlaws Slayton and Jess. Slayton, who takes a liking to Jennifer, would later tell her, “You look at me like that because you live in a world that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a different world now, the South. A world with three armies — an army of mourners, an army of cripples, and an army of thieves.”
The Coffee Pot Rock at Highway in West Sedona served as one of the filming locations of “Gun Fury.” Resembling a coffee pot, the striking red rock formation is a sight to behold from Highway 89A, Airport Mesa, and Coffeepot Drive.
Hiking the Coffee Pot Trail to the elevated formation ends with taking in the surrounding scenic views. The area is also a popular spot for biking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.
Slayton and his gang pull off a stagecoach heist scene in Gun Fury
Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, AZ
When Ben and Jennifer continue the journey West, after linking up at Haynesville, the stagecoach is ambushed by robbers. Disguised as Union troops, it turns out to be Slayton and his gang. They had killed the Union soldiers and worn their uniforms to conduct the stage heist.
Some gun action ensues and the outlaws take off with the gold, plus Jennifer. They leave Ben in the desert presumed to have killed him. When Ben comes to, he realizes that the gang has kidnapped his fiancée and he chases after them.
Meanwhile, the outlaws make a pitstop at a hideout, and Jennifer asks Slayton when he’ll let her go. He responds when they are out of Arizona, and she presses asking when exactly they’ll be out of the state. Slayton says, “Arizonans are like Texans. They say they’re never out of Arizona.”
The Red Crossing is one of Sedona’s most breathtaking areas, and it served as one of the “Gun Fury” filming locations. Musicians, artists, and filmmakers have drawn inspiration from the panoramic vistas for years.
The Red Crossing Trail is equally a popular hiking and photography spot. Found within the Red Rock State Park, visitors can unwind at the Crescent Moon Picnic Area, fish at Oak Creek, or bike along the scenic trail.
Ben releases Jess scene in Gun Fury
Yavapai County, AZ
Hot on the outlaws’ heels on a stagecoach horse, Ben finds Jess tied up to a buzzard's corral post. Ben releases him and the men enter into an unlikely alliance, even though Jess doesn’t understand Ben’s need to rescue Jennifer and Slayton's need to haul her around.
He pointed out to Slayton, “as far as I’m concerned, they’re all alike. They just got different faces so you can tell them apart.”
Jess is driven by the desire to exert revenge and to get a share of the gang’s stolen loot. As they pursue the outlaws, the duo encounters an Apache who lost some of his people to a raid organized by Slayton’s gang.
Located close to the center of the United States, Yavapai County was also a “Gun Fury” location. The County harbors some of Arizona’s best attractions including the Agua Fria National Monument, Bell Rock, and the Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
The Jerome State Historic Park in Jerome and the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott are worth visiting to drench up some history and culture about the state.
Slayton proposes a trade deal scene in Gun Fury
Grand Canyon National Park, Coconino County, AZ
The trio catches up with the outlaws, who have since kidnapped yet another woman. One of the gang members, Blackie (Lee Marvin), becomes fascinated by a Mexican woman and they also take her along on their journey.
Slayton and his gang realize that three revenge seekers are hot on their trail. Unsettled and wanting to shake them off, he proposes a deal. Slayton offers to trade Jennifer for Jess. Agreeing with the terms while telling Ben he can on Slayton, bringing to mind Jess’s previous words, “don’t worry Mr. Hampton, I’ll eat with you.”
Some areas around Coconino County in Arizona provided the setting for “Gun Fury” film sets. Coconino County, found in the state’s north-central area, is rich in attractions ranging from national parks to rock formations.
Photographers and sightseers are often drawn to Antelope Canyon while the Grand Canyon National Park is a thrill-seeker’s haven. The Bright Angel Trail, Chapel of the Holy Cross, and Desert View Watchtower are worth checking out.
Ben and Jennifer stay at a hotel scene in Gun Fury
Hassayampa Inn, 122 E Gurley St, Prescott, AZ
After reuniting, Ben and Jennifer spend the night at a hotel. They wind down the day in separate rooms and continue their journey the next morning.
Slayton would later speak highly of Jennifer when arguing with Jess about her saying, “to a man without taste, I suppose all things are alike. She’s as different from other women as cognac is from corn liquor.”
Although there isn’t adequate information about where they filmed the hotel scene, the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott should feature on your “Gun Fury” locations tour list. Rooted in the Roaring ‘20s, the establishment opened its doors in 1927 and it borrows its name from the Hassayampa River.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the town’s residents financed the hotel to attract Route 66 travelers. The Inn is found at 122 E. Gurley Street, within a walking distance of the Historical Whiskey Row and Courthouse Square.
Frankly, there are scant details about the filming locations of “Gun Fury,” but the concrete ones are fascinating. Other tidbits revealed about the movie are equally interesting, starting with Walsh being one-eyed.
While directing and starring in the 1928 film “In Old Arizona,” the director lost his right eye following an accident in the desert. He wore an eye patch after the accident, and depth perception is something else he lost after the crash. The inability to fully enjoy the 3-D experience didn’t prevent Welsh from filming the Western in that format.
3,000 Blu-ray copies in 3D and 2D versions were later released, accompanied by an eight-page booklet. The booklet features an essay penned by Julie Kirgo, the film’s original poster art, and tinted scene stills.