North To Alaska movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was North To Alaska filmed?

1960

About North To Alaska

John Wayne stars in North to Alaska, a 1960 hybrid comedy Western/Northern picture directed by Henry Hathaway. Wayne portrays Sam McCord, and he shares the screen with Stewart Granger (George Pratt), Capucine (Angel), Ernie Kovacs (Frankie Cannons), and Fabian (Billy Pratt).

Set in the early 1900s, during the Nome gold rush, the film centers on George and his mining partner Sam. The duo strikes gold, and it changes their fortunes overnight. Sam subsequently sets off to Seattle to buy mining equipment.

George asks him to return with Jenny Lamont (Lilyan Chauvin), his French fiancée. Even though the two haven’t met in person, they’ve corresponded for three years. Despite Sam’s distaste for marriage, he reluctantly agrees to honor George’s request

Before leaving town, he runs into Frankie, a newly arrived conman. On arrival in Seattle, Sam finds out that Lamont married another man. He decides to tag a lady of the night called Angel back with him to Nome as a substitute for George.

Angel misunderstands the arrangement, and aboard a ship heading to Nome, she becomes enamored by him because he treats her like a respectable lady. Eventually realizing the mix-up, Sam arranges for Angel to return to Seattle. After disembarking in Nome, he puts her up in a hotel to wait for the return boat to Seattle.

It turns out that Frankie has recently taken ownership over the business, after winning it from its former owner during a game of cards. Angel refuses to stay at the hotel given she has a history with Frankie who wants them to rekindle their relationship. She flees with Sam to the homestead he shares with the Pratts.

Back at the homestead, Sam tells George about the turn of events. George rejects Angel at first glance but he gradually starts developing feelings for her after getting to know her better. George soon realizes that Angel is more interested in Sam who has also taken a liking to her.

In the background, Frankie has a scheme in motion aimed at swindling the Pratts and Sam out of their land claim but the authorities soon uncover his duplicity. As Angel is preparing to go back to Seattle, Sam finally musters the courage to express his feelings and convinces her to stay.

City Locations

California

Location Types

Beach/Oceanview, Naturescapes

Location Styles

Beachfront

North To Alaska Locations

The North to Alaska production process kicked off in May 1960 and filming wrapped up later in August that year. While the title of the movie implies that it is set in Alaska or might have been filmed in the constituent state, filming never took place in the semi-exclave.

Various locations around California served as the setting for plenty of scenes seen in the movie. A few of the film shoots took place in Canada’s Yukon, which is the westernmost and smallest out of the country’s three territories.

When cameras started rolling, the production didn’t have a complete script and most of the scenes were heavily improvised. The filming process was delayed due to the writers’ strike but eventually, Ben Hecht stepped in as the script doctor.

Everything aligned, and that’s why the epic film exists with memorable scenes like when Fabian’s character serenaded Angel while she took a realistic no-foam bath. There’s more to dive into about the film, and here are some of the best scenes in North to Alaska and their real-life filming locations

Fun facts:

The movie’s opening credits feature Johnny Horton’s hit song “North to Alaska.”

Sam declares his feelings for Angel scene in North To Alaska

Point Mugu, California

The love triangle between the three main characters is perhaps one of the film’s highlights. When the movie starts, George is the one who is open to matters of the heart, until Sam returns from Seattle with word that his French paramour is married to someone else.

Sam on the other hand is disgusted by the concept of marriage, and he is reluctant from the start to heed George’s request to bring his fiancé from Seattle to Nome. Sam’s sentiments are summed up by his famous line, “George, a wonderful thing about Alaska is that matrimony hasn’t hit up here yet. Let’s keep it a free country!.”

Both still end up taken by Angel, the lady of the night who returns with Sam from Seattle. Even Billy, George’s 17-year-old brother, takes a liking to her and goes out of his way trying to impress her. The bathtub serenade is amongst the most memorable.

However, none beats the scene when Sam finally declares his feelings for Angel in the final scene before she boards the boat to Seattle. He does it in style by metaphorically shouting it from the rooftops.

Point Mugu features prominently in the film, and the location stood for the Alaskan shoreline. It also provided a setting for the exterior town and beach scenes. The cape rests in Ventura County, on the Pacific Coat, within the Point Mugu State Park.

There’s a campsite available, and the park includes 5 miles of shoreline. Hop onto the 6, 117,3, or CC bus to get to the North of Alaska filming location.

Sauna bath scene in North To Alaska

Yukon, Canada

Before setting off to Seattle, Sam runs into Frankie at a local sauna bath. Sam is careless when it comes to displaying his newfound fortune, hence rousing Frankie’s interest. In turn, the slimy con artist sets out to scheme his way into having some of the money.

Frankie attempts a small con by calling attention to a thief who supposedly tried to raffle through Sam’s clothes. Sam offers to buy him a drink, and as Frankie theatrically goes about inspecting his clothes, he realizes that something is amiss.

He tells Sam, “Guess what, while I was looking out for you, that bum robbed me clean.” Sam offers him some money for a diamond ring, which is supposedly the only possession Frankie has left after the robbery. Shortly after the exchange, Sam realizes that the sparkler is fake.

Stuart A. Reiss and Walter M. Scott were the film’s set designers. The duo did a great job at springing the North to Alaska film set. The precise location used for the steamy set isn’t known, but the filming process also took place in Yukon, Canada.

The Canadian territory offers plenty of opportunities to unwind while skiing, angling, canoeing, hunting, or dog sledding. Whitehorse, the

Honeymoon cabin scene in North To Alaska

Hot Creek, Mammoth Lakes

In a bid to get him to admit that he is in love with Angel, George attempts to incite Sam’s jealousy. He exerts his plan by spending the night with Angel at the “honeymoon” cabin. They pretend that they are having a boisterously wonderful time hoping to get under Sam’s skin.

The tickling scene is a short but memorable one. It cuts off when George bursts through the open door, shouting “Timber!” Actress Capucine reportedly couldn’t laugh the way Wayne wanted for that scene, leading to the improvisation of tickling her feet.

Situated at Hot Creek Hatchery Road, Hot Creek served as the setting for the “honeymoon” cabin scene. The locale is in Mono County near Mammoth Mountain and situated within the Inyo National Forest.

The creek bed is a geological sight to marvel at, with bubbles of boiling water dancing on the surface. Periodic geyser eruptions and fumaroles also take place in the area. It’s prohibited to enter the water, but you can visit the North to Alaska location for a photo op.

Depending on your starting point, the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) or Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA) transit systems can get you to the Mammoth Lakes area.

Angel and Sam set off to his homestead scene in North To Alaska

Mount Morrison, Sierra Nevada

When Angela and Sam arrive in Nome, he checks her into the local hotel. They soon discover that Frankie took ownership of the establishment after winning it during a card game. It is revealed that Frankie and Angel have a history together. He wants her to be his girl again, and Angel isn’t happy with it.

Angel stages a fight as a diversion and storms out of the hotel. In that single instance, she tears Sam’s sentiments to shreds when he said, “Women! I never met one yet that was half as reliable as a horse.” The pair then sets off to the homestead Sam shares with the Pratt brothers.

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada, Mount Morrison appears in several North to Alaska scenes. The rock formations in the area are renowned for their superb coloring, ranging from brown to yellow and red.

The easiest access is through Convict Lake, located south of Mt. Morrison. Its imposing north face lent the formation its nickname as the “Eiger of the Sierra.” The rocks are very loose, and climbers are to exercise caution.

The muddy fight scene in North To Alaska

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine

Frankie’s final scheme that ends up being his undoing is a plot to take over the Pratt brothers and Sam’s land claim. He conned an illiterate drunk into filing a false claim on the trio’s claim discovery.

Soldiers inform the Pratts and Sam about the filing and instruct them that they can’t take any gold discovered until the dispute is solved. Sam, who was about to up and leave, resists the soldiers' decree that he can’t go until the matter concludes.

He is arrested and the Pratt brothers alongside Angel follow him to town. That is when Frankie’s scam unravels, and a brawl breaks out in the muddy streets. It’s even more hilarious when the Salvation Army band who are amongst the towns folk watching the fight breaks into song belting out “Oh when the Saints, go marching in.”

Rock formations near the Sierra Nevada’s eastern slope make up the Alabama Hills. Found within Inyo County, west of Lone Pine, the range of hills also provided a backdrop for some North to Alaska scenes.

The Alabama Hills have served as a setting for numerous other productions, including the lost films Water, Water Everywhere, and The Cowpuncher. A gateway to the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and Mount Whitney, the Alabama Hills are part of the reason why dispersed camping has increased in the region.

Sam throws Billy in the river scene in North To Alaska

Big Bear Lake

Besides being anti-marriage, quick with his fist, and perhaps short-tempered, Sam provides plenty of comic relief with his mannerisms. His statement to Angel, “I'm on your side, lady! Any woman who devotes herself to making one man miserable, instead of a lot of men happy, don't get my vote” further reveals his thoughts about getting hitched.

Another comical scene involving Sam is when he pushes Billy into the river. It’s after Billy spends the night drinking, and the river toss is meant to sober him up.

Located within the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake was also featured in some of the North to Alaska scenes. The four-season lake escape is the perfect getaway for snowboarding, biking, hiking, fishing, and skiing enthusiasts. The bus 5 line will get you to Big Bear Lake.

Conclusion

If you have your heart set on exploring some of the North to Alaska filming locations, you now have plenty of references from varying scenes and locations in the movie. The Big Bear Valley is another region that is featured in the comedy Western.

In Lone Pine, the Museum of Western Film History is worth a visit. The gallery exhibit contains information about new and old legends, memorabilia, and other relics recounting the cinematic journey of Western productions.