Where was Paper Moon filmed?
Hays, Wilson, St. Joseph, Gorham, White Cloud, Boca Raton, Rulo, McCracken, Plainville
Diners/Coffee, Police/Jails, Hotels/Motels, Restaurant, Studios
Dated/50’s-60’s-70’s Building, Dilapidated/Neglected, Hotel/Motel Style, Ranch Style,
About Paper Moon
Released by Paramount Pictures in 1973, Paper Moon is an American road comedy-drama that focuses on the travels of con man Moses “Moze” Pray and Addie Loggins. The two main characters that con everyone into thinking that they are a father and daughter duo, were in fact, a real-life father and daughter duo, played by Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. Paper Moon was originally based on the novel Addie Pray written by Joe David Brown in 1971 and focuses on some of the travels that Addie and Moze embark on together.
Set in the year of about 1936, traveling con man Moses Pray is seen meeting a nine-year-old Addie Loggins at her mother’s graveside when neighbors suspect him to be Addie’s father. Although he denies that he is her father, he is still up for the task of taking the orphaned Addie all the way to her aunt’s home in Missouri.
He decides to fix up his old car while spending the rest on a train ticket for Addie. However, Addie overhears this entire exchange and before he can do anything about it, she demands that he pay her the full $200 that is rightfully hers. Seeing as he doesn’t have the money anymore, he takes her on his travels as he scams people, and much to his surprise, Addie is just as good as he is in this dastardly deed.
On their travels, they make much money, but also risk a lot, and in the finale, Moze seems to have bitten off more than he can chew when he gets caught by sheriffs who, outside their jurisdiction and unable to make an arrest, beat Moze and rob him and Addie of all of their savings. However, the movie ends on a relatively high note, as when Moze drops off Addie at her aunt’s house, she rejoins him on the road, explaining that he still needs to pay off the $200 that he owes her, and they catch the next truck and leave together.
Paper Moon Locations
Paper Moon was reliant on the expressive acting of the performers to really deliver the film. The scenery utilized throughout the movie was able to bring out the best in the actors. The majority of the shots for the film were within Kansas, so expect to travel around this state if you plan on looking for Paper Moon’s various film sets.
With many of these locations found in small towns and villages, it can be a bit of a hassle to track down all the filming locations of Paper Moon, especially considering that Kansas is known to be as “flat as a pancake” and every town and village look similar. However, it can be worth it if you plan on enjoying the scenery and the nature that comes with going on a road trip that passes through these areas.
Several of the locations used for film shoots no longer exist but there are still plenty of areas highlighted throughout the movie that you can explore. Visit the various villages and towns spread throughout Kansas, Missouri, and even Nebraska.
Tatum O’Neal was 10 years old when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress making her the youngest person to ever win an Oscar in a competitive category!
Moses Pray meets Addie Loggins Scene in Paper Moon
In the opening scenes of the movie, Addie Loggins stands at her mother’s funeral with a few others in attendance. Their singing is interrupted by a sputtering engine of a passing vehicle. We see a man hop out of the vehicle, pick up a bunch of flowers placed on another grave and head towards Annie Loggins and her group. When he arrives, everyone mentions how he looks similar to Annie and that since he’s headed to Missouri, he should take her to her aunt’s. She later asks, “How come you’re taking me?” He replies, “Because I’m going that way, honey.”
This opening scene is set in a relatively flat and sparse area which aids the film in showing just how virtually nobody knows who Annie Loggins is or whether she has a father still living. This filming location in Paper Moon was set in McCracken’s Nickel Cemetery and it's relatively easy to get to this filming location, as it's located at the intersection of Rush County Road 160 and Avenue East. To get there, take the K-4 that leads out of McCracken and then a right at Avenue East. You’re sure to get to the cemetery where this opening scene of Paper Moon was shot.
Moze Haggling for Addie’s Money Scene in Paper Moon
Introducing Addie Loggins to Mr. Robinson, Moze asks him, “Ain’t she a sweet child?” to which he replies with “No, she ain’t a sweet child.” Moze then starts blackmailing Mr. Robinson, claiming that he will get the best lawyer in all of Kansas to fight for Addie Loggins and that half of all of Mr. Robinson’s assets will be frozen because of her. To this, he asks how much Moze wants, and when Moze says a couple thousand, Mr. Robinson says two hundred dollars to which Moze agrees upon, which he then uses to fix his car.
This scene in Paper Moon was shot in the town of Wilson, along the current railroad that runs through the town. The name of the area where they shot this scene in Paper Moon was the Sunflower Coal buildings which are now abandoned. However, you can still visit this location as the buildings still stand to this day. To get there, you can travel along the Old U.S. 40. Turn on Avenue East where you will find the original building used to film this scene for Paper Moon.
Train Station Scene in Paper Moon
Seeking to make a profit off his scamming, Moze aims to drop Addie off at the nearest train station so that she can get to Missouri, and he can go elsewhere with his extra cash and fixed vehicle. Moze kneels on one knee and says to Addie “Here’s your train ticket and here’s 20 dollars for your aunt Billie.” Seeing as they have to wait some more, Moze asks Addie if she’s hungry and takes her to a restaurant to eat some food before he tries to leave her.
This scene was shot at the Gorham Train Station, which no longer exists today. However, it is still possible to visit the town of Gorham and there is still a railway line that runs through the town as well as the silos which can be seen in the original film.
To get to the area where the Gorham Train Station was, which served as one of Paper Moon’s shooting locations, travel along the Old US Highway 40. Head to the intersection between Chicago Street and 2nd Street to see the building that used to be the Gorham Train Station.
Hotel Scene in Paper Moon
With Moze being head over heels with Miss Trixie Delight, an “exotic dancer” he found at a local carnival, Addie, and Miss Trixie’s maid Imogene, devise a plan to get Moze’s head out of the clouds and back to earth. While Moze is out, they convince the hotel clerk to head to Trixie saying that she’s in “… room 235,” and that “she’s waiting for ya!” The hotel clerk responds with, “Ok, you tell her I’m on my way up sweetheart.” They later tell Moze to head up to room 235 and when they see him again, he tells her, “Get your things Addie, we’re leaving.” Indicating that Addie and Imogene’s plan worked out.
The hotel that was used for this part of the movie was the Midland Railroad Hotel which is located in Wilson. There are many ways in which you can reach the Midland Hotel, which served as one of the film sets for Paper Moon. Drive along the Old U.S. 40 and then up Avenue D. After heading past the railroad, you turn left along 26th Street where you will see the Midland Railroad Hotel & Restaurant.
Sheriff’s Department Scene in Paper Moon
White Cloud, Kansas
Caught by the bootlegger's brother, the sheriff, Addie and Moze devise a plan to escape their pursuers and it involves a lot of danger. While feigning needing to use the restroom, Addie beckons Moze to run with her as they head up the stairs and out of the Sheriff’s Department to a nearby car which she stole the key for.
While they attempt to escape the Sheriff, they have to dodge a few bullets and beat the car that’s chasing them. Almost hitting the sheriff who arrested them, Moze exclaims that, “I could’ve killed him, they could’ve had me up for murder!”
One of the few action scenes in Paper Moon, this scene was shot in White Cloud and the exterior of the Sheriff’s Department was here also.
Getting to this location is an easy task as the town of White Cloud is small. Drive along County Road and down Main Street towards the Missouri River. You’ll spot the building they used for the film along the left side of the road close to the Missouri River and the KS-7.
Moze and Addie Travel Again Scene in Paper Moon
Wanting to end his misfortune by being together with Addie, Moze hops on a truck and aims to leave her with her aunt in Missouri. The audience sees Addie with all of her baggage clearly wanting to travel with Moze. Moze tells her, “I told you, I don’t want you riding with me no more.” And when he gets angry that Addie brings up the fact that he still owes her 200 dollars, Addie exclaims, “Moze look!” Moze turns around to see his truck headed down the hill. He takes Addie’s baggage and tells her to hurry up as they both climb into the truck and head off for their next adventure.
This scene was shot in an isolated area called Kings Hill, on Codell Road located close to Plainville. To get to this location, drive along the KS-18 out of Plainville headed toward Codell. You then travel along Codell Road all the way down until you reach Kings Hill. You will see the location where they shot the ending scene of Paper Moon.
Considered one of the better action-comedy dramas within the 70s, Paper Moon was a one-of-a-kind film that went back to the black and white type of filming instead of transitioning into the more color-common films in the era. With scenery that allowed the actors to shine, Paper Moon really set the bar for how comedy films were produced for a while. Be sure to visit one of the many Paper Moon filming locations the next time you happen to be in Kansas!