Old Tucson Studios

Do you know who one of Claire’s favorite actors is? John Wayne. Yes, really, The Duke. She’s watched a handful of his westerns, and she absolutely loves him.

You can’t say that about very many 9-year olds.

When we were in Tucson, we’d talked about the different sights we wanted to see on this trip. We mentioned Old Tucson Studios, and said that John Wayne had filmed some movies there. She didn’t seem overly excited about this adventure, and I couldn’t figure out why, but I didn’t think much of it.

As luck would have it, we arrived just as one of the included tours was starting. As we were walking around with the cowboy (who has played in many movies as an extra, etc.) giving us all kinds of background and insider information about the various sets, all of a sudden, Claire squeezes my hand.

“Mom! I recognize that building out of Eldorado!” she squealed as she pointed at one of the buildings. “…and that one is out of McClintock! JOHN WAYNE HAS BEEN HERE!? YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THAT’S WHERE WE WERE GOING!”

It finally dawned on her why we were there. We were there so she could see some of the places where John Wayne had actually filmed some westerns.

She was floored. Seeing her excitement was worth the price of admission.

After the guided tour, we caught a show put on by some stuntmen, and that was entertaining, complete with gunfights and explosions! Then, we explored on our own.

Click photos for more detail.

Old Tucson Studios Stagecoach

Old Tucson Studios High Chaparral

Old Tucson Studios Waterwheel

Old Tucson Studios Girl and Waterwheel

This car was harder to control than you'd think. I'd scoffed at the rail down the middle of the road, but it kept us from barreling into some cacti...

This car was harder to control than you’d think. I’d scoffed at the rail down the middle of the road, but it kept us from barreling into some cacti at one point…

...and as you can see by Papa hiding his face, Grandma's driving may not have been much better!

…and as you can see by Papa hiding his face, Grandma’s driving may not have been much better than mine!

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