A FILM MAKER'S EXPERIENCE
I spent weeks researching my new film, Ghost of the Gold Rush, but as always the best experiences were the surprises and the things that seldom appear, even as footnotes, in guide books or written histories. I was armed with just enough knowledge, but lots of curiosity as to what the Wild West was really about. I already knew that ghost towns come in many degrees of ghostliness. Tombstone is anything but a tomb! It's far more lively than almost any town of its size, and just like the boom town days, it had plenty of good food and a few rough-looking taverns mimicking old saloons.
Jerome, Arizona was so crowded on a spring Sunday that I couldn't find a parking space, despite circling like a hungry buzzard for over half an hour. My favorite places ended up in this program, and many are places that almost anyone can get to. Once California's second largest city, Bodie ranks as one of the best ghost towns found anywhere. But, in the film we get to see it in a different way... on a twilight cemetery tour, complete with 19th century costumed re-enactors stationed at tombstones, bringing the town to life in the words of its original residents.
Montana is a gem in so many ways and its restored ghost towns of Virginia City and Bannack are so authentic that you feel the miners just left. In fact, mining never left Montana, and if you come to Bannack on one particular autumn week (check MT State Parks' website), you'll find the town alive with miners and towns people in period garb. Both towns are loaded with period artifacts that beg explanation and intact architecture that impresses. Plus, on a summer evening in Virginia City you can take in a live play in the Opera House!
Yes, Ghost of the Gold Rush was an exciting film to make. Deadwood, Tombstone. Robbers Roost, even today, these words speak to us of a wild, somewhat unsavory past. With more than their share of outlaws and 'lawless' lawmen, the boom towns and mining camps of the West became famous around the world. The film follows the footsteps of Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, and the Wild Bunch throughout the mountain west.
From the millions mined in Colorado, to the summits of California's Sierra Nevada and down to the foothills of the 49ers 'motherlode country', the ghosts of the gold rush are still with us. Pony Express stations, old stage stops and trading posts... to railroads to nowhere, the West reveals its long-hidden past in the mountains and deserts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and old New Mexico.
Journey to see the still-visible, rich history of the West that remains... and experience some of the most spectacular mountain and desert scenery in North America. Ghosts of the Gold Rush is new, in Hi Def and now available.
Note: I have joined the ranks of the “Independent” travel, adventure, documentary filmmakers and can be reached at Camera One, 1053 NE 88th St., Seattle WA 98115. 206-523-3456 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ghosts of the Gold Rush (NEW) - Hot Spots: America's Volcanic Legacy - Journey into the Great Unknown: Exploration of the Colorado River - Rediscovering Ancient America - Ghost Towns of the Wild West
SD shows via digital tape: Blazing Paddles! - America's Parklands - America's - Parklands II