"An 1880s Western Town, Surrounded by the High Desert Plains of Southeast Arizona and the Rincon Mountains."
The film history of the Mescal area dates back over 70 years with scenes from Winchester 73 with Jimmy Stewart, The Big Country with Gregory Peck, and Cimarron with Glenn Ford. The physical set was built as a town in 1968-1969 for Monte Walsh, starring Lee Marvin and Jack Palance. This movie mirrors the current situation with the Mescal Set. An aging cowboy realizes the west he loves will soon be gone, and there is no room for cowboys like him. Released the same year was the Western comedy Dirty Dingus Magee with the legendary Frank Sinatra. Another Hollywood legend graced the set when Elizabeth Taylor filmed Poker Alice.
A succession of movies followed, including The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean starring Paul Newman, The Outlaw Josey Wales with Clint Eastwood, and Tom Horn with Steve McQueen. The 1990s had major big-budget productions. Tombstone starred Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, and many other notables such as Charlton Heston, Harry Carey Jr., and narration by Robert Mitchum. It has become a cult classic and easily the most quoted western of all time. The Quick and the Dead followed with Hollywood "A-Listers" Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, Gene Hackman, and a very young Leonardo DiCaprio.
Country music fans will recall the 1986 remake of Stagecoach starring the Highwaymen, including Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristopherson. Mescal was also used in The Gambler with Kenny Rogers.
The Mescal Set was an alternative town set for many episodes of your favorite western TV series, including Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Magnificent Seven, and Little House on the Prairie. Fans will also remember it as the town of Sweetwater in The Young Riders series.
Mescal was also a popular site for TV Movies, including The Sacketts, with Tom Selleck, Glenn Ford, and Sam Elliott, Maverick with James Garner, Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, and Buffalo Soldiers with Danny Glover.
As of Valentine's Day 2021, Mescal became no longer attached to the Old Tucson Studios group as a secondary film site. The set is now on its own and building its notoriety as the world-famous Mescal Movie Set. Kartchner Ventures is thrilled to give Mescal a well-deserved facelift and is dedicated to helping bring the film industry back to Southern Arizona. Please join us in celebrating the re-opening of such a western treasure!