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Monument Valley

The west is probably the mythical home of Road Runner. John Wayne and families in wagons, heading for a fresh start on the rugged frontier. Wide open sky and these big red rock formations make up its stereotypical backdrop like the one in the movies in cartoons. However when you look at a bunch of those movies back to back, you start to notice something. There's always this stone shot of a canyon of the west. This portrayal of the west kinds of looks the same whenever we see it. That's because this specific group of formations is unique to one place: Monument valley. So how did this one become a symbol of the American west? Monument Valley is on the Arizona-Utah border, inside the Navajo Nation Reservation. Its Towering red sandstone, formation, called buttes rise hundreds of feet above the desert floor, For Centuries, only Native Americans- Specifically the Paiute and Navajo- Occupied this remote landscape, fielding conflicts with the US Government, Non-Indigenous people began to visit in the early 20th Century, and In the early 1920s Colorado Sheep trader Harry Goulding and his wife Leone set up a trading post on the Utah side of the monument valley, which is the side of the monument valley, which at the time was just outside of the Navajo Reservation. In the 1930s this area was hit hard by drought; the Great Depression; and a forced reduction of livestock by the US government, which was slashed. A Vital Source income. Goulding tried for years to draw attention to Monument Valley's stunning landscape, thinking tourism could help boost the local economy. But According to Goulding, The area’s big break didn’t come until 1938, when he brought photos of monument valley to Hollywood. Stagecoach, directed by John Ford shot primarily on location in Monument Valley, revolutionized the western. Elevating the genre from the low budget “pulp” reputation it had developed in the 1930s- Whats Known as “B” Movie… into one of Hollywood’s most popular genres for the 20 years. It was also the breakout role for American icon John Wayne. Who until this point had spent years starring in “B” westerners like 1933’s Riders of Wayne: “ Make it fast, slippery. This is your law draw. Stagecoach mainstreamed Western, and it's here the audiences began to associate monument Valley with mythic American West. An Epic soul, Isolates landscape full of potential.



The Kind of place outlaws and outcasts could find a fresh start. Following Fords, other filmmakers began using monument valley as their Western Including ford Himself, Seven more times. Most Notably in the searchers, often regarded as the ultimate Western. But that didn't matter. By then. Monument valley was a cliche. And Cliches Are useful for storytelling. They signal to the audience what kind of story this is or set a familiar tone in advertising. Those buttes are so ingrained in pop culture that they can be used as shorthand for stories of western adventure. Which might be why the Coen brothers Chose it as the backdrop for the opening scene of the Ballad of Buster Scruggs, their 2018 Homage and parody of the genre. When the Film company that made stagecoach wrapped production and left tMonument Valley In Late 1938, it had paid Navajo locals somewhere around $50,000. Hundreds had worked as crew members and extras, though they played the roles of Apache “bad guys” according to reports at the time, that money was enough to get them through the winter. According to reports at the time, that money was enough to get them through the winter. And as Monument Valley's reputation grew, Goulding’s Plan to bring in Tourism. The monument valley Navajo Tribal Park now sees around $350,000 visitors each year. Tourists can visit the trading post and go on Navajo-led tours of the famous buttes and they get there by taking this on the monument valley, US Highway 163. You’ve probably seen it before it's where Forrest Gump ended his famous run Across America.


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