Traveling through America’s
Western National Parks… By Film

Posted by Kim Charles on 6/5/2018
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Film, National Parks, Nature

National Parks FilmsWhen my younger sister decided to leave the east coast behind and attend Colorado State as her college of choice and now permanent home, I knew exciting doors were about to open for my family and me. We now had a reason to break away from the east coast and venture west for the first time.

During my first trip to the Mile-High City of Denver, I immediately noticed the cultural differences, including a more relaxed attitude towards life in general. This equates to a community of people focused on enjoying an outdoor-inspired lifestyle in a vast mountainous playground.

With its array of endless hikes, unexpected wildlife sightings, the “Wild West” cowboy culture and the wide expanse of the Continental Divide viewable from many locations, Rocky Mountain National Park is a place I still yearn to visit each summer... never repeating the same hike twice!

These movies, set in the great national parks, all have something unique to offer and will surely inspire you to dream about your next trip westward...

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Zion National Park
Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in this true story complete with fast draws and wild rides, train and bank robberies, a torrid love affair, and a new lease on life in faraway Bolivia.

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
Zion National Park
A mountain man (Robert Redford) who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.

The Electric Horseman (1979)
Zion National Park
A former champion rodeo rider is reduced to using his saddle skills to promote a breakfast cereal in a gaudy Las Vegas show. When he's asked to perform with a $12-million horse, the story gets interesting.

The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
When a U.S. Navy captain shows signs of mental instability that jeopardizes the ship, the first officer relieves him of command and faces court martial for mutiny. This movie features Humphrey Bogart at his best.

North by Northwest (1959)
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
Cary Grant plays a hapless New York advertising executive mistaken for a Government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

The Shining (1980)
Glacier National Park, Montana
Estes Park, Colorado – By Rocky Mountain National Park
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future... Stephen King and Jack Nicholson at their finest.

The Long, Long Trailer (1953)
Yosemite National Park
Nicholas (Desi Arnaz) has to travel for his job as an engineer - so his fiancé, Tacy (Lucille Ball), suggests that rather than buy a house they invest in a motor home so they can see the country together. The aggravations of life on the road soon set in taking a toll on the happy couple.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Filmed in Summit County
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and family set out to have the perfect family Christmas until… in true Griswold fashion… things go awry.

Rocky IV (1985)
Grand Teton National Park
Rocky Balboa proudly holds the world heavyweight boxing championship, but a new challenger has stepped forward: Drago, a six-foot-four, 261-pound fighter who has the backing of the Soviet Union.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Yosemite National Park
Captain Kirk and his crew must deal with Mr. Spock's long-lost half-brother who hijacks the Enterprise for an obsessive search for God at the center of the galaxy.

Thelma & Louise (1991)
Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park
This classic American road film features two best friends (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis) who set out on an adventure that soon turns into a terrifying escape from the police.

The River Wild (1994)
Near Glacier National Park, Montana
Rafting expert Gail (Meryl Streep) takes on a pair of armed killers while navigating a spectacularly violent river.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
Benjamin Gates must follow a clue left in John Wilkes Booth’s diary to prove his ancestor’s innocence in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Nebraska (2013)
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
In this critically acclaimed film, an aging booze-addled father (Bruce Dern) makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes prize.



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