The film industry was a significant chapter in Sedona’s unique history, especially the western genre. For more than 30 years, westerns were the most popular movies in America. It was no surprise then that some of the biggest Hollywood stars came to Sedona to film, sometimes more than once. They spanned the spectrum of talent, from the most iconic performers to newcomers developing their craft.
One of the great experiences about watching a movie made in Sedona more than half a century ago is picking out familiar scenic landmarks. So many films were made in Sedona during the peak of western movie popularity that some producers and directors worried it had been over exposed.
Having no mining or industry nor being on a major transportation corridor, and as Sedona transitioned from the agricultural based economy of the pioneers, the influx of money from Hollywood became critical to residents. Town leaders courted Hollywood studios to continue the shooting that displayed Sedona’s beautiful scenery around the world and was helping to create a foundation for a burgeoning tourism trade.
Unfortunately, as the interest in Westerns declined in popularity, and with the advent of the Sedona Airport and development of subdivisions, the heyday of the area’s filmmaking came to an end.
The archives of the Sedona Historical Society and their Sedona Heritage Museum hold more than 50,000+/- photographs of area people, places and activities. They respond to almost 500 requests/year for assistance from researchers, authors, family descendants and interested residents and visitors.