Sunday, September 5, 2021

Movie Location EP Ranch

by Anita Mae Draper

The Calgary Stampede, movie poster, 1925. Wikipedia

If you've been following my series on Edward Prince of Wales and the Edward Prince (EP) Ranch, you know that 1924 had been Edward's third visit since 1919 when he'd bought the old Bedingfeld Ranch near Pekisko, Alberta, Canada. As a true working ranch with qualified staff and hands, the ranch continued its breeding program, stock sales, and ranch maintenance no matter where Edward was in his schedule of royal duties as heir to the British throne. 

However, even without a royal visit, 1925 was an exciting year at the EP Ranch because it had been chosen as the location for some of the scenes in the silent western film The Calgary Stampede starring Hoot Gibson, Virginia Browne Faire, and among others, a very young Walter Brennan.

Hoot Gibson and party at EP Ranch, Pekisko, Alberta, 1925. Glenbow Archives

Second from the left in the above photo shows Helen Carlyle, daughter of EP Ranch Manager W.L. Carlyle. In this next photo, her father and the film's star Hoot Gibson, are enjoying themselves watching the action. 

Hoot  Gibson and W. L. Carlyle on EP Ranch, Pekisko, Alberta, 1925. Glenbow Archives

As stated on the movie poster at the top of this post, many scenes were also shot on location at the 1925 Calgary Stampede. I found a video by a youtube reviewer which shows parts of the actual film footage of The Calgary Stampede with commentary (time 2:55-5:35), and gives a great example of the silent film era.

Westember II - 4. Hoot Gibson in The Calgary Stampede (1925)

Other scenes were shot around the Calgary area.

Virginia Browne Faire and Hoot Gibson, Calgary, Alberta. 1925. Glenbow Archives

The 1992 Academy award winning movie Unforgiven starring and directed by Clint Eastwood also has scenes shot at the EP Ranch. Edward Buscombe's book with the same title as the movie Unforgiven states, "Most of the exteriors of Unforgiven were shot on the E.P. Ranch in Alberta in Canada, sixty miles southwest of Calgary." Running into Clint Eastwood in 1991 was said to be a common occurrence as several locations in Alberta were used extensively in the filming, as well as the Red Hills Ranch, Sonora, California. 

According to wikipedia, in 2004 Unforgiven was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". 

You can read previous posts on Prince Edward's EP Ranch at these links:

Do you watch the credits to see where a movie was filmed? I do. Sometimes I even get to visit the actual location. Watching the movie afterwards brings back memories of my trip and vice versa. A nice circle. 


Anita Mae Draper lives on the Canadian prairies where she uses her experience and love of history to enhance her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism and faith. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at


  1. What a fun post. I'm enjoying this series. And I do watch the credits to find out about locations. I often try to guess during the movie. The movie On Golden Pond was filmed near me in NH (I wasn't here at the time), and people still talk about it.

    1. Thanks, Linda. On Golden Pond is a great example of knowing a movie location, although it wouldn't be much fun if it was on private land and not advertised as someplace to visit. Thanks for letting me know it was in NH. :)

  2. Thanks for posting and continuing the story!

    1. And thank YOU for following along, Connie. I really appreciate your visits. :)

  3. I remember Hoot Gibson and his movies. Never saw any, but my grandpa loved them and was always talking about them. Interesting to read about the Calgary Stampede. My husband loves to watch them on TV. Been a great series. Thanks.

    1. Thank you, Martha. Your grandpa probably remembers Hoot Gibson the way that I remember Clint Eastwood. Saw him first in Three Mules for Sister Sarah when I was about 10 years old, and he's a movie draw for me each time. Like an old friend. :)
      Although I've never been to the Calgary Stampede, I've seen enough rodeos throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Alberta to know which parts I like the best. Not crazy about the dust...think it's a hoot in the mud. :D
      Thanks for dropping in and sharing.

  4. I do remember the name "Hoot Gibson" but not much more than that. When I lived in So. Calif. my roommate was from Calgary and she was always talking about the Calgary Stampede. Back then I wasn't that interested in rodeos and that sort of thing. Years later I spent a lot of time going to rodeos and even wrote a book about a bull rider. I never made it to the stampede with my roomie. We went our separate ways when we both moved out of Los Angeles. I love watched Heartland, the Netflix series set in the Canadian Rockies just a short distance from Calgary. The scenery is magnificent.

    1. Pam, even though you weren't interested in rodeos back in the day, perhaps your roommate was the inspiration for your tale of a bull rider years later. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. :)
      Yes, Heartland is filmed southwest of Calgary near Longview, which is also close to the EP Ranch. I believe parts of the movie Unforgiven were also filmed at Longview, as well as several other films.
      I'm excited that Heartland has been renewed for a 15th season on CBC, although I'm not sure about Netflix.
      Thanks for sharing.

  5. What fun and thank you! My mother and her family went to EP Ranch as children growing up in Calgary. WL was her uncle. The love of horses has carried on in each generation and my brother has discovered that Matthew Carlyle imported a number of Clydesdales from Scotland in the 1880's and of course the dairy had many horses too.