Max Evans' 1960 novel The Rounders, filmed in Sedona by director Burt Kennedy and released by MGM in 1965, was the first of a trilogy of books following the antics of ne'er-do-well cowpokes Ben Jones and Marion "Howdy" Lewis. Neither sequel was ever made into a movie, but the Jim Ed Love character originated by foghorn-voiced actor Chill Wills, reappeared in 1998’s The Hi-Lo Country, directed by Stephan Frears. Based on Evans’ 1961 book, Sam Elliott took the part of Jim Ed. The Rounders spun off a 1966-’67 ABC-TV series with Ron Hayes and Patrick (son of John) Wayne taking over the roles originated by Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda. Chill Wills returned as Jim Ed Love.
Having played host to more than 60 Hollywood productions—from the early years of cinema through the 1970s—Sedona, Arizona’s unsung role in American film is the topic of this blog. Here, once and for all Sedona gets her due as a key location in movie history, a silent but stunning backdrop to all genres of movies including silent films, B westerns, World War II propaganda, and film noir.