pioneertown entrance

I’m glad I was born in the heart of the west.
The west is in my soul.
I’m glad that I’m livin’ where life’s at its best,
The best old ranges roll.
Because I’m up with the lark at the break of each dawn,
I ride till the sun turns gold.
In the sky he always was and he always will because
The west is in my soul!

Sons of the Pioneers, one of the founders of Pioneertown

Pioneertown Motel
Pappy + Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
Hayden Ranch

There’s a certain intrigue to old Western movie sets. Not only do they recall an earlier era of television and filmmaking, they rekindle a time and place of yesteryear. Pioneertown, located in the Morongo Basin region of California’s Inland Empire Metropolitan area, is one such movie set, but with a particular twist – it wasn’t only for filming, it also housed cast and crew, in effect becoming a living movie set. Built in the 1940’s by A.E. Thompson with funding from Roy Rogers, Dick Curtis, and Russell Hayden, Pioneertown helped breathe life into a memory, and continues to do so today.

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Lloyd Maines

Lloyd Maines showing how pedal steel is done on Joe Ely’s “Down on the Drag”

If you only know Lloyd Maines as father of “Chick” Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks, you’re missing out. Lloyd Maines is a steel guitarist and producer who’s been around the block, working with names such as Joe Ely, Guy Clark, and even Wilco.

Lloyd lists legendary steel guitarist Jimmy Day as one of his greatest influences. In his heyday, Jimmy Day seemed to be everywhere. Name a classic song and chances are, Jimmy played on it. Name a classic country artist and chances are Jimmy played with them- Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Willie Nelson and even Elvis. Jimmy Day was virtually everywhere.
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Top 30 Best Old Western Movies


These are Fiddlers & Fighters’ top 30 best old western movies sorted alphabetically because ranking them at this level is a fool’s game (full reviews of each movie coming soon):

Duck, You Sucker!
El Dorado
A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
Fort Apache
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Train Robbery
The Gunfighter
High Noon
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Mercenary
My Darling Clementine
Once Upon a Time in the West
The Ox-Bow Incident
Red River
Ride Lonesome
Ride the High Country
Rio Bravo
The Searchers
Seven Men From Now
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
The Tall T
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
True Grit
The Wild Bunch
Winchester ‘73
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