Where Was Cowboys And Aliens Filmed?

In theory, the idea of a Western combines with Aliens sounds fabulous. Tied together with some intense action, an exceptional cast, and a decent plot, you should even have a blockbuster hit on your hands, right? Unfortunately, this was not what happened in the case of Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens. What should have been the greatest blockbuster of the season tanked so phenomenally that it became a tragedy of epic proportions. The biggest question at this point was how a movie that combined two beloved genres like western and alien invasion ended up being a flop. It sure looked like a hit waiting to happen and still, things went super awry in the end.

Sadly, a fancy cast, big-budget, and reputed director are not a sure-shot formula for success. The plot matters just as much if not more and a little more thought in naming the movie might possibly have done wonders for it. The what-ifs regarding Cowboys and Aliens might continue to haunt us but one aspect of the movie that was undeniable was its location choice. It was on-point and authentic, the perfect choice. Here’s what you need to know about the location of Cowboys And Aliens.

Where was Cowboys And Aliens Filmed?

The majority of the outdoor scenes in Cowboys and Aliens were filmed in northern New Mexico. The picturesque Abiquiú and Santa Fe areas near US84 were used to shoot a majority of the action scenes. Interestingly, Cowboys and Aliens was not Ford’s first time in Abiquiú, the fourth Indiana Jones movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was also shot here.

As for the shabby Western town ‘Absolution’ that was central to a lot of the drama and action in the movie, it was constructed at Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch which spans several thousand acres, approximately eight miles south of Santa Fe. Like Abiquiú, this ranch is a hotspot for shooting Hollywood films. The Cowboys starring John Wayne, Anthony Mann’s The Man From Laramie, and Ace In The Hole were among famous westerns that were shot here.

Can you visit the locations where Cowboys And Aliens was filmed?

Abiquiú is actually quite a touristy place with lots of things to do besides exploring the iconic movie location itself. From Ghost Towns to museums, there is a lot of culture and activities offered in Abiquiú that one can explore besides wanting to check out where Cowboys and Aliens was shot.

Unfortunately, Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch is a tab bit exclusive. Unless you’re looking for a good western set, it’s very unlikely that you can just enter for a casual visit. If you are really keen and want a tour of the ranch, then it’s best to visit their website and get in touch with the ranch directly.


Despite all the negativity and slack that Cowboys and Aliens received a decade ago, it’s now such a bad idea if you choose to revisit the movie or even check it out for the first time in 2021. Now, when the film does not have to contend with a gazillion other alien genre films and be weighed down by extreme expectations, it might be enjoyable for the casual audience. As long as you don’t go in expecting to have your mind-blown, the decent acting and western theme might make this movie a fun sci-fi watch.

Featured Image Source: Universal Pictures

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