Where is that forest and what kind of trees are they? Time for some forestry forensics!
IMDB mentions many filming locations in Durango, Mexico. One location is El Saltillo, Durango. And bingo, if you google images for "El Saltillo Durango Mexico", you get many images with the waterfalls and some with the trees. Aha!
I found someone's blog (in Spanish) and it looks like he visited this forest which he calls "arboles de Sabino (Taxodium mucronatum) El Saltito en Nombre de Dios Durango Mexico". Googling "El Saltito en Nombre de Dios" gets more pictures of the falls. Here's a video of the falls.
Names for this tree are: sabino, Montezuma cypress, ciprés, pénjamu, Mexican cypress, āhuēhuētl, and Ahuehuete. The tree grows to a fabulously large size, so much so that one multi-trunked tree in Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico is considered the stoutest tree in the world. This tree gets a bit of space on the Monumental Tree website's "Biggest Tree in the World" page.
|YES that is a person on the left!|
This is from the Monumental Trees page for the
Montezuma cypress trees close to the church
of Santa María de la Asunción in Santa María del Tule
Hmmm, I'm seeing that maybe Taxodium mucronatum might now be Taxodium hueglii???
Back to the movie. Because I could not find any good images online from the movie, here are some snaps to show these amazing trees. To admire these Montezuma cypresses yourself, check out the movie.
|Of course, these are the bad guys. |
The guy in black is James Gregory (Morgan Hastings).
The others will be identified shortly.
Familiar faces, I'm sure, to fans of westerns.
|The triple waterfalls,|
El Saltito, Cascada en Nombre de Dios
|Over the river.|
|The tree to the left of the bridge.|
|Montezuma cypress is usually associated with water,|
but can live without when it gets older.
|John Wayne (John Elder)|
|The trees were front and center in the action.|
|Not sure which Elder brother (Bud? Matt?)|
So now I wondered if there any big Montezuma cypresses in California.
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has a tree listed on campus. The SelecTree database uses Taxodium hueglii and there are some locations listed in their entry along with some good pictures of all parts of the tree. The SelecTree website only says the tree will get to 40 foot wide canopy by 80 feet tall, not as big as the Santa María del Tule, which is 100 feet in girth (about 32 feet in diameter for just the trunk) and 116 feet tall. Certainly not something you plant under your powerlines or in your tiny backyard.
- LA Arboretum is listed as having a tree.
- Sacramento Capitol Park has a registered California Big Tree Montezuma cypress.
- In Santa Barbara, Alameda Plaza and Alice Keck Gardens...
- Huntington Gardens in San Marino has a tree that was planted in 1912.
- According to wikipedia, the Getty Center has a grove in the main courtyard. I think I remember seeing them!
- Monumental Trees has a list worldwide in case you are travelling.
- The Roadside Arboretum lists a tree on private property in the Niles area.
- The Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco lists a tree in its Meso-American Cloud Forest section.
- Stanford has apparently lost two trees and suggest visiting the UC Berkeley Botanic garden.
- There may be one at the California Nursery Park in Fremont. See pictures below.
|This little tree is marked as a Taxodium mucronatum, I think.|
I need to check again.
The Boy Scouts map of trees says there is a Montezuma cypress in this area.
|Close up of the foliage.|
There is a new survey for the park's trees.
When it has been published here,
I will check.
Some good references:
- The Spanish language wikipedia article for Taxodium mucronatum has a picture of the foliage.