Saturday, April 21, 2018

When Hollywood Came to the Wallowas.

The filming of Paint Your Wagon, a Western musical filmed in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest fifty years ago, is being commemorated at the Baker Heritage Museum this year.

Set in a remote California gold rush town called No Name City, the main characters, played by Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg, were working out the question of whether a woman can have two husbands.

The Making Of - "PAINT YOUR WAGON" - Behind The Scenes by jleepixprod

The action started in May 1968, with the construction of No Name City at East Eagle and Jack Creeks. A Forest Service sign marks the spot today. A model of the boom town is part of the museum exhibit. Other area filming sites included a tent city at the convergence of Kettle Creek and East Eagle, a stage stop at Anthony Lakes, and a mill in Baker City.

A casting office for extras opened in Baker City and all the excitement made for a memorable summer for the locals, who remember running into various stars around town, as well as being exposed to a lot of hippies who came up from California to be extras.

Clint Eastwood enjoyed fly fishing during his time off, and Lee Marvin preferred drinking with locals in area taverns. In fact, rumor has it Marvin's heavy drinking during the filming led to delays and many retakes. The delays frustrated Eastwood, who said the experience strengthened his resolve to become a director, according to

A woman named Mary Ann was just 14 at the time, lived about a mile from No Name City, which her father helped build. It was exciting to watch all the actors, extras, and even a bear, being chauffeured past their home each day on the way to the set. Her recollections are part of an archive at

Here is a Baker City Herald article from 2001 where some locals share stories about how the filming and rubbing shoulders with the stars impacted them.

If you were there and have stories to share, or just want to hear local tales of when Hollywood came to the Eagle Cap, mark your calendar for Thursday, June 14th, at 6 pm for the Paint Your Wagon Storytelling Event at the museum. Admission: Adults (13+) $7.00, Seniors (60+) $6.00, Children (12 and under) Free. The museum is open daily for the season, 9am - 4pm. 2480 Grove Street, Baker City, OR 97814, 541-523-9308.

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