Cowboys and Indians
by Michael R Dougherty
What if there was a western movie shot in Alaska, but the entire cast were kids?
Back in the 1970's we actually started shooting the movie, "Cowboys and Indians" in Wasilla and Hatcher Pass, Alaska.
We started with a casting session at the Wasilla library. We advertised in the local newspaper. And much to the shock of both the library staff and us, so many people showed up with their children that the line outside wrapped all the way around the outside of the library. I ended up auditioning a huge amount of children from Wasilla and surrounding areas. We also had several local teens working with us behind the scenes.
In the movie, our western town was named Frisbe Gulch and we built the town on the outskirts of Wasilla.
Robert Benbow and my wife Mary J Dougherty were the producers, I wrote and directed the movie, my wife Mary also did hair, make-up and wardrobe for the movie. An amazing Alaskan cinematographer named Bill Bacon shot the movie and George Miller of Takotna Video Productions was our Director of Videography. Gary Lamar of Anchorage joined us as did Shonti Elder of Wasilla.
Somewhere in motion picture lore, there is an unwritten warning that goes something like this "don't do movies or TV shows with animals or children". Fortunately we paid no attention to that. The kids that were in on our movie were a wonderful delight to work with. And as for animals on the set, we had originally planned to use ponies, but after consulting a wrangler, we opted to go in a more creative direction for our horses.
Our cowboys rode "stick ponies". Now tell me, what kid hasn't ridden a stick pony? And ours looked really great.
The Wasilla countryside provided a beautiful background for our western town. And when the cameras finally began to roll and I yelled "action" for the first time, our amazing movie making adventure was underway.
Our cast was great, our local Production Assistance were incredible and our on-set Alaskan movie and television professionals were wonderful.
But making movies is a rocky, muddy road filled with many landmines. And this time, as a result, "Cowboys and Indians" was never completed.
Over the many years since "Cowboys and Indians", our cast and production assistance are now all adults. But they have kept the memory of working on or being in a movie with them for their entire lives. I also hear that some have family that don't believe them when they say they were in, or worked on a movie.
But now, we're put together a digital slideshow of the many pictures we took during the production of the movie.
So if you in the cast or if you worked on the movie "Cowboys and Indians" you can get a copy of this fun DVD slideshow.
Yes, now you can relive the fun of "Cowboys and Indians".
Check out this Cowboys and Indians DVD Slideshow right now.
Say hello and tell us what you did on "Cowboys and Indians" a movie made in and around Wasilla, Alaska.