Claire Trevor and John Wayne star in John Ford's Oscar-winning 1939 "Stagecoach." This scene —
the ride through Beale's Cut — is the only portion of this film known to have been shot in the Santa Clarita
In this scene, the stage is being chased through Monument Valley by Geronimo and the Apaches as it
makes the trip from Bisbee, Ariz., to Lordsburg, N.M. Of course, Beale's Cut isn't really in Monument
Valley — it's in Newhall — and the so-called Apaches who can be seen atop the hill in this
scene aren't really Apaches; they're Navajo.
In his autobiography, "My Life East and West," actor and Newhall resident
Bill Hart (who wasn't in "Stagecoach") criticized Ford not for the settings, but for
his approach to the action. Hart said the chase scene would have been more realistic if
Ford had the Indians shoot the lead horses pulling the stagecoach. Ford's responded, "In
actual fact that's probably what did happen, (but) if they had, it would have been the end
of the picture, wouldn't it?" Ford had the cavalry arrive just in time to save the day.
This, in today's jargon, was Wayne's "break-out film." He was the eighth-highest-paid actor
in the movie, raking in $3,700 for his co-leading role. It was shot in 47 days.