The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Filming Locations Guide

Ballad of Buster Scruggs location
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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs are actually six separate stories oscillating between comedy and drama. The anthology western film is the new project of Joel and Ethan Coen for Netflix.

All the tales have in common to be set in the 19th-century American West, and somehow death is always present in each episode. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was filmed in some stunning locations in New Mexico, Colorado and Nebraska. The production required from classic desert landscapes to evergreen mountain scenery. Here is a selection of the most relevant filming locations of the movie:

Ballad of Buster Scruggs filming locations
The first act, also called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, is the hilarious short story of singing-cowboy. After the initial establishing shots showing Monument Valley (also featured as a Westworld filming location), our hero goes through the dramatic landscapes of New Mexico playing guitar. We can recognize the basalt cliffs of Diablo Canyon near Albuquerque (picture below) and the chimney rocks in Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, a perfect setting for the cantina in the middle of nowhere.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
Image courtesy of Netflix - Map


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs town location
The town of Frenchman's Gulch was filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe in New Mexico. This is a veteran western movie town location built in 1955. It has hosted many productions from Walker, Texas Ranger or John Carpenter' Vampires to 2017's Netflix series Godless or 2020 Disney's movie Stargirl set in Mica, Arizona. It happens to be that The CW superhero series Stargirl is set in Blue Valley, Nebraska.
Image courtesy of Netflix - Google Maps


Where was Buster Scruggs filmed
Near Algodones is the tale of a bank robber (James Franco) with intermittent good luck. According to The Location Guide, the western towns of Eaves Ranch and San Cristobal Ranch in New Mexico and surroundings were used to film some sections of the movie. Image courtesy of Netflix


Carriage going through the snowed mountains
The third episode Meal Ticket with Liam Neeson and Harry Melling, is about a limbless performer and his manager. They travel remote towns in a wagon convertible into a small theatre stage. The mountainous scenery was filmed in Colorado. Image courtesy of Netflix


All Gold Canyon location
All Gold Canyon is based on a Jack London story. Tom Waits plays a prospector arriving in a pristine valley looking for a vein of gold, Mr. Pocket. This extraordinary landscape is also in Colorado. Doing some research we found out that the Coen brothers filmed in Piney river, a hundred miles west of Denver. There is a hiking trail starting at Piney Lake, you can find more information about the Upper Piney River area following this link.
Image courtesy of Netflix - Google Maps


Ballad of Buster Scruggs drehort
The Gal Who Got Rattled starring Jefferson Mays as Gilbert and Zoe Kazan as Alice Longabaugh, is the story of a woman on the Oregon Trail who needs help after his brother passed away during the journey. The Credits reports that to film this section of the movie the team constructed 15 period covered wagons from scratch in New Mexico. Then they were transported to the filming location west of Scottsbluff on the North Platte River, Nebraska. The episode was shot in several locations including FX Bar Ranch and the Hughson Ranch in Sioux County.

Did you like this new dark comedy from the Coen brothers? What is your favourite episode?
Can you help to improve this article about the filming locations of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs?

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9 comments

  1. Wonderful work, thank you RA Moon.

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  2. I loved the movie, locations were beautiful

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  3. Very good work, thanks!

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  4. Fabulous. New, refreshing, and a fun watch! Thank you Cohen brothers & Netflix.

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  5. Amazing movie, a true gem, they don't make 'em like that anymore

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  6. It's very possible that the Coen's shot some shots in Piney River, but the wide shots during the "All Gold Canyon" piece were shot in a valley below Telluride. After watching and being struck by the beauty of it I started investigating with Google Maps. I'm pretty sure these GPS coordinates 37.809823,-107.870253 is the location where Tom Waites character looks out over the valley (looking south east). It appears that the production painted out a large house that would have been in the shot. If you notice, there's a public road VERY close to that very spot, which would have made packing equipment in quite easy.

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  7. I thought that "All Gold Canyon" was shot above Trout Lake (GPS coordinates 37.809823,-107.870253) near Lizard Head Pass as well. This is about 15 miles from Telluride. I believe I can recognize Vermilion Peak over Tom Waites head. The bridge that Liam Neeson in "Meal Ticket" drops the rock from looks to me like the abandoned narrow-gauge railroad bridge off of 626 Road (37.811498, -107.870837) about 0.1 mile from the spot identified above from "All Gold Canyon".

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  8. One further connection with the Trout Lake/Telluride area: I think the last scene in “Meal Ticket” shows the wagon on the frozen surface of Trout Lake looking SE toward San Miguel Peak. Compare the scene at the end of the "Meal Ticket" episode with the image below (taken when the lake wasn't frozen).

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Fstevenm_61%2F42085098224&psig=AOvVaw0mQRIbOHUMrOJSJlFSBLsY&ust=1591563745189000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCIjp_o6L7ukCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAk

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, that's very cool! We'll update de post soon.

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