John Wayne Nearly Filmed ‘The Alamo’ in South America or Mexico


Hollywood’s most iconic cowboy, John Wayne, gave the mythic battle at The Alamo a modern presence with his 1960 film. “The Alamo,” shot in Brackettville, Texas was located just a little over 100 miles from where the battle took place. However, interestingly, before settling on a final location in Texas, John Wayne considered filming in South America or Mexico.

The Journey Behind ‘The Alamo’

According to Texas Monthly, John Wayne had actually penned ideas for “The Alamo” as early as 1945. However, debate surrounding the movie’s setting is likely part of what delayed its release until 1960, 15 years following the iconic cowboy’s initial inspiration.

As per the outlet, John Wayne had explored locations south of the U.S. in preparation for the film’s making. In fact, he was once close to settling on Panama, as it had “San Antonio-like scenery and cheap labor.” When that didn’t pan out, he eyed Durango, Mexico. But, as we know, Wayne’s second choice was also tossed.

While searching for ideal locations to film “The Alamo,” prominent Texans learned of the actor and producer’s intentions to set the iconic Texan event outside of the states. One of those prominent individuals was Bob O’Donnell, whom the outlet reported owned a chain of movie theaters. And he, alongside other noteworthy and influential persons, ultimately decided the fate of “The Alamo.” In the end, they said they would not air John Wayne’s film in TX if it were to take place anywhere else.

After a long search for an ideal setting, John Wayne took “The Alamo” to Brackettville, TX, just 40 miles from the Mexico border. There, he found James T. “Happy” Shahan’s 22,000-acre ranch, amid the region’s spare brush country. It’s now the setting that populates the John Wayne film half a century following its debut.

Why Hollywood’s Two Most Famous Cowboys Never Starred in a Western Together

Besides John Wayne, Clint Eastwood is arguably Hollywood’s most iconic cowboy. Together, the historic actors boast nearly 300 projects. As such, given their status in the realm of filmmaking, it’s interesting John Wayne and Clint Eastwood never starred alongside each other. And despite the intrigue there, there is a very simple, overt reason for that.

At one time, a director by the name of Larry Cohen had asked both actors to star in a movie called “The Hostiles.” Always one for honesty and clarity, John Wayne turned down the offer. “The Alamo” actor and producer reportedly hated the script for the film, however, it wasn’t the only contributor.

Despite equal success in the industry, John Wayne didn’t like Clint Eastwood either as an actor or a director. Less information exists about Wayne’s opinion on Eastwood simply as an individual.

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