It’s a really long movie and the story is kind of slow by today’s standards, but if you have ever watched the 1956 classic Giant, you might remember that it was about a wealthy Texan who owns a huge ranch and lives in a big, isolated mansion. The movie starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Dennis Hopper, among others, and it was filmed in this area, near Marfa, Texas.
In the movie, the name of the ranch is Reata. The huge facade used for the Reata ranch house (shown in this image) was built in Hollywood and shipped out to Texas by way of the railroad. It was reassembled at this location. There are still remnants of the structure here and you can just barely see it in satellite view. It’s on private property and people are not encourage to visit, but you can see what’s left from the highway. There’s really not much there but the general framework.
“With the Hollywood types, it doesn't hurt that Marfa is, well, a different sort of Texas town. With a population of 2000, Marfa has one blinking traffic light but 14 art galleries, an independent bookstore and an organic grocery. In red, red West Texas, it went for Barack Obama. Are you getting the picture?” — quoted from the NPR story On Location: 50 Years Of Movie Magic In Marfa, Texas, by John Burnett, July 15, 2011.
Sounds like my kind of town.
Note: The location is on the Ryan Ranch, consisting of 34,880 acres and it can be yours, for a cool $27 million. The Portal to Texas History web site has a photo of the site from 1969, and the NPR story included a more recent photo of the Reata ruins.