Saddle up! Fort Worth Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas has become the No. 1 destination for those hoping to channel their inner cowboys (or cowgirls!). The historic district — the only city in the world that hosts a cattle drive featuring Texas Longhorns twice a day — is the official go-to for Hollywood when searching for an authentic backdrop for Westerns.
Once a playing ground for notorious outlaws Butch Cassidy, Wyatt Earp and Bonnie and Clyde (who resided at The Stockyards Hotel), stars including Leighton Meester, Shelley Duvall, Taylor Hawkins and Bill Paxton all hail from Cowtown.
Fans of 1883 will also remember Fort Worth as the starting point for James Dutton’s family as they join forces with Shea Brennan to lead their group to Oregon. “Of all the places I’ve filmed, Fort Worth is my favorite,” creator Taylor Sheridan — whose hit show, Yellowstone, celebrated the season 5 premiere at Hotel Drover near Mule Alley — has said.
Those looking for an authentic Western experience need not look any further than the Stockyards. With more than 40 bars and restaurants, several museums (including the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame), tons of shopping, and plenty of live music options, there is no shortage of entertainment.
Here are just a few must-see locations from your favorite movies and TV shows!
The take-out restaurant, known for its onion fried burgers, underwent a makeover to serve as The Texas House of Liquor & Sport, a gambling den in 1883. After filming wrapped, owner Ruth Hooker opted to keep the revamped building as is — the only set that has remained after production ended.
In 1983’s Tough Enough, Dennis Quaid’s Art Long participates in the Toughman Contest at the arena in order to support his wife and child. The last rodeo scene in 1992’s Pure Country — starring George Strait — was also filmed here. Today, the Cowtown Coliseum hosts the world’s only year-round rodeo, with bull riding, bronc riding and more. (And for those looking for a kid-friendly experience, calf and mutton scrambles are also available for children!)
The Fort Worth Herd Cattle Pens
Sam Elliot’s Shea, LaMonica Garrett’s Thomas and Eric Nelson’s Ennis talked business while walking around the cattle pens — which once housed hundreds of livestock — in 1883. Today, the Fort Worth Herd organization holds tours where visitors can get up close and personal with cattle and Texas longhorns.
Billy Bob’s Texas
The world’s largest honky-tonk — where Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner & Modern West and Ryan Bingham have performed — was the setting for Scott Bakula’s character’s fight in Guitar Bar in 1991’s Necessary Roughness. 1987’s Over the Top starring Sylvester Stallone, 1988’s Baja Oklahoma starring Lesley Ann Warren and Willie Nelson, and 1992’s Pure Country starring George Strait also filmed at Billy Bob’s Texas, which boasts more than 30 bar stations!
Livestock Exchange Building
Known as “The Wall Street of the West,” USA Network’s Alice Braga-starring Queen of the South used the site — which was built in 1902 as an office for cattle drivers — to portray an orphanage in Mexico.
White Elephant Saloon
The location has gotten the Hollywood treatment twice: Not only was it featured as the CD Bar in the Chuck Norris-starring Walker, Texas Ranger, but it also doubled as Pearl’s Dance Hall in 1883, where Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw’s characters had a tense exchange. The legendary drinking establishment, owned by restauranteur Tim Lowe and outfitted with cowboy hats and ceramic white elephant trinkets, hosts live performances most nights.
Swift Armour Meat Packing Plant
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The abandoned industrial complex served as the setting of Penitenciaría Federal de Sona in season 3 of Prison Break starring Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller.