Welcome to Apacheland Movie Ranch

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From its innocent inception of a theme park and western movie studio in 1956 to its incorporation in 1959 as the “Western Movie Capital of the World” this website covers more than 55 years of western movie making history. Since the beginning, Apacheland has hosted many western movies and TV shows in and around the Apache Junction area of Phoenix, Arizona and welcomed movie stars such as Stella Stevens, Jason Robards, Audie Murphy, John Wayne, Richard Boone, Elvis Presley, Jack Nicholson, Marty Robbins, Chill Wills, Ronald Reagan and many others.

Cudia City 1938

Cudia City to Apacheland 1937-1960 

by Phil Rauso

The story of how “Apacheland” started can be traced back to 1937 when an Italian immigrant by the name of “Salvatore Pace Budanza Cudia” moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. He grew up watching the old silent movies that soon captured his imagination. Sal wanted to live in a real old west town and make cowboy movies. Sal started construction on his movie studio in 1938 when he chose a 160-acre site located on the northeast corner of Camelback Road and 40th Street in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1938 this area of Scottsdale was nothing more than desert with a few scattered ranches and farms. …

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Apacheland Film History 1956 - 1995 

It has been almost 60 years since Apacheland Movie Ranch became host to dozens of western movies and TV shows featuring an all-star cast of Hollywood actors and stuntmen. Apacheland was more of a “B“ movie filming location but was lucky enough to get some major movies such as “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” with Jason Robards and Stella Stevens and “Charro!” starring Elvis Presley. Enjoy browsing through our archive of movies and TV shows filmed at the "Western Movie Capital of the World”

1956 Gunfight at the OK Corral - Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas

1960 Apache Trail Documentary - Roosevelt Dam SRP


Footprints of the Stars 1966 - 1969

Apacheland’s main entrance was home to “Footprints of the Stars” until 2004. Started in 1966 by singer and song writer  Charlie Aldrich (Aldridge) and ending in 1969, the ceremony of casting actors footprints in cement was the norm at Apacheland.  Charlie was manager of Apacheland from 1966 to 1967 and was responsible for bringing big name movie stars to Apacheland. 

Over the past half-century some of the cement footprints were stolen, such as Henry Fonda. Most cement prints were recovered by Phil Rauso and Larry Hedrick in the summer of 2004 after the devastating fire that closed Apacheland’s doors forever. …

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Elvis Chapel & Audie Murphy Barn

The Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel is a movie memorabilia museum showing the movies that were filmed at Apacheland. Survivor of two fires, one in 1969 and one in 2004, which decimated Apacheland Movie Ranch, the Elvis  Memorial Chapel was donated to the Superstition Mountain Museum. The chapel was taken down piece by piece, nail by nail, has been reconstructed on the museum ground. The Apacheland Museum is a special museum of western motion pictures and television that were filmed at the movie ranch, including “Charro,” which starred Elvis Presley. Among some of the better known motion pictures filmed at Apacheland were: The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Arizona Raiders, The Gambler, Guns of a Stranger and Death Valley Days.

 © 1959-2016 Apacheland / Apacheland ® is a registered trademark of Blackstone, Ltd.