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Elvis Presley

Ask Dead Elvis: Where was the gunfight for Viva Las Vegas filmed?

I would like to confirm a bit of trivia regarding a scene from Viva Las Vegas. It involved Elvis and Ann-Margret engaging in a mock gunfight on a Western set. Where was this scene actually filmed? I read that it took place at an Old West amusement park on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Was it Old Vegas Ranch, which is now a housing development in southeast Henderson? The Nevada visitor’s center in Boulder City indicated that it was shot at another theme park, which used to be located out by Spring Mountain Ranch.

I had fun with this one. Apart from being one of my better films, it also highlights location shots of a Vegas that simply doesn’t exist anymore. Based on news clippings, film reports and eyewitness accounts of the filming (over 45 years ago), your first hunch is right—it was filmed in the vicinity of the Old Vegas Ranch, off Boulder Highway and Wagon Wheel Drive, now the site of a housing development. Although to clarify, the theme park that you refer to as Old Las Vegas Ranch (later renamed Westworld) didn’t exist until the ’70s, much later than the actual filming. Because the area was fairly desolate then, it’s easy to imagine the filmmakers building a set there.

Our sources don’t mention any filming of Viva Las Vegas at the Spring Mountain Ranch. Most tellingly, the park’s website, which has a very thorough chapter on its history, goes into full detail about its colorful past, including previous owners Chester Lauck of the comedy team Lum & Abner, German actress Vera Krupp and millionaire Howard Hughes. But nothing about Viva Las Vegas.

Thank you very much.

E-mail your questions to askdeadelvis@lasvegasweekly.com

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