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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Location: Mini Hollywood - Town of El Paso

In 1965 Carlo Simi built the town of El Paso in the desert of Tabernas for Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More.  The town would be used again in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  After this, it became one of three western towns in Tabernas used consistently for Spaghetti Westerns into the mid 1970's.  LVC would also return here for The Stranger and The Gunfighter.

Monco rides into town

Indio's gang arrives

After the genre died out, the town fell into disrepair, until it was made into the theme park it is today.  Yes.  A theme park.

this is what is looks like now - a tourist trap!

Mini Hollywood, was one of the more disappointing locations I visited, as if you cannot tell, I am not a fan of theme parks.  One of the most magical things about going to the locations is that I would say 90% of the time, you are the only person there.  You can experience the place very organically, where as at Mini Hollywood, it's more about witnessing mothers trying to figure how to get a stroller down a sand street.

With that being said, it's quite possible that if this location never became a theme park, it would be in ruin, similar to the town of Flagstone from Once Upon a Time in The West (more on that in a later post).

Within the park you can expect to see a "western show" a few times a day, where actors stage a mock gunfight etc.  Many of the familiar sets are now functioning restaurants.  You can even dress up in western gear for photos (but not a damn poncho in the whole place!!!  WTF?).  At least this gave us the LVC dressing room!

LVC themed dressing room

The best part of the day was during the can-can show in the saloon.  Literally everyone who was visiting the town went into the saloon, leaving the town streets empty! 

Sheriff's Office in For a Few Dollars More

The steps Clint hid under are now gone (replaced by steps on the opposite wall)

This building was Monco's hotel in For a Few Dollars More (at least maybe a small part of it... aside from being in the same location and being roughly the same shape, both the outside and inside have been completly refinished.
Below are some additional random pictures of the town-

In the coming weeks I will do a spotlight on The Bank of El Paso, and Mortimer's Hotel/Saloon.  Stay tuned!



  1. Guess somebody got a hot light bulb idea to turn this set into a place for tourist for the same reason the county fair I went to a couple months ago had the alligator woman & another had a snake woman. A woman with No arms or legs & her snake like body was green past her neck. To make a buck off of people's curiosity.

    Carlo Simi's only film role, as I understand it, was in For A Few Dollars More as the back president. Years ago I read his scene with Lee Van Cleef was filmed in the studio at Rome. But that may be wrong. That may have only been the scene where the other banker tells Lee that he will telegraph the Bank of El Paso to let them know Lee is on his way.

    Yeah I guess they ruined the town as it looks so plastic now. But as you say, there may not have been that much of it left by now.

    Clint did the 3 Leone films & move on back to the states. Well there was "The Witches" shot in Rome between the 2nd & 3rd. But Lee Van Cleef became a fixture in Spanish location shoots for years. Let's see. For A Few Dollars More, Good, Bad & Ugly, Big Gundown, Death Rides a Horse, Day of Anger, Beyond the Law, Commandos (much of this one was shot in Italy), Sabata, El Condor, Captain Apache, Bad Man's River, Return to Sabata, Stranger & the Gunfighter, Perfect Killer & Killing Machine. Don't think Lee worked in Spain again after Killing Machine in 1983. Of course many of those films also had scenes shot in Rome, Italy such as Lee's scene with Baker & the pillow in GB&U. Some of Stranger and the Gunfighter was shot in Hong Kong as was some of Codename Wildgeese. Magnificent Seven Ride was shot in California & Grand Duel was shot entirely in Italy. Mean Frank & Crazy Tony was Italy & France. Take a Hard Ride was Spanish territory I think but islands off the coast of Africa (Carnary Islands). The Squeeze was shot in New York City & New Jersey. The Hard Way in Ireland. Octagon in California & Mexico. Escape From New York in St. Louis, California & Liberty Island in New York. Barquero was shot in Colorado. I think the last time Lee worked in Italy was in Der Commander & that was after a long absence.

    Well you can still say you saw the big set for For A Few Dollars More. The lovely & striking mountains still look the same. They haven't put tacky paint on those:-)

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