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Mescal Movie Set: I Worked at the Western Mecca

Craig Rainey in Mecal Movie Set

Imagine acting in a movie filmed at the most historic western set in history.

I have been out of the film biz for a few years. I still have an agent, but most of what comes across my email are calls for commercials. I am not a fan of commercial work because I don’t feel it serves my vision as an actor. I prefer features. Film, movies, and cinema, these are my preferred projects. 

My friend and talented Auteur, Brett William Mauser of Not So Sane Entertainment fame cast me in a western called The Oldest Posse. I am not certain as of this writing what the final title will be, but that is the working title. I auditioned and earned the role of Walker, a former gunman, and killer. He joins a posse of retired outlaws to hunt down the murderous son of one of their group. Walker is recruited without explanation of what his role might be until they are well on their journey when he is informed that he was hired for his gun. He is not thrilled with the role, and it caused him a lot of misgivings and doubt.

This past week I made the journey from Austin, Texas to Benson, Arizona, some 8 miles from the movie set. When I arrived on the Mescal Movie set, I was astounded at where I ended up.

Almost Every Famous Western Ever was Made Here

Walking the planks of the iconic saloon featured in Quick and the Dead, I was struck with a humility and reverence I had never experienced before. I thought of Gene Hackman walking through those very batwing doors, Leonardo DiCaprio leaning on the nearby bar, Sharon Stone sipping whiskey at that table. Across the street, I entered the small mercantile where Clint Eastwood’s Outlaw Josey Wales stood across the counter from a clerk who recognized him and wanted to kill him for the bounty. Nearby was the Oriental saloon where Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, and Sam Eliott portrayed the Earps and Doc Holiday in the movie Tombstone. Just beyond was the OK Corral where the shootout was filmed, just as it was in the iconic movie.

I was able to master my awe-struck stupor and deliver an acceptable performance. Riding a horse through those streets was the crowning glory for me. A career in film was now complete in a way I had never dreamed it would be.

craig Rainey OK Corral

I Visited Tombstone While I was There

I own quite a bit of western costuming. I have boots, spurs, hat, numerous gun belts and holsters, and some period clothing. I wasn’t happy with the gunbelt and pistol I owned. My more than 800-mile journey included numerous stops at leather artisan shops along the way. None of these resulted in the gunbelt I envisioned for the role. I found the perfect one totally by accident – albeit an accident of providence.

Arriving early, a couple of days prior to shooting, I decided to take in some of the historically significant sites nearby. Tombstone, AZ is 22 miles from Benson, where I stayed for the shoot. I left I-10 and took a winding road through the desert until I arrived at the small historic town atop a hill amongst the rocks, cactus, and sage. I passed the cemetery at Boot Hill and was soon in the center of Tombstone.  Gone was the dusty old western town, replaced by a bustling and highly populated town center which has been turned into a pedestrian-only, dirt street, western town-looking artisan area. It didn’t take me long to locate a leather worker. His name is Eric, and he owns Purgatory Leather

I found him by way of S. Jay “Stealth” Connel of Southwest Power Wear. He has a shop next door to the Bird Cage Theatre, a wonderful tour if you ever make it to town. Stealth added bling to the holster straps. He has a huge inventory in stock. Check out his Stealth Flutes.

Eric allowed me to choose from a selection of premade belts and holsters. I chose black and he and his young helper fashioned an authentic rig for the new Denix Colt 45 I purchased across the street at Lily’s Tombstone Memories.


Craig Rainey Western Gear

The film shoot is progressing nicely. We should be complete with principle filming by the end of April. I’ll keep you posted about upcoming premieres and showings.

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