New Mexico Big Star in Film “The Missing”

From the Santa Fe New Mexican

Georgia O’Keeffe came later and settled at Ghost Ranch, one of the locations in The Missing.

It’s a ranch said to have been named for the chilling screams that were heard echoing off canyon walls — some said from witches or tortured spirits, some said from unknown wild beasts. O’Keeffe painted the striated bluffs that nowadays find their way into motion pictures.

Another key location, according to the New Mexico Film Office, was Valles Caldera, now federal park land, which geologists nonetheless warn is still a threat to erupt like Mount St. Helens.

A flash-flood scene was filmed at the Tino Griego Swimming Pool in Santa Fe.

Other shooting sites were:

  • The Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe.
  • The Cerro Pelon Ranch, formerly known as the Cook Movie Ranch.
  • La Cienega, south of Santa Fe.
  • El Rancho de las Golondrinas, south of Santa Fe.
  • Zia Pueblo northwest of Albuquerque.

Says [Director Ron] Howard: “In making a suspense film that takes place primarily outdoors, it was important to use the landscape, primarily in its most threatening kind of way.

“It’s one thing to be alone in a dark alley, an abandoned street,” he said, “but it’s another thing to be all alone out there. There’s just an element of threat despite the beauty.”

And like so many Westerns, The Missing uses the vastness of the landscape to give evil a script and a stage and the freedom to operate that kept people looking over their shoulders.