Movie Locations of the Great Southwest! Visit locations in New Mexico and the Southwest where movies from the 1990s were made.

Original theatrical poster from the 1994 movie The Cowboy Way.The Cowboy Way

1994. Universal, MCA Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 107 minutes, Rated PG-13

Release Date: June 3, 1994

The Cowboy Way is available at on DVD and VHS.

Movie Synopsis: When a friend and his daughter land in serious trouble in New York, two New Mexico championship rodeo cowboys bring their own brand of justice to the big city. ~Aimee

Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Dylan McDermott, Ernie Hudson, Cara Buono, Marg Helgenberger, Tomas Milan, Luis Guzman

Director: Gregg Champion

Thoughts on the Movie:
Another fish-out-of-water story, but this time it involves two rodeo cowboys from New Mexico who end up hunting for a friend in New York City. I suppose there’s an original idea in there somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie. The antics of Woody Harrelson’s character kept it funny along the way, and it was a decent who-done-it action flick. But haven’t we pretty much seen this same thing before, and before, and before? Probably so, but, still, it’s a cute movie and it has a right to exist.

Of course, I enjoyed the New Mexico scenes the most, and wish they had spent a little more time there setting up the story. They chose a good location (the Espanola area) to bring a true feeling about living in the Southwest to the film, and I’m always grateful for that. And so I say what The Cowboy Way needed was more New Mexico, more rodeo, and more Keifer Sutherland (although he was in it all the way, you can’t ever get enough of him... what a cutie!). ~Jean

Keifer Sutherland mounts up for one of the rodeo action scenes shot for “The Cowboy Way” at the Rio Arriba Country Fairgrounds, near Espanola, New Mexico.
Location Site:
Rio Arriba County Fairgrounds, Espanola, New Mexico
(see Map)
The Rio Arriba County Fairgrounds was located at 19 Wheat Street, Espanola, New Mexico. That location is now the Wildlife Center. Back in 1993, a “mock” rodeo was held there for the filming of the movie, The Cowboy Way.

Right: Keifer Sutherland mounts up for one of the rodeo action scenes shot for “The Cowboy Way” at the Rio Arriba Country Fairgrounds, near Espanola, New Mexico.

The Rio Arriba County Rodeo can be dated back to 1954, when H.P. Freeman was the organizer. (The rodeo may have predated this date, but this was the date given by a long time supporter.) The Rio Arriba County Fair Board took over the event in the 1960s, when Freeman was no longer able to hold the rodeo. Since then, the rodeo has been held in a number of places across Rio Arriba County. One of the more memorable venues was the Old Rio Arriba County Fairgrounds in Arroyo Seco (near Santa Fe). The rodeo was also called the “Espanola Valley Rodeo.” The Rio Arriba County Fair Association and the new Rio Arriba County Fairgrounds are now located in Abiquiu, New Mexico, as a part of New Mexico State University. Rodeos are still taking place, and the second annual Rio Arriba County Rodeo is scheduled to be held sometime in July, 2011.

About Espanola, New Mexico:
Espanola, New Mexico (population 10,495; elevation 5,595 feet; 36° 0’ 7” N, 106° 3’ 53” W) is located about 25 miles north of Santa Fe on State Highway 84. Incorporated in 1925, Espanola is situated in an area that Juan de Onate declared a capital for Spain in 1598. Espanola has been called the first capital city in America. It is in a valley nestled between the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, and the meeting point of three rivers, the Rio Grande, the Rio Chama, and the Rio Santa Cruz.

Beautiful high desert scenery can be found in the Espanola Valley in Northern New Mexico.
Lodging & Dining:
For Recommended Hotels, Motels and Lodges in Santa Fe, see: Santa Fe Lodging

JoAnn’s Ranch O Casados. 938 North Riverside Drive, Espanola, New Mexico
It is reputed that JoAnn Casados personally roasts and peels all the chile used in her restaurant, most of it from chile lines descendant from native chile crops. She knows old-timers can tell the difference between commercially grown chile and chile grown locally. Farmers can command a premium for locally grown chile, but JoAnn considers it a worthwhile investment.

Right: Beautiful high desert scenery can be found in the Espanola Valley in Northern New Mexico.

JoAnn’s Ranch O Casados has been serving the beautiful Espanola valley since 1984. Its first home was near the Big Rock Shopping Center, but JoAnn’s moved to its current, more spacious location in 2003. The parking lot seems to be perpetually crowded, but wait times at the restaurant aren’t long. The menu is loaded with Northern New Mexico favorites: enchiladas, tacos, tamales, burritos, sopaipillas and even two staples made from corn–posole and chicos, the latter of which is rarely seen south of Santa Fe. Diners have their choice of tortillas or sopaipillas. The sopaipillas are large, puffed-up pockets of delicious dough, served with real honey. Once you’ve tasted these, you’ll never forget them.

Movie Trivia:
Woody Harrelson and Keifer Sutherland star in “The Cowboy Way.”• The soundtrack to The Cowboy Way features the song Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White by Bon Jovi. The music video to the song contains scenes from the movie.
• Of course, no animals were injured during any of the rodeo action scenes and the ground had been prepared to soften it when any animals fell. Collars were used on roping cows to protect their necks and no animals were used more than once.
• The film’s slogan on posters and other marketing material was, “How the East was won.”
• Director Gregg Champion is the son of legendary Hollywood musical dancers, Gower and Marge Champion.
• Screenwriter Bill Wittliff, also wrote the award-winning TV mini-series, Lonesome Dove.

Right: Woody Harrelson and Keifer Sutherland star in “The Cowboy Way.”

Character Quote: “Texas! There ain’t no real cowboys from Texas! We’re from New Mexico.” ~Pepper Lewis (Woody Harrelson)