Strike Some “El Dorado” Movie Gold! “Atlas Obscura” Celebrates Nevada’s Ghost Towns!

Want To Hang Out With John Wayne and James Caan?

Well, the best I can do is take you to the place they filmed together – so you can recreate the action scenes for yourself!


Welcome To The “Gold Rush” Town Of Nelson! Population: 37!

I love to travel, and I am fascinated with America’s abandoned “ghost towns”…especially those that have a cinematic past – now, thanks to a great website and book, I found the location of the classic movie “El Dorado!”

Wooden Shack Of Americana - Eldorado Canyon Techatticup Mine - Nelson NV - HDR

Wooden Shack Of Americana – Eldorado Canyon Techatticup Mine – Nelson NV – HDR

Bravo To “Atlas Obscura!”

I found a website that is devoted to amazing stories and pictures of some of the most forgotten, abandoned or just off the beaten path places in the world!

“Atlas Obscura” sends me a ton of great stories about towns like this: yes, this is what remains of Nelson, Nevada!


Here is how “Atlas Obscura” describes the place:

“Nelson, known by the Spaniards that discovered it as El Dorado, was the site of the scandalous Techatticup Mine. An area rich in gold, silver, copper and lead, the land was mostly settled by Civil War deserters, and was the site of one of the largest booms the state of Nevada ever encountered.”

For those familiar with the John Wayne movie “El Dorado”, scenes were shot here – this was one of his biggest westerns, and gave James Caan a huge supporting role as well …you can see more about this film here:

You can drive right onto the set today, as this rich piece of cinema history exists today, and I absolutely want to go here and see it in person.

Nelson is located at the very bottom of the state of Nevada, about 25 miles from Boulder City.



Atlas Obscura continues:

“What remains of Nelson lies above the flood channels, a few scattered ranch houses, the remnants of a Texaco station, and the standard weather-torn buildings and machinery. Used as the location for many photo shoots, music videos and several feature films, the site features one unusual spectacle of a small aircraft seemingly smashed nose-first into a dune.”


Here’s the kicker: this plane never crashed, it was placed there as a prop for the 2001 Kevin Costner movie “3000 Miles to Graceland.”

Thanks to Atlas Obscura for illuminating this classic wild west ghost town…see more of their story and pictures here:

I follow the website, and plan to buy the book they just released as well:


It’s a huge book full of unique places to visit…as they describe it:

“Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders celebrates more than 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.”

Sold! See the ad for the book here:

As I said, I love to travel, and offbeat places fascinate me. I was in rural Oklahoma last year and came across a LOT of virtual ghost towns there as well:


Much of rural America is dying – young people can’t wait to leave, and there is little or not industry to draw anyone new…these were the kinds of towns I came across on my car tour:


You can see more pictures of this disappearing part of our country by clicking on my story here:

A great Writer spent a year in rural Mississippi and recorded his adventure as well:

Dispatches from Pluto

Richard Grant tells a great story of a small state also dying off…read my story here:

I will post more pictures once I get to see Nelson closeup – until then, kudos again to Atlas Obscura!

Wooden Shack Of Americana - Eldorado Canyon Techatticup Mine - Nelson NV - HDR

Wooden Shack Of Americana – Eldorado Canyon Techatticup Mine – Nelson NV – HDR

Categories: Action Films, Africa, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exotic Travel, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Hollywood, James Caan, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Obscure Movies, Politics, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, TV Show, Uncategorized

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5 replies

  1. I know the film well. James Caan’s unusual hat was a hoot! Wasn’t he called ‘Mississippi’ in that?
    Nice to know that you can actually visit the location. I wonder where the population of 37 live though?
    Best wishes, Pete.


  1. Iconic “Clown Motel” For Sale! You Can Buy This Clown Motel! It’s Near A Haunted Cemetary! – johnrieber
  2. Want To Own A Wild West Ghost Town? Cerro Gordo’s For Sale! Check Out This Amazing Ghost Town That You Can Buy! – johnrieber

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