Strike Some “El Dorado” Movie Gold! A Visit To Nevada And California 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!”

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 …the beginning a brilliant career for the Actor…here’s an appreciation of his life:

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 own both of their incredible books:

Their “Gastro Obscura” book is filled with food adventures around the world – including this wild story of “threads of God” – click here for their story and recipe:

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 have also shared my ghost town tour:

This real California ghost town is fun to visit – click here to see more:

If you like these stories, PLEASE CLICK THE “LIKE” BUTTON SO I KNOW!

Also, why not sign up to receive emails whenever I post? It’s easy to do, I do NOT collect any information about you at all, there are absolutely NO ads of any kind, just stories about movies, music, books, food, travel and pop culture…

You can sign up by clicking on my blog here and see the note on the right!

Leave a comment and if you like this story, feel free to share on social media – and let me know if you’ve seen a real Wild West ghost town up close!

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

Categories: Cult Movies, Exotic Travel, James Caan, Memoirs, nature, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Hi John, Stephen King often starts his stories, or even sets them, in these small dying American towns. I can see why young people want to leave, they see small town life as boring and want the bright lights. It’s the same here. Unfortunately, bright lights are often disappointing too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find this fascinating, and I would love to visit ghost towns. The atlas book looks equally fascinating. Thanks, John!


  3. oh, I’d love to visit these little towns, ghost towns and all, with so much history. love atlas and gastro both! incredible sources with fascinating info


  4. How fascinating! I didn’t realise James Caan had died – one of my favourite films is ‘The Godfather’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We don’t have any ghost towns in Britain, that I know of at least. I would love to visit one of yours in America!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a fascinating read and that book sounds very interesting!!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 11/14/22 — 11/20/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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