Tribute to a Bad Man

Tribute to a Bad Man poster
Tribute to a Bad Man (1957) – filmed just south of Ridgway on Miller Mesa on the old Walther ranch, near Top of the Pines and the Elk Meadows mailboxes on County Road 5. Written by Jack Schaefer, who also wrote the classic westerns Shane and Monte Walsh. Directed by Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Andromeda Strain, The Day the Earth Stood Still). Originally to star Spencer Tracy, Tracy hated southwestern Colorado and Wise fired him and replaced him with James Cagney. This was Cagney’s last western.


  • Release: April 13, 1956
  • Duration: 95 Minutes
  • Distributed: MGM
  • Genre: Western

Production Team

  • Director: Robert Wise
  • Producer: Sam Zimbalist
  • Written by: Jack Schaefer, Michael Blankfort


  • James Cagney
  • Don Dubbins
  • Stephen McNally
  • Irene Papas

Related Businesses

Movie Locations

Spectacular scenery around our charming Colorado town, at the foot of the San Juan Mountains, caught the attention of the director of the film True Grit, starring John Wayne as the one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. In 6 weeks in 1969, the film crew turned 5 blocks of the center of this old railroad town into 1880’s Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Miller Mesa

While not well known, Tribute to a Bad Man was a significant western. It was written by Jack Schaefer, who also wrote Shane and Monte Walsh and was directed by Robert Wise, who also directed The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Andromeda Strain and The Day the Earth Stood Still. James Cagney replaced leading man Spencer Tracy who was fired from the set and it was Cagney’s last western.

Tribute to a Bad Man was filmed on Miller Mesa at the historic Walther Ranch, which was homestead by George and Charles Marlow (of Katie Elder fame). The private ranch still features the Marlow’s original cabin.

To reach this area, go south on County Rd. 5 for 5 full miles from Amelia St. in Ridgway. Along the way you will pass the gate entrance of the Walther Ranch and at the end of the 5 miles, you will reach a large open area with stunning views of the Sneffels range: this is the general area where the ranch scenes were shot. 

Visitors Center & Ridgway Area Chamber

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The Ridgway Visitor Center, located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62), The visitor center is closed as of October 1st and will reopen Memorial Day weekend.

P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432

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Adventure, night life and all around easy living await you in Ridgway Colorado, gateway to the San Juan Mountains.

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