435-425-3322 | thelodge@redriverranch.com | Our weather today is:
Red River Ranch logo

Red River Ranch

Spirit: Film Locations

Spirit: Film Locations

Posted in: Entertainment on January 30, 2023.

Set in the West

There are lots of films and television series that are filmed in the American West in general, and Southern Utah in particular. We’ve compiled this list here if you want to read about some of the most well-known examples. And there is this list from IMDb that is even more comprehensive. (Southern Utah has even been the setting for a few video games – see our blog post on the real-life locations in Horizon: Zero Dawn.)

But we’ve never written about an animated film before. And it just so happens that the 2002 DreamWorks Animation horse movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron casts Southern Utah, and the American West, as an integral part of the film’s story. So let’s look at the real locations the filmmakers used to tell their story.

Spirit the animated horse running with an eagle over the grassy plains

DreamWorks Animation

The Opening Flyover Scene

We’ve got three locations just in the opening moments of the film!

  1. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
  2. Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border
  3. Rainbow Bridge in Southern Utah

An animated scene of an eagle flying through the Grand Canyon

DreamWorks Animation

Monument Valley seen from a bird's eye view

DreamWorks Animation

The animated eagle flys through Rainbow Bridge

DreamWorks Animation

Home Land

Spirit’s home is located in the Grand Tetons in Montana. This where we see him grow up, and where he returns after his adventures.

The Grand Tetons in the background of a running animated horse

DreamWorks Animation

Desert Fort

The army fort is a little bit tricky to place. But based on some of the monoliths in the background, we think we’re back in Monument Valley. What do you think?

An army fort in the desert

DreamWorks Animation

Native American Camp

This one is easy! It’s located in (what is now) Yosemite National Park in California! Yosemite became a national park in 1890, so only a few years after this movie’s story takes place.

A peaceful American Indian encampment in Yosemite Valley

DreamWorks Animation

Railroad Scene

The railroad was a big deal in the 1860s, when this movie is set. The Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad met to form the transcontinental railway in Northern Utah on May 10, 1869. Today there is a monument to honor that historic achievement at Golden Spike National Historical Park.

A dark and menacing steam engine

DreamWorks Animation

Chase Scene in Bryce Canyon

The climactic chase sequence toward the end of the film take place in Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah. (But there isn’t actually a large canyon in the park to cinematically leap over, unfortunately.)

Bryce Canyon's hoodoos

DreamWorks Animation

Creative Liberties

It’s probably worth noting, in case you aren’t familiar with the general geography of the American West, that these locations are not close to each other. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron prioritizes the setting and feeling of each location to help convey the emotions of the characters – not the logical, real world distances between the set pieces. And that’s okay. It helps paint a picture of all the stunning places that you can find out here in the West.

Want to Read More?

Go ahead, explore some more.
There are hundreds of articles, containing lots of insider information.