Skip to content
Greater Zion logo

Visitor Information Center

The Greater Zion Visitor Center is a must for anyone interested in exploring the natural wonders of southwest Utah.

Privacy Policy Cookie Policy

Greater Zion: Continuing the Film Storyline in 2024 and Beyond

Washington County has supported film ventures since their earliest appearances in Greater Zion, and local leadership continues to advocate for the future of the industry. 

The opening credits

In 1927, the silent western movie “Ramona” (1928) was shot in Zion National Park. Soon after, other western filmmakers flocked to Zion, eager to showcase our stunning landscapes that many regard as iconic symbols of the western United States. The films that followed – including “The Vanishing Pioneer” (1928), “The Arizona Kid” (1939), “The Dude Ranger” (1934), and many others – paved the way for even more productions, and the film industry began to flourish. 

More than 40 years after the first film was shot in Greater Zion, Twentieth Century Fox landed in St. George to film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katharine Ross. It was a hit at the box office, becoming the top-grossing film of 1969. The box office was not the only thing this film impacted, though; it showcased the wonder of Zion National Park to audiences and crew members alike. Here in Greater Zion, leading actor and future filmmaker Robert Redford discovered a deep love for Utah

ElectricHorseman 1

Redford’s profound appreciation for Utah inspired him to film several other motion pictures in Greater Zion, including “Jeremiah Johnson” (1972) and “The Electric Horsemen” (1979). These movies created more filmmaking synergy, inspiring crews to make the journey to Washington County and use it as the backdrop for their stories, including “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing” (1973) and “The Eiger Sanction” (1975). 


In 1977, “The Car” (1977) was one of the last movies to be filmed in Zion National Park; regardless, the film industry continued on in Greater Zion. “High School Musical 2” (2007), “The Flyboys” (2008), and countless other short films, documentaries, music videos, and Hallmark movies selected Greater Zion as their film location.

The rising action

Over 96 years after the first silent western movie was filmed in Greater Zion, Washington County is the location for yet another western movie, creating a true full-circle moment. Kevin Costner’s full-length feature series “Horizon: An American Saga” is filmed in Greater Zion. Chapter 1 features shots of Greater Zion, and Chapter 2 began more extensive filming in various locations throughout Washington County in April 2023. Chapters 3 and 4 will be filmed in 2024. Many locals were hired as crew members, and students from Utah Tech University were hired as interns, creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add “Horizon” to their resumes. Local community members were giddy with excitement when the call for hiring extras was announced, eagerly volunteering to participate in a project that tells a compelling story and proudly showcases their home. 

In 1979, Robert Redford expressed to a group of college students that he would love to see the construction of a sound stage in St. George. Like Redford, Costner also recognized the beauty of Greater Zion and the benefit of having a sound stage in Washington County. As both western storytellers once dreamed, their visions of a studio are coming to fruition. Preparations are currently underway for the groundbreaking of Territory Film Studios, a joint venture into film production with Kevin Costner and developer Brett Burgess. This studio is another step forward for the local film industry and the local economy. 

The encore

Currently, Utah has over 4,000 higher education students pursuing film-related classes and degree paths. All of Utah’s universities, applied technology schools, and even high schools offer film classes. However, due to extreme difficulty finding in-state, film-related careers, students with film aspirations leave Utah after graduation. The evolving film industry creates an opportunity for Utah to retain those who are raised and educated locally, and Washington County is encouraging that growth through the interest our youth is pursuing: film.  

As Greater Zion continues to grow rapidly, our county leaders have recognized the need for additional industry. The film industry provides jobs, utilizes local services, and provides a family-sustaining wage.  Combined with the amount of interest Utah’s youth demonstrates in the film industry, our beautiful landscape, and substantial economic impact, film offers obvious, sustainable solutions to ever more pressing economic development challenges. 

Washington County has a rich history with film, and an even brighter future in the industry lies right at our fingertips. If we can capitalize on this beckoning opportunity, Washington County could become a hub for filmmaking in the southwest.