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'The Hateful Eight': The story behind the film's location

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Wilson Peak was the real life setting for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight"
James Kim/KPCC
Wilson Peak near Telluride, Colorado was the setting for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight."

John Minor was the location scout for Quentin Tarantino's western, which was shot on a ranch outside Telluride, Colorado.

When you think of Tatooine from “Star Wars,” you imagine a harsh desert landscape where Luke Skywalker starts his journey to become a Jedi.  Or what about “The Shire” in “Lord of the Rings”? You picture Frodo and the rest of the hobbits frolicking through the bright green hillsides.

While these places are set in fantasy worlds, they’re actual locations in our world… and someone is responsible for finding them. For Quentin Tarantino’s "The Hateful Eight," that was location scout John Minor.

Minor has been a location scout for more than 20 years. For his latest challenge, he was tasked to find a ridge with a dramatic mountain in the background for “The Hateful Eight.”
Marvin Schmid owns the Schmid Family Ranch in Telluride, Colorado. His family built the ranch in the late 1800s. It sits on a vast green plain, right at the edge of a forest that leads straight to the mountain known as Wilson Peak.
Tarantino isn’t the only person who’s fallen in love with the picturesque view. It’s been used in numerous films and commercials, and you’ve probably seen it before.
Minor and Schmid met around the mid '90s, when Minor first found this location for a Marlboro commercial. He found it by doing a particular form of research.
But once filming gets started, that’s when the hard work starts. And that’s what happened on "The Hateful Eight."
A film crew of that size coming into a small town like Telluride — population about 2,000 — drew some concerns from the community over increased traffic, road blocks and other disruptions to daily life. It was Minor’s task to handle those concerns.
One of the first things Minor had to do was let all the people living near the Schmid Family Ranch know a film crew would be shooting for a few months. And that’s when he met a woman named Amber.
Word spread throughout the crew and it became obvious that Minor and Amber had a connection.
Minor knew that work came first. But his relationship with Amber did raise some eyebrows… since she is Marvin Schmid’s daughter.
But again, Minor kept it professional throughout the entire shoot. And when filming was done, he returned to Los Angeles and took a U-Haul back to Telluride to move in with Amber. Now, Minor has become a part of the Schmid family, helping out at the ranch when he’s not location scouting.
Minor and Schmid have seen more and more tourists and Tarantino fans driving through the property to see where “The Hateful Eight” was filmed.
"The Hateful Eight" is in select theaters on Christmas Day then opens wide on Jan. 1.
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