Four miles west of Lone Pine, California, nestled in the Alabama Hills along the portal road to Mount Whitney, sits Nightmare Rock. The Alabama Hills are a popular filming location for television and movie productions, especially Westerns set in an archetypical “rugged” environment. Since the early 1920s, scores of movies and television shows have been filmed here, including Tom Mix films, Hopalong Cassidy films, THE GENE AUTRY SHOW, THE LONE RANGER and BONANZA. Classic films include as GUNGA DIN, SPRINGFIELD RIFLE, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott “RANOWN” westerns, part of HOW THE WEST WAS WON, and JOE KIDD. More recent productions include TREMORS, DJANGO UNCHAINED, IRON MAN and GLADIATOR.
Over a hundred and forty years ago, the Great Lone Pine earthquake struck on March 26, 1872. Historical evidence detailing the damage it caused in settlements and landforms near the epicenter, and the geographic extent to which noticeable movement was felt, leads researchers to estimate a Richter magnitude of 7.6 to 8 or greater — similar in size to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Most buildings in Lone Pine were made from adobe brick and crumbled to the ground. Twenty-seven of the approximately 250-300 residents of Lone Pine were killed. Interred within a fenced enclosure are the bodies of 16 people who lost their lives that day.