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Scott Arkansas
 
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
The Last Ride

Dortch Commissary Selected as Movie Site

 

Bob Smith

 

            The Scott Plantation Settlement was a centerpiece of activity on March, 22-26 when the filming of one of the scenes for the movie, The Last Ride, took place at the Dortch Commissary. This is one of five locations used in the Scott Community during the production. Cotham’s Restaurant, Horseshoe Lake, Scott Elementary School, and the Plantation Agriculture Museum also appear in the movie.

            The movie covers the last two days of the life of Hank Williams Sr. played by Henry Thomas who also played Eliot in the movie, E.T--The Extra Terrestrial.  He was also in the Gangs of New York with Leonardo DeCaprio.  The movie includes some local talent, Carl and Ray Scruggs, who were used as “extras” as the checker players.  

            The commissary underwent a dramatic makeover when the art crew showed up and transformed the bare walls into a state of the art classic country store atmosphere. Some of the sets were left including the post office booth at the back of the commissary.

            As a novice observer, my first impression of the activities was one of controlled chaos, with several different crews arriving on the scene, all with a specific function, i.e., the numerous trailers, vans and production staff, makeup and wardrobe, lighting, sound, catering tents, outside director’s tents,  and bluegrass musicians  doing preliminary rehearsals before actual filming. After viewing all of this confusion, things started to evolve into a well-organized professional operation and the day ended with a job well done. A considerable amount of collateral interest was shown by the production staff as they toured the other buildings and exhibits.  They had several questions about the buildings and one commented, “I wish we had seen this before—we could have used the Big House as the doctor’s office instead of the one we filmed on Cumberland Street in Little Rock. This would have saved us a lot of time.”

            They know who we are now and maybe they will come back again! The making of this movie demonstrates the multifunctional potential of the Scott Plantation Settlement and after seeing what the commissary could look like as a completed exhibit for touring, this gives us added incentive to replicate the scene projected in the movie.

 
 Click HERE for pictures of the action
 
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