Producer Neil Canton was equally excited that the conclusion of the "Back to the Future" trilogy was to be set in the Old West. "Like Bob and Bob, I also grew up as a big fan of westerns, but never thought I'd get an opportunity to make one. That's the great thing about having a time-traveling DeLorean. You can go anywhere you want."
Canton reveals that the building of the 1885 Hill Valley in Sonora was not the first time the filmmakers had visited the area. "We had considered Sonora as the location for Hill Valley in the original 'Back to the Future.' The town does have a 1950's look and feel to it. Ultimately, we found that it was impractical to use a real town for both 1985 and 1955, as it would have been a logistical nightmare. So we felt that the Universal back lot was the logical place to go."
When it was decided to build an entire town from the ground up for "Part III," the filmmakers looked for a spot to build the town in Valencia, or somewhere nearby, and just close to home. "Originally," says Canton, "we were planning use the train near Sonora for the specific scenes in which it was needed. As we were on the train, it occurred to us that we should be able to tie the train and the town together. It was easier to build the town in Sonora than to move the train."
The producer also took on the task of securing the location of Monument Valley for Marty's departure into the past. "Monument Valley is a place that anyone who's ever watched westerns would immediately recognize. It was an amazing experience for us to film there, because it was as if we actually had traveled back in time and stepped into the movies we had grown up with."
"The Navajo Indians, who maintain the land, were enormously helpful to us. They helped to build the drive-in and also appeared as members of the fictional Pohatchee tribe that Marty encounters upon his arrival in 1885."
Both Canton and Gale agree they experienced some very mixed emotions at the conclusion of filming "Part III." "It's exhilirating and sad at the same time," says Canton. "'Part III' is the coup-de-grace of the trilogy and we're proud of it, as well as the other films. It's been a long, hard road and certainly the most memorable experience in my career. The sad part is that while many of us will work together again in various combinations on other projects, we'll never be able to recapture this experience." Adds Bob Gale, "Over the course of five years, Marty and Doc, and all the people that have worked on these films have become an extended family, and you never want to say goodbye to your family."
Steven Spielberg Presents A Robert Zemeckis Film. "Back to the Future Part III." Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson and Lea Thompson. Music by Alan Silvestri. Edited by Arthur Schmidt, Harry Keramidas. Production design by Rick Carter. Director of Photography, Dean Cundey, A.S.C. Executive Producers, Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy. Story by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale. Screenplay by Bob Gale. Produced by Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. A Universal Picture.
as of April 24, 1990