Abrams--Shane--Sam and Sandy
Was trying to ignore the heat by drinking a cold water and stakeing out a picnic tablet at the Abrams campground.Fishing had been pretty good--caught several small fish which is better than none.Noticed an elderly couple,walking to the parking area beside the stream.They carried rods etc.They approached my picnic table,asked permission,and had a seat.They were parched--Went to my truck and pulled out a couple of cold waters,offered the waters to them,they readily accepted them.They were Sandy and Sam from Wyoming.Sandy expained she was originally from Gunnison Colo.She met and married Sam,and the couple moved to Sam's family's ranch in Wyoming,somewhere in the Starr Valley close to Afton.Starr Valley is the home of the Salt River,goooood fishing.She said the Salt River ran by her back doorShe fished the Salt,as well as most every river in western Wyoming.Sandy and Sam spent their lives in Wyoming.Sam always wanted to come East to the see the Smokies(his brother told him how pretty a place it was and how different it was from Wyoming)Sandy said in the1950's things were tight for Ranchers--Ranchlife was tough,Wyoming was tough,the winter's were worse than tough.They raised cattle and horses.When they set up house on the ranch,she began having babies.that started in 1948 with birth of their 1st,a girl.
In 1948,she thinks,the big news was not her new baby,but Hollywood was coming to nearby Jackson(Hole) to make a movie,a western.There were jobs available for locals wanting to do menial jobs.The pay was good,Sam and Sandy needed the money.They turned the babies over to Sam's parents,packed a few things and headed for Jackson Hole,where they had been guaranteed jobs by the local banker who had connections,and that's how she got her job as cleaner-upper on the set of Shane.They stayed in a cabin close to flat creek.They fished a lot in Flat Creek,The Snake River,Cottonwood Creek,and once in PACIFIC Creek,the streams were full of fish.She said these days were happy one's for she and Sam.She was 16,a mother,a ranchwife,and a fly fisherman!!!!
Sandy said-to this day she didnot understand how movies are made--The man they called the director was mean,he did not have much humor and yelled a lot,at hundreds of people trying to get things ready to run the film,and tell a story.It was confusion and chaos.
Once,at dusk,when almost everyone was gone back to Jackson,she walked along the town front built by local carpenters meant to look like a town out of the old West--She thought no one would ever believe any of it because it was all fake.
Sandy saw Alan Ladd a few times--he was always with a bunch of people making over him--getting him ready to be in the movie--He was short--real short--he smoked a lot--and seemed miserable.
Van Heflin fished a lot in the Snake River.He was a good caster.He called his wife Cookie.
The boy in the movie was spoiled rotten-the local kids gave him a hard time.
Sandy said when she first saw Ben Johnson--she knew he was one of them--He was a real cowboy--he could really ride--he was tall and had a voice that she found nice.He met his wife in Jackson while making Shane,she had a little part in the movie.
We talked little while longer.I told her Shane was one of the best Western's ever made..She agreed,but you could not prove it through her--she repeated and added alittle more to what she said before--She was 16,married and happy,fishing a lot and working a lot at the base of the Grand Tetons.