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New owners plan to rebuild iconic Mescal Movie Set in Benson

BENSON, Ariz. — The Mescal Movie Set once made Benson one of the most recognizable western cinematic towns on the big screen.

The set was built in 1939 by Columbia Pictures for a movie called “Arizona.” Some 215 films followed — such as “Tombstone” and “The Quick and the Dead” in the early 1990s — and 28 television series also were shot on the location.

The last movie filmed at Mescal was in 2014 and the deteriorating set was saved from destruction by local ranchers.

Now, the new owners of the iconic set plan to rebuild it into an 1860-1920 era Western frontier town that is compatible with a production company’s filming needs.

Tucson TV station KVOA reported Tuesday that Kartchner Ventures plans to renovate 27 buildings and construct new buildings such as a church, blacksmith shop and stage depot.

The buildings also will include appropriate furniture, tools and props.

While the ultimate goal is to get the Mescal set back on the big screen, the new owners say the rebuilt frontier town can also be used for public tours, special events, historic reenactments and western heritage education opportunities.