Starring Brad Pitt … and Southern Alberta

Drive an hour outside of the city limits of my hometown of Calgary, and you’re apt to come across some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen. From rolling foothill’d prairieland to towering, ragged mountaintops that are so high they block out late-afternoon sun to vibrant desert hoodoos, we seem to have it all (well, except for warm winters and beaches — I wish.) So it’s no surprise that Hollywood comes here often to shoot movies which call for wild, expansive, breathtaking scenery.

Ever see Brokeback Mountain? How about The Assassination of Jesse James? Legends of the Fall? Though none of these films are actually set in Alberta, they were all filmed here, under the endless prairie sky. And in each case, the scenery plays a starring role in the film — how can it not?

I’m embarrassed to admit that it took seeing it in the movies to make me realize how gorgeous this part of the world is. Being a habitual city-dweller, it’s hard to see much beyond pavement and rooftops and headlights. It took seeing it through someone else’s eyes to realize that not far from my own doorstep lies pure, divine heaven on earth.