The Last Stop in Yuma County: Exploring All Filming Locations

Since its release, Francis Galluppi’s debut feature directorial, ‘The Last Stop in Yuma County,’ has received rave reviews from critics, with particular praise for its suspense, gore, and originality. A bloody crime-thriller, the film follows a nameless protagonist who, while traveling to Carlsbad, California, stops for gas at the eponymous last stop in Yuma County. While the gas station waits for the fuel truck to arrive for refueling, some questionable guests, finding themselves in a similar situation, pull over and follow him inside the diner. The screenplay features a number of other characters, all of whom end up at the diner in the middle of the American Southwest.

As they wait indefinitely for the refill truck to turn up, tensions and anxiety fill the atmosphere with suspense. Due to the questionable morality of its characters and limited locations, ‘The Last Stop in Yuma County’ has also been compared with Quentin Tarantino movies, including ‘The Hateful Eight (2015).’ It also similarly blends genres, such as crime-thriller, noir, black-comedy, and Western. The roadside diner setting in ‘Last Stop in Yuma County’ plays a role almost as important as the characters, justifying its place in the film’s title.

In an interview with NPR, the director discussed the film’s genre, describing it as neo-noir. “I always looked at it as a neo-noir, but it definitely has a lot of, like, that modern Western flare. I don’t know. It’s kind of a bunch of things, really. But yeah, I do get Western more than I get noir. So we can call it a Western,” he said. Despite a low budget and reduced requirements of the script, Galluppi and the crew explored various locations that served as ideal backdrops for the narrative.

Where Was The Last Stop in Yuma County Filmed?

Though ‘The Last Stop in Yuma County’ is set in 1970s Yuma County in Arizona, it was not shot on location. Production of the film extensively took place in and around California. The thriller film had a quick 1-month filming schedule during which they moved across Palmdale and other locations in Los Angeles County. The principal photography commenced on October 11, 2022 and lasted till November 7.

The movie also includes multiple views of mountainous and desert landscapes, which add to the narrative’s sizzling tone. In the interview, Galluppi opened up about how the processes of writing and location scouting inspired each other. He had the chance to look around the Los Angeles Bay area for the film, unlike his previous experiences with short films, where he would write a screenplay after selecting a publicly accessible location. Galluppi also served as the editor of the film.

Los Angeles County, California

The diner and gas station, where most of ‘The Last Stop in Yuma County’ takes place, were designed by altering the preexisting 1940s style model at the renowned filming location Four Aces Movie Ranch, a road stop at 14499 East Avenue Q, Palmdale, in Antelope Valley. It serves as a primary filming site for the Francis Galluppi directorial. Apart from taping the scenes set in the interiors, the production team also used the ranch to shoot the exterior sequences. Notably, despite providing the film’s significant portion, the site’s selection was, in fact, a last-minute decision.

The writer-director ended up choosing the ranch for its potential to serve as the perfect backdrop for a period-piece roadside motel. The interior of the set, featuring an alluring booth and kitchen, serves as an eye candy, hacking the viewers’ eyes onto the characters. The diner’s color perfectly compliments the outside heat as the characters get involved in a Mexican stand-off. Over the years, Four Aces Movie Ranch has also aided in the shooting of several movies; some of them are ‘Identity,’ ‘The Devil’s Rejects,’ ‘The Forever Purge,’ ‘No Vacancy,’ and ‘Sam Was Here.’

The filmmaker opened up about his desire to have a saloon-like setting of classic Westerns, which have all sorts of characters stepping in to help or hurt. “But in this movie, it seems like those lines are very blurry,” he added. In an Instagram post, James Claeys who executive produced the film under his banner, The Local Boogeyman Productions, expressed his gratitude towards the film’s cast and crew, captioning: “3 weeks down. Might be the best month of my life.”

Ridgecrest, California

Sierra McCormick and Ryan Masson in The Last Stop in Yuma County

Adding to its suspenseful, varied close-ups and pans, in and out of the diner, ‘The Last Stop in Yuma County’ also features some breathtaking establishing shots. The driving scenes and climactic showdown of the film were shot in a number of dry, arid places between the Ridgecrest region and the Mojave Desert. An additional scene, introducing two characters, Sybil and Miles, as they shoot bullets through cans and discuss their motives, was shot at a dry forest. While the exteriors assist in providing some relief from the claustrophobic environment of the diner, it is soon revealed to have its own deadly consequences. The insides of the police station were also shot at a nearby studio in Ridgecrest.

Read More: The Last Stop in Yuma County: Is the Movie Based on a True Story?