About the Bradshaw Family & A Day in the West
When Bob Bradshaw came to Sedona back in 1945, Sedona was a small agricultural cattle town ripe of opportunity for a young man to leave his mark in the world.
In 1949, Bob’s love for photography prompted the building of his first photo studio and Kodak Dealership located in uptown Sedona. Built next to The Hitching Post Restaurant, the business was constructed all by Fox Film set materials from the movie Broken Arrow starring Jimmy Stewart, Jeff Chandler, and Geraldine Page. A horse corral was erected behind the studio and the Bradshaw family opened the first commercial trail riding business that offered tours of the Red Rock country.
Although a few early films were shot in the Sedona area, It was not long after Bob’s arrival that Hollywood turned its eye to the pristine beauty and accommodating scenery of the area for the western film genre. Not only did he build the first western town for use in the booming Movie Industry (located beneath Coffee Pot Rock), but was a stuntman, actor, photographer, film location scout, and supplier of cattle, and horses. Bob’s influence with Hollywood left its mark, he worked on 28 films,19 television shows, and 77 commercials and was one of the first official Marlboro Men for their commercials. Ironically, having never smoked, he confessed with a smile, “I just faked the smoking”. Bob explains, “My skills for building and my abilities with horses and cattle along with my knowledge of the entire region, made me a valuable asset in the making of many motion pictures here in Red Rock country.” “I was good on horses, that’s what they wanted. As for the stunts, I just did the easy ones, I wasn’t crazy.”
Later, many of these westerns were filmed on the 140 acre ranch Bob acquired in 1960 for $200 an acre. When he moved in, all that remained of the original homestead abandoned in 1942, was an old adobe house, which still stands today and is believed to be the oldest pioneer structure in the Sedona area. Over the years, the Bradshaw Ranch served as a location for 5 movies, 2 television series, and numerous commercials. For the film “Stay Away Joe” starring Elvis Presley in 1967, the first old town movie set was erected on the ranch called “Bitter Creek” which was used as a set for many later movies, TV series, and commercials eventually being burned down for a Wells Fargo commercial in 1986. The old town was then re-erected to host “A Day in the West’s” western destination town. The town was maintained until the sale of the Ranch to The National Forest (Department of Agriculture), whereupon it was taken down and the land returned to natural desert grasslands…. the adobe house still stands.
His Favorite film was Johnny Guitar (1953 starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden) where he rode in the posse. His favorite movie star was Henry Fonda, who came to town for The Rounders in 1964. Bob said “He was a nice guy.”
Bob went on to become one of the most renowned photographers of Sedona and through out Arizona. He was also well known for his stunning landscape photography that captured and documented the essence of southwest and 4 corners region. From 1950 through 1985, Bob was a major contributor to Arizona Highways Magazine, a renowned publication still in print today. His images not only captured the incredible beauty of this diversified state, they also immortalized a period of time in western history that is slowly disappearing.
Bob Bradshaw passed away on August 8, 2008. Prior to his death, he documented his colorful life and adventures full of rich entertaining Sedona and Arizona history in a book called “The Sedona Man, Life and Adventures of Arizona Cowboy Bob Bradshaw“. Over the years he went on to publish many coffee table books that portray the Dine` people (Navajo tribe), the Hope and, early Pueblo Clans (Ancient Cliff dwellers), along with breathtaking scenery along with the Sedona Movie history.
Bradshaw’s life story is equally interesting with its deep roots within the Arizona’s rich western heritage. John was born and raised in the town of Sedona, and has carried on, and expanded the Bradshaw legacy. His dad ushered him into this world like a true cowboy by paying for his delivery with a colt.
From a young age his dad inspired him to appreciate and respect the beauty of Sedona. Along with carrying along the Bradshaw history, John was born, raised, and continues to live in the town of Sedona expanding his father’s legacy.
From a young age, his dad inspired him to appreciate and respect the beauty of Sedona. He grew up like any young cowboy, loving nature, caring for the land, working cattle, and living on the back of a horse that he most likely broke.
Following in his father’s footsteps, John became a photographer in his own right. Many of the beautiful photos seen on post cards and calendars around town are products of Bradshaw Color Studios. Eventually he married his high school sweetheart, Maree, and the two have two beautiful children, Jillian and Mason. He is the recipient of the Main Street Person of the Year Award (2003), and was elected to the Sedona City Council in 2004 (he is the only member who was born here).
Growing up, John was close in on the sets of 40 commercials and print ads, contracting jobs as a benefit to his father’s location work in the film industry. Bob Bradshaw’s horseback riding company continued on past the photo shop and John became the head wrangler. He began leading tours at the age of 9 and taking folks out by himself by the age of 12 years old. He knew the area better than anyone and would take riders from King’s Ransom Hotel, the first hotel in Sedona and John Wayne’s favorite place to stay, up into the back country of Bear Wallow Canyon and Broken Arrow trail area.
Ranch life creates a richness of character and a passion and dedication to everything you do throughout the day. This became the solid foundation of character that dictated the rest of his life as a business man, politician, advocate for the land, and as a good husband and father. Married to his high school sweetheart Maree, he’s a proud father of two beautiful children, Jillian and Mason.
John’s accolades are numerous and most revolve around the contributions to this community. In 2003, he was awarded “The Main Street Person” of the year award. In 2004, he became the only Sedona native to be elected to the city council. He continues to be active within the community as the Sedona High School football coach and a positive roll model to the youth of Sedona as well as an exceptional boss to his numerous employees.
In the mid-nineties John took over the management of the Bradshaw Ranch, using it as a destination for horseback rides and jeep tours. During this time he also purchased Sedona Photo Tours, a F.S. Permitted company. Over the years, the Bradshaw Ranch served as location for five movies, two TV series, and numerous commercials. It’s also seen the likes of Beau Bridges, Elvis Presley and Kenny Rogers. Several of the Subaru commercials with Paul Hogan were filmed there at that time, as well as numerous commercials and photo shoots.