ON LOCATION >
Patagonia, Chile and Corrientes Province, Argentina.
COWBOY CUISINE >
Maté is the original cowboy coffee.
Last on the agenda was to corral our characters. Jasper had ridden across Patagonia several times, and had met on his travels many wandering baqueanos, the cowboys of the region. Through a local friend he had gotten the 'casting call' out to a select group, and we met them in a tiny, smoky lodge by a roaring fire. In their great cloaks, black leather jackets, wrapped sashes, tall leather boots and berets, they looked like some lost 19th century military patrol. But after hundreds of years in this weather, the baqueano has developed a dress that perfectly combats the conditions.
We explained the importance of the film: it would document cowboy culture in a few remote areas of the globe, which would serve to represent the steps in the worldwide evolution of the cowboy. These baqueanos, we told them, would be representing not only their own culture and their region, but the very idea of the cowboy itself. As they reverently accepted their task, we hoped that we could create a film worthy of their trust.
The storyline here would follow the annual gathering of horses, as the baqueanos drive their herds down from the mountains each fall before the winter snows come. We began shooting in the highlands and followed the drive over the next week, as the men and their horses traversed 60 miles of difficult terrain, landing finally in a sheltering valley, at a remote estancia that would hold the herds until spring returned.