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Shot in only 39 days, finishing four days ahead of schedule and therefore reaffirming Eastwood’s reputation of a one-to-three-takes filmmaker, Unforgiven still had a rough production period. The western town of Big Whiskey was built in the remote ranch country of Alberta, Canada, a place where the weather didn’t exactly make life comfortable. “It’s so cold, the water from the rain machines is freezing, making for a treacherous purchase on the muddy ground. The horses are slipping and sliding all over the ice, and the people aren’t doing too well either. It’s so cold, Eastwood’s teeth are chattering,” testified Peter Biskind. The Big Whiskey set was created by production designer Henry Bumstead, who enriched the landscape with a couple of surrounding farms. The town is bare, muddy, simple, scarcely populated, and serves as a perfect stage for Eastwood’s exploration of the conflict between civilization and the violent ways of the dying West. Big Whiskey was built from scratch in the two-month period before the shooting started, and this time was used to teach the actors how to ride horses. Eastwood certainly didn’t like to waste time.

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