Shooting stars

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Crew members prepare for a dance scene by actress Maria Johnson (Angel) at the fictional topless bar “The Round-Up,” at the Billy Goat Saloon in Gem Village. Epiphany Pictures is filming “Cowboys and Indians” at locations in Colorado and Arizona.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

Last year, the Billy Goat Saloon gained national recognition as “Dive Bar of the Month” on the Internet. Now, the Gem Village institution is going for movie-star celebrity.

Epiphany Pictures, a Colorado-based production company, spent three days last week shooting scenes for the firm’s forthcoming release “Cowboys and Indians,” a modern-day drama set and shot mostly in Pagosa Springs and Tucson, Ariz.

It follows the life of Angel (played by Maria Johnson, also known as adult-film star Ruby Knox), a Paiute Indian woman who lives desperately on the edge after having been raped. The Billy Goat stars as The Round-Up, a topless bar where she earns her living. (The Billy Goat has not really gone topless – it’s just showbiz.)

Angel tries her best to raise her son, Gas, the product of the rape, but the 14-year-old runs away from home and is picked up by a hard-up cowboy, Twisty, who was present on the fateful night. As Twisty explains to the boy his mother’s history, the boy is grateful to the cowboy for elucidating many unanswered questions about his past.

Kyle Agnew (“John Carter”) plays Gas, and Catherine Hicks (“Seventh Heaven”), Jeffrey Von Meyer (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Lisa D’Amato (“America’s Next Top Model”) have supporting roles. The film is written and directed by Ian McCrudden. McCrudden’s previous work includes “Äntligen Midsommar - A Swedish Midsummer Comedy” (starring Luke Perry), “Anita O’ Day: The Life of A Jazz Singer;” “Islander;” “Trespassers;” “The Things We Carry;” “The Big Day;” “Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler” and “Trailer – The Movie.” Athena Lobit is the producer.

Epiphany has not given an estimated release date for “Cowboys and Indians.”

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