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South Dakota on the Big Screen and Small Screen

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Beautiful locations like Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park and landmarks like Mount Rushmore National Memorial are the reasons that South Dakota will be featured in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the upcoming sequel to the 2004 blockbuster National Treasure. Over the past 40 years, the Black Hills have lent their magnificence and mystique to Hollywood films, providing yet another reason to visit and relive the magic of the movies.
Along with this upcoming feature, various other movies have been filmed in the Black Hills region:
  • Five miles away from Mount Rushmore National Memorial lies Fort Hays, film site of the Academy Award-winning Kevin Costner film, Dances With Wolves. The film features Kevin Costner as a Civil War lieutenant who abandons his post in the army and integrates into the society and customs of the Lakota Sioux Native American tribe. Admission to browse the film set is free and the location features a 99¢ All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast, a gift shop, and a petting zoo. For more information on visiting this location, check out
  • On the southern side of Custer State Park flows the Hot Springs, where scenes in Disney’s Hidalgo were filmed. The movie features Viggo Mortenson as Frank Hopkins, “The Greatest Rider the World’s Ever Known,” with his trusted horse, Hidalgo. Although the action ends in the Arabian Desert, it all begins at a Wild West show filmed in Hot Springs, South Dakota. For things to do in Hot Springs, search Hot Springs in the interactive trip planner at
  • North By Northwest, the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, features the Presidents of Mount Rushmore National Memorial as the suspenseful thriller leads the stars into Rapid City and then Keystone, South Dakota, at Mount Rushmore. For more information on Mount Rushmore National Memorial, visit
  • In Chris Rock’s comedy, Head of State, one of the locations visited for a campaign speech is that of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, an ideal location for any presidential hopeful to impress a listening audience.
  • On the small screen, South Dakota was the inspiration for the critically acclaimed HBO series Deadwood, featuring a fictional account of the town’s growth from a small camp of gold miners to a prosperous town in the Wild West. Although the show was filmed on sets, the real Deadwood still exists and thrives with casinos, hotels, and live reenactments that take place daily on the streets where history still lives. To learn more about the real Deadwood, South Dakota, visit
For more information on these scenic and historical landmarks and locations, visit the Interactive Trip Planner at