Welcome to The Movie Fargo. From Brainerd, MN where it allegedly took place.

Brainerd watertower

Brainerd's Landmark Watertower:
Dey didn't show ya dis here really big watertower dat we're so attached ta in dat der movie, did dey?

We was mentioned in dat der purty littl' National Geographic Magazine ting doncha know. Dey wrote up some nice tings about us and our littl' web site. Ya know, dey sure take nice pitures.
 fargo - the movie
 A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, March 15, 1995

Hey, this isn't Brainerd


People in this northwestern North Dakota community have noticed a new winter visitor.

A statue of Paul Bunyan, along with a "Welcome to Brainerd, Home of Paul Bunyan" sign now stands tall on the prairie, along Pembina County Highway 1, four miles west of town.

The 25-foot statue was erected over the weekend for the filming of a police chase scene for the movie, "Fargo."

"You should have seen it right after they put it up," said Reinhold Henschel, who owns Reinhy's Bar, one of a handful of businesses in the town of 75 people about 10 miles south of the Canadian border.

"It was foggy, and people couldn't see it until they got right up to it. Then, it says, 'Brainerd,' and they thought, 'What the hell?"

How Bathgate got involved in a movie called "Fargo" and with the legend of Paul Bunyan and Brainerd is simply a matter of weather. The film crew needs snow, and Bathgate has snow - at least for a few more days.

The crew also is scouting out other possible settings for the film. But as daytime temperatures reach into the 40s, the filming had to keep moving north where the snow was.

The movie is based on a true story about a wintertime kidnapping plot that began in Fargo and ends in Brainerd, a central Minnesota lake resort city.

Bathgate isn't a resort city, and there are few trees around for the legendary lumberjack to chop down. Mostly, it's farmland.

Legally, it's a city. But besides the bar, the post office, an elevator and the Pioneer Rest Home, there are only a few dozen homes.

Still, there were plenty of sightseers Monday evening and early Tuesday, after word spread about the filming along the highway.

The Pembina County Sheriff's Department has been helping with traffic control. A few locals are even helping out with the logistics of filming in the rural setting.

John Morrison, a farmer, has been blowing and plowing snow so there is plenty for the film. Others are providing building space for the crew's equipment.

Mary Ann Houston's husband even pulled one of the crew's vehicles out of a ditch. She's the postmaster in Bathgate.

"They should have been here a week earlier, when we had more snow," she said.

The filming has been a popular topic of conversation since the weekend.

The statue will be taken down after the filming is over, the sheriff's department says - so the people of Bathgate won't have to adopt a borrowed legend.

Still, the movie is providing excitement in this tiny community, as the long winter winds down.

"We should have more of this kind of thing around here," said Emil Martineau. "It's something to talk about."


All contents © Copyright brainerddispatch.com and Morris Digital Works