Nearly 25 years ago, greatness occurred in the form of the third episode of the sixth series of Red Dwarf with “Gunman of the Apocalypse“. Written by series co-creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, the episode finds Kryten, Lister, Rimmer and the Cat in a computer simulation of a Wild West town, facing a gunfight against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
While Red Dwarf fans are more than familiar with this International Emmy Award winning episode, what you may not know is the location that provided the realistic western town backdrop to the boys from the Starbug was Laredo Western Town, in Longfield, in the heart of the Kent countryside, just off the M20 motorway. Billed as ‘the one and only true western town in the UK’, Laredo is the brainchild of a number of historians and re-enactors who have spent more than 30 years decking out the “frontier town” to replicate the American Wild West in the years from 1860 to 1890.
Laredo Western Town was founded by John ‘”JT” Truder, a pig farmer who fell in love with westerns in the cinema as a child. “JT”, who passed away in 2013, passed the town on to his daughter, Jolene Truder, who lives in a house on the property. Unlike other locations that are specifically built for the purpose of being a film location or a theme park, Laredo Western Town is a living, breathing western town that just happens to come alive on weekends due to a number of individuals with a desire to keep the wild west alive for all the world to see.
The ‘town’ has 24 buildings including a Hotel, Saloon, Marshall’s Office, Courthouse/Church, Blacksmith, Livery, General Store, Gunsmith, Wells Fargo, Photographer, Assay Office, Bank, Doctor, Undertaker, Texas Rangers, Mining Company, Dentist, Printer, Eating House and more. Inside each one is authentic Western decor with lighting provided by oil lamps and candles while wood burning stoves are used for heating and to cook.
Completing the ‘wild west’ experience, the town boasts gunfights, bank robberies, stagecoaches, wagons and even hitching posts throughout the authentic dusty western street.
In addition to Red Dwarf, Laredo Western Town has been used for a number of film and television projects including episodes of French and Saunders and 2 Point 4 Children.
Only 25 miles from the center of London, Laredo Western Town is definitely worth checking out as is Red Dwarf‘s “Gunman of the Apocalypse” if you haven’t had the pleasure.