Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera

No Longer Available

Virtual Available In:USA
Ticket Prices
General Public:Streaming - $13.00 (+ $2 online fee)
Mpls Park & Rec Drive In - $25 per Car
Members:Streaming - $10.00 (no online fee)
Mpls Park & Rec Drive In - $20 per Car
Film Info
Premiere Status:Minnesota Premiere
Programs:New American Visions
Women & Film
Women Directors
Outdoor Screening
Live Event
Includes Q&A
Release Year:2020
Runtime:82 min
Print Source:Quantum Leap Productions
Director:Kristin Atwell Ford
Executive Producer:Billie Jo Herberger
Judd Herberger
J. Scott Hooker
Producer:Kristin Atwell Ford
Bill Davis
Cinematographer:Bill Davis
Robert Pflumm
Greg Voigt
Steven Snow
Jacob Mroczek
Editor:Bill Davis
Jacob Bricca
Misty Wilson


Drive-In Screening at Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board Headquarters

Address: 2117 West River Road North, Minneapolis, MN 55411

Friday, May 21 - Doors: 7:00pm | Program Starts: 8:30pm

Virtual Screening

Available Friday, May 14 - Sunday, May 23
Your ticket includes a recorded Q&A following the film.

A lone gunman silhouetted against the fading sun, stampedes and shoot outs, a masked rider, cows, tumbleweeds, sheriffs and cowboys and cowgirls--is the stuff of a western or the stuff of an opera? Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera proves it can be both.

When an American composer fled a thunderstorm and found himself in the Zane Grey Cabin in Arizona, little did he realize he was about to embark on a multi-year journey to take Grey’s most celebrated novel to the stage. Director Kristin Atwell Ford followed the production for six years, from composing to casting to set design, to an opening night performance featuring 84 performers backed by the talents of a legion of people who made the production come alive. Bound to be one of the seminal documentaries on opera, Riders of the Purple Sage is a love letter to westerns, to opera, and to everyone who is called to perform.

Director Biography

Kristin Atwell Ford Documentary filmmaker and Arizona native Kristin Atwell Ford was trained at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and graduated from Stephens College with a dual degree in English and Women’s Studies. She produced and wrote Fire & Water for Salt River Project, for PBS and co-produced and wrote Protecting the Source, for which she won the 2016 Emmy Award for Best Environmental Special, among many other projects.