In 1954, a dust-filled movie called "The Conqueror", starring John Wayne as Genghis Kahn, was shot in this valley, on ground that had been recently subjected to fallout from a series of nuclear tests at the nearby Nevada Test Site (especially dirty at this time was the 1953 above-ground test code-named "Harry", which spread fallout over the down-wind portions of Utah). The contemporaneous death of thousands of sheep has been attributed to the blast, and around half (more than 90, at last count) of the cast and crew of 220 contracted cancer, many of whom died of their illness, including Susan Hayward, the director Dick Powell, Agnes Moorehead, and John Wayne himself. Statistically, this number should have been around 30. Howard Hughes produced the film, and even had some of the soil trucked back to hollywood for use on the set.
Conqueror Film Location Site