Rawlins’ Wyoming Frontier Prison Was Perfect For 1987 Horror Film

Did you know that Viggo Mortensen filmed a movie in Rawlins, Wyoming, featuring the Wyoming Frontier Prison? The prison, which was occupied from 1901-1981, was never expected to become the perfect filming location only six years after they shut the doors; locals certainly never anticipated one of the most recognizable faces from Hollywood to be the movie’s star, either!

Viggo Mortensen arrived in Rawlins in 1987 to film the now-B-rated horror film “Prison.” To say the city surrounding the famous Wyoming Frontier Prison was excited was an understatement. The film plot centers around Viggo’s character, Burke, as he enters the previously decommissioned prison, now deemed suitable for prisoners due to the overpopulation of the more modern Wyoming State Penitentiary. Soon after Burke’s arrival, strange and scary things begin to happen within the prison walls. Warden Sharpe, played by Lane Smith, is convinced he knows the culprit behind the strange happenings, but how can he stop the ghost of the Wyoming Frontier Prison?

Discover Carbon County Wyoming! Plan to take a guided tour of this 122-year-old prison facility, walk the blocks where “Prison” was filmed and see the lasting effects and staging left behind.

Viggo Mortensen filmed B-rated horror film “Prison” in Rawlins, Wyoming, in 1987 at the Wyoming Frontier Prison. You can still tour the facility! Photo courtesy of Wyoming Carbon County

For more information on Carbon County, visit WyomingCarbonCounty.com.