We pulled into Goulding’s trading post for lunch. A storm blew up whilst we were there and, for a short while, there was a torrential downpour (rare to see such a phenomenon in the desert). The trading post had the standard giftshop full of Indian-made trinkets and souvenirs and, off to one side, a nondescript small stone building described as a museum. Preferring a museum to a trinket shop I went to investigate and so stumbled across an enchanting museum with a strong European connection. It is, in fact, the story of three men – Harry Goulding, originally from Durango, Colorado; Josef Muench, originally from Schweinfurt, Bavaria; and John Ford, originally from Cape Elisabeth, Maine – and one woman, Leone Knee, also from Durango. In 1921 Harry married Leone, giving her the nickname ‘Mike’. They set up their trading post, adored the landscape and became close to the local Navajo Indians. Six years later, the young anti-fascist Muench threw a tomato at Adolf Hitler during a Nazi rally in Schweinfurt. Thereafter he realised he was a marked man for the local thugs so he left to seek his fortune in America, ending up in California. A keen amateur photographer, he became entranced by Monument Valley. Whilst taking phorographs there he stayed at Goulding’s many times. When the area was hit by the Great depression, Harry thought that the Valley would be an excellent place to make films, so he and Mike took their last sixty dollars and several of Jozef Muench’s photographs with them to Hollywood. There, they camped outside John Ford’s office, putting the photographs on display. When Ford saw the pictures he was immediately intrigued and decided to make his next (1939) film, Stagecoach, there. It was the film that made John Wayne’s career but it also put Monument Valley into the minds of cinemagoers as quintessential cowboy and Indian territory and thereafter appeared as the backdrop to many films (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, My Darling Clementine, The Searchers, Fort Appache, Cheyenne Autumn, and The Eiger Sanction being among them). Goulding’s then turned into a sort of base camp for film productions, including a canteen and lodgings. All of this is lovingly documented in the museum,  which has preserved the trading post and its living quarters, together with many cinematographic momentos, much as they were when Harry and Mike lived there. (The building itself served as an ‘extra’ in several films.) It is a wonderful small museum and well worth a visit.