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Indigenous tribes once used the roots of wild iris — the blooms in this field outside Bishop — to treat toothache.

In the 1935 “oater” “Westward Ho” John Wayne cured heartache by serenading co-star Sheila Bromley amid another peaceful meadow in the Owens Valley, a location for hundreds of films.

East of the Sierra Nevada, the valley stretches some 75 miles from Mono Lake south to mostly dry Owens Lake—the latter depleted due to a vitriolic water war with the thirsty city of Los Angeles. 

Benign outsiders now come to hike or horseback ride the high country, ski, camp and seek to summit 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48.  

“Westward Ho,” starring John Wayne, was filmed in the valley.

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