The Philmont Documentary

When the domain registration for expired it disappeared from the web. The new owners of the site felt that the information about this collection was of worthy interest and decised to create an edited version of the original site for people doing a search for Philmont and the Philmont Scout Ranch. Enjoy.
Content is from the site's archived pages.

This three-hour collection is for anyone who has been to Philmont, plans to go, or just wants to understand what all the excitement is about. The collection was produced over a three year span as a labor of love by longtime Philmont staffer, participant, and filmmaker Larry McLaughlin. This is the most comprehensive and emotional presentation of Philmont Scout Ranch ever made. A full length documentary follow a crew on an entire 11 day trek through all of it’s peaks and valleys. The film explores the history and development of Philmont through rare interviews with Waite Phillips son and most of the Philmont Program Directors from the past 50 years. Perfect for preparing crews to go to Philmont, recruiting new participants, informing parents or recapturing your memories of Philmont Scout Ranch! This is the ultimate keepsake for anyone who loves Philmont.

More than 1 million Scouts, Venturers, and leaders have experienced the adventure of Philmont since the first camping season in 1939. Throughout its existence, conscientious attention to low-impact camping techniques has helped maintain the Ranch's wilderness.​ I attended when I was a teenager which permitted me go on treks. Now that I work for a team offering a custom software service I am keenly aware that lessons that I learned at Philmont such a working productively and co-operatively within a team, taking responsibility for one's actions, and understanding what a leadership role requires of an individual are still with me today. My love of backpacking also began during my summers at Philmont. I think this site is definitely worth keeping visible for online visitors to find. For a current site on the Philmont Scout Ranch go to:



This collection is for anyone who has been to Philmont, plans to go, or just wants to understand what all the excitement is about.


For those who wish to revisit Philmont memories, gain more insight into its history and operations, or just want to share the magic with others back home- this is the ideal keepsake.  


Filmed over 2 summers, this is the most comprehensive  and beautiful collection of videos ever made about Philmont.





  1. ★Philmont (93 min) This film features the history, impact and beauty of Philmont Scout Ranch.  The first 30 minutes tells the story of the Scout Ranch’s origins and development from Waite Phillips to today through archival photos, footage and rare interviews.  The second part of the film underscores the significance and allure of Philmont today as it follows a crew’s experience through the peaks and valleys of a trek.  


  1. ★Philmont Slideshow (11 min) A selection of Philmont’s best photographs spanning more than 70 years.   


  1. ★Special Programs (8 min) Information & interviews on Philmont’s special  programs including Rayado, Cavalcade, ROCS, Autumn Adventure and Kanik.


  1. ★The Animated Story of Philmont (5 min) An animated short comedy depicting the colorful history of the area in the centuries before the Boy Scouts.


  1. ★The Phillips’ Extended Interviews (21 min)  Chope Philips speaks about his father, Waite Phillips, and his memories of growing up on the ranch before it  was given to the BSA.  Virginia Phillips shares stories of her father and mother in-law. 


  1. ★The Sights & Sounds of Philmont (13 min) Beautiful scenery and natural sounds from around the ranch for when you need to get your Phil-fix from your living room.


  1. ★Philmont in Two - A two minute presentation for award ceremonies and other events when you have a short amount of time to give your audience a glimpse of Philmont.


Boys' Life Review of Philmont: The Movie

Four words: Philmont … in … high … definition. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the new documentary from former Philmont Scout Ranch staffer Larry McLaughlin.

The movie details the history of Philmont and even follows a crew through an entire Philmont experience. With 93 minutes of gorgeous HD video and photos, the movie is great for those who have been to Philmont and those to hope to someday go.



Reviews from Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars Describes Philmont like no other
By Eric on February 26, 2012
This is the first real documentary of Philmont and is long overdue. That said, there may not need to be another because of how good this one is. It steps you through Philmont's history with some interviews of those who were there including film clips from around the time Waite handed the property over to the Boy Scouts. The film continues following the trek of a crew of Venturers who had never been to Philmont or done much of any extended trekking. One of the leaders had been to Philmont, but during the trek has to be taken to Basecamp for injuries. As you follow this crew, you see some of the changes in how they accept the difficulties they endure as well as how they fall in love with Philmont. It is summed up by one of the Venturers who came with a lot of questions, but through Philmont, he had gotten the direction he needed. I think what he was saying and I wish I could have quoted him, that you learn a lot about priorities in life through participating in an adventure like Philmont offers.

Aside from following a crew and the history section of this film, there is also video of the sights and sounds of Philmont. Through all of it, though at times there are multiple camera angles, all was shot by one man Larry McLaughlin who hike the trails with the crew, having to carry not just the video equipment, but periodically take the batteries to other locations for charging. The quality of the picture and sound is high and the extent that Larry has captured what Philmont is to those who have been is extraordinary. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone wanting to know more about Philmont or wanting to remember the incredible beauty of Philmont they experienced on a trek.
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't explain Philmont, show them.
By Phil Romans on February 27, 2012
I have been on two full treks, a PSA trek, an autumn Adventure, worked at Philmont for four summers, and am a member of the Philmont Staff Association. To say I love Philmont would be a bit of an understatement.

When I start trying to explain Philmont I always get lost in which angle to take. Do I explain the history, or the people, or the environment, or activities... There are so many aspects that make up each and every person's version of Philmont is just that- their own.

Which is why I now tell people to watch the movie now. Hauling out a photo album, a map, and various left over camp food is not good enough. Larry has done what I have tried to do via those various methods, and short of taking someone there to show and have them experience. If you know someone who has ever gone or thinks about going- this is the movie to share with them.

I also have to confess I have been lucky to have known "Dirty" Larry since my Staff days at Philmont. I was able to see him perform, and know the members of the Tabasco Donkeys. So I am biased- there I said it. However, he loves that land and people as much as anyone who has ever seen a sunrise there. So much so, he named his film company after the backcountry camp he loves the most.
5.0 out of 5 stars Its the next best thing to being there.
By G Hassel on February 26, 2012
I got this movie as a gift from my parents, who knew how special my Philmont experience was. I sat down to watch it with my Dad, who went with my Venture crew and to our surprise it chronicled a crew on the exact same trek that we went on! Watching this brought back so many memories it even made my dad tear up at the end (and me a little too). The director did a fantastic job capturing the essence of Philmont. If you have been you will really enjoy it, if you are planning to go it will get you pumped up for sure. Even 2 months after seeing this I can still say with great enthusiasm I WANT TO GO BACK TO PHILMONT!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
By CrustyDog on February 26, 2012
The trailer says that the hardest thing about a Philmont trek is trying to explain it to someone who hasn't been on a Philmont trek. This documentary is the best explanation I've ever heard, plus it is full of interviews and pictures and facts to explain how this wonderful place came to be.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best description of Philmont available
By Trent L. Nichols on February 26, 2012
Larry McLaughlin has produced a masterful documentary about the world's largest youth, Philmont Scout Ranch in the Sangre De Cristo mountains of northeastern New Mexico. The documentary has some spectacular footage showing the beauty of the area. The documentary begins by talking about how difficult it is to convey to those who have never been to Philmont, what it is like to be there. He then helps to answer the question by providing an interesting and relatively complete history of the creation of the Scout Ranch through the generosity of Waite Philips. The history is further developed by providing vignettes about some key events in the development of what is termed a "Scouting Paradise".
The second portion of the documentary follows a Venturing Crew which has little experience in the outdoors. The coed Crew has somewhat typical experiences with challenges that they individually and as a group overcome. To a person, everyone in the Crew has a great time and wants to return one day.
There are several bonus features that add to the value of this DVD. The DVD is very well done, interesting, and a must have for all who have gone or are planning to go to Philmont. For those who know little about what Scouting is really about, I highly recommend this film. It will provide insight into the value of Scouting for America's youth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the essence of Philmont
By Barry J. Rozas on March 16, 2012
This DVD is for anyone who has been to Philmont or is planning their first trip. It is jam packed with amazing photography and cinematography with a background score that really puts you in the mood. Obviously, the filmmaker cares about Philmont -- it is evident in the care and attention to detail for all of the segments. But the lengths he goes to get an amazing story from a crew of first timers gives you a feeling of actually being part of the trek. I can't recommend this enough.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing documentary about Philmont Scout Ranch
By J. Bundrick on September 19, 2012
Amazing documentary. The first half is a history of Philmont and how it came to be what it is today and the second half follows a crew on their trek. I think it is impossible to really understand Philmont unless you go, but this is the next best thing. It's a great way to get Scouts excited about going or convincing a spouse that it's "worth" going to Philmont.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done
By R. Cunningham on February 26, 2012
This documentary is second to none in trying (yes trying - nothing beats going) to capture the experience of a Philmont Trek. I first became aware of Larry's talents as he is a member of the Tobasco Donkeys, a true-to-Philmont band of bluegrass musicians helping us relive those campfire programs. Now Larry, through his excellent filmaking skills, has captured the experience of a trek. Since I trekked in 2006 I have tried to share the essence of the experience with others, and this documentary does it well. I even puchased one for my Father-in-Law whose ol' frame prevents him from going on his eleventh trek. But after going ten times, he still has moments of joy while watching this film.

If you are trying to decide what a trek would be like before going, or you want to relive the trek you took in the past (6-11-L1), take some advice from this Scoutmaster, buy this DVD. You won't be disappointed!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure movie
By Clifton on February 26, 2012
This video does a great job of sharing the Philmont experience. Part of the video provides a background on the rich history of the area, from ancient Anasazi Indian tribes, logging, mining and western lore. The other part of the video shows how a ten day backpacking trip can change the lives of young men and women. I highly recommend this video if you are planning a trek on the Philmont Scout Ranch.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly Back Home for the Summer
By Jeff Wallick on December 9, 2013
I worked for 7 summers at Philmont as a P.C and Camp Director in the Back Country, the director Larry McLaughlin i.e "Dirty Larry" did a great video and it does a great job in capturing the essence and feeling of Philmont. I can speak from first hand knowledge that he put his heart and soul into this video. Only a person who has sat around campfires singing songs at Black Mountain can truly understand what the Philmont experience does to a person psyche. I can not recommend it enough, it has been the closest thing to actually going there in person. If you thinking about going to Philmont as a Camper or as a Staff member, watch this video!

Jeff Wallick