The actor talks about westerns, his favorite place in fall, and what he likes to work on

Coming West:

I grew up on Staten Island, but I fell in love with the Westwatching movies. Stagecoach with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood films. When Ifilmed Lonesome Dove, I decided I needed to live in the West.

Ranches big and small:

We had a big ranch in Colorado for 15 years. There you deal withthings on a large scale. Now we have a smaller ranch in the SantaMonica Mountains. We call it the Take It Easy Ranch.

What he likes to work on:

My wife and I are fixing up three little cabins, 1,200 squarefeet each. I'm not a finish carpenter, but I know what a placeneeds.

Living with wildlife:

We have cougars coming through our property. The park service isstudying them, and I help them do fund-raising for that. I've gonewith biologists into the field tracking cougars.

The importance of preserving land:

Ranches in the West are being bought up by people who aren'tinterested in raising livestock but just in developing them. Ithink land trusts and tax incentives to keep the land in ranchingare really crucial.

His favorite project:

I got to film the first movie I directed, Black Cloud (2004), on Navajo lands. It's about a Navajoboxer. I had to convince the tribe I was going to make a movie thatwas accurate. They let us film in Canyon de Chelly, in Chinle,Arizona. I fell in love with the area.

His favorite place in fall:

In western Colorado, I love the beauty of aspen trees. Walkingthrough a grove, just surrounded by shimmering leaves.

Schroder most recently starred in 24. He's currently working on The Andromeda Strain, an A&E miniseries based on theMichael Crichton novel.

Read more about the Santa Monica Mountains

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