The Eastern Sierra mountains, including the highest peak in the contiguous United States, are the backdrop, but it’s the addition of the Alabama Hills that makes the area so desirable. With a combination of volcanic rock and the same types of smooth granite boulders we’d just seen in Joshua Tree, the landscape can be made to look like everything from the Khyber Pass to Mars to the frontier it actually is. During World War II a movie a month was filmed in the Alabama Hills, and commercials for nearly every make of American car and several European cars are set in the rugged environment. Makes sense. If a car can handle these roads, it can handle anything.