"Along Came Jones" (1945) — Iverson Village is born as Payneville
For all its well-earned reputation as a rock wonderland that essentially defined the look of the American West in countless productions filmed at the site during the heyday of the movie Western, the Iverson Movie Ranch never possessed a Western town set that could quite match the grandeur of those on the studio backlots and at some of the other L.A. area movie ranches.
"Along Came Jones": Gary Cooper in "Payneville," the town he built at Iverson
Up until 1945, when Gary Cooper decided that he wanted a town built at Iverson for his Western "Along Came Jones" — Cooper's sole credit as a producer — the Iverson Ranch didn't have a town set at all. The Western town that did finally get built in 1945 was relatively modest, but it grew up a bit over the years, and was, let's just say, adequate — especially for the low-budget B-Westerns that were Iverson's bread and butter.
Gene Autry in "The Hills of Utah" (1951): Iverson Village, aka El Paso Street
Along with Gene Autry in his B-Western "The Hills of Utah," the above screen shot includes a couple of important features of Iverson's Western town: the distinctive stone Saloon building on the right, a landmark that often helps distinguish Iverson Village from other town sets, and Gumdrop, the sharply angular rock in the background, just above the horse's head. Gumdrop, which was positioned prominently at the southern end of town, also often helps identify Iverson Village.
"The Lone Ranger" (filmed in 1949): Gumdrop, at the south end of town
Here's another view of the southern end of Iverson Village, with Gumdrop dutifully marking the spot. This scene is from "The Lone Ranger," featuring footage shot in 1949, originally for the TV show and later repackaged into the "Lone Ranger" movie for release in 1952. Just visible at the top left of the shot is the tip of Church Rock, another marker rock for the southern end of Iverson Village.
Gumdrop and Church Rock in recent times
As with most shots of the Iverson Village area today, any attempt to depict Gumdrop and other nearby features involves working around mobile homes, as the Indian Hills Mobile Home Village now occupies the spot where the Western street stood. Here is a recent shot of Gumdrop taken from the town set area.
For a look at the northern end of Iverson Village, click here.