Here's what the Iverson Movie Ranch obsession is all about ...

For an introduction to this blog and to the obsession a growing number of vintage film and TV fans have with the Iverson Movie Ranch — the most widely filmed outdoor location in movie and TV history — please read the site's introductory post, found here.
• Your feedback is appreciated — please leave comments on any of the posts.
• To find specific rock features or look up movie titles, TV shows, actors and production people, see the "LABELS" section — the long alphabetical listing on the right side of the page, below.
• To join the MAILING LIST, send me an email at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com and let me know you'd like to sign up.
• I've also begun a YouTube channel for Iverson Movie Ranch clips and other movie location videos, which you can get to by clicking here.
• Here's a link to Garden of the Gods, the best-known section of the Iverson Movie Ranch (featured in the movie "Stagecoach," the "Lone Ranger" TV show and hundreds of other productions).
• To go right to the great Iverson cinematographers, click here.
• Readers can email the webmaster at iversonmovieranch@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One of the all-time great shootouts in the Iverson Gorge — and a new name for the Gorge's late, lamented "Big Leaner"

"The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (TV series)

I found this great shootout in the TV series "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," in the episode "Shoot to Kill," which first aired Oct. 18, 1960, early in the show's sixth and final season. By "great" I mean mainly that the shootout showcases the famous movie rocks of the Iverson Ranch in spectacular fashion. The whole thing plays out in the Iverson Gorge, which is most of what you're seeing in the above screen shot.

Here I've identified some of the key rock features seen in the first screen shot. The foreground rocks were found in the Upper Gorge, while Garden of the Gods, located to the west of the Gorge, is visible in the background from time to time during the gun battle. "Big Leaner" is the name I've been using in my research — and admittedly, it's not a very good one — to indicate the large cluster of rocks filling up much of the left half of the frame, with Wyatt Earp, in the white shirt, and his backup taking cover behind it. But after seeing this "Wyatt Earp" shootout, I'm forced to admit "Big Leaner" is an inadequate name for such an impressive rock feature. So from now on I'm calling it Wyatt Earp Rock.

"One Foot in Hell" (1960)

I want to make sure readers can get a sense of what Wyatt Earp Rock was all about, because it was a magnificent feature and didn't get as much airtime as it deserved. To make matters worse, the whole rock cluster was destroyed after Iverson shut down as a working movie ranch — a casualty of the development of the Iverson Gorge. The above shot, in which Wyatt Earp Rock is seen behind and to the left of the riders, comes from the widescreen 20th Century-Fox Western "One Foot in Hell" — one of the few productions that did justice to Wyatt Earp Rock.

This is another shot from the same sequence in "One Foot in Hell," and I've cropped it to emphasize Wyatt Earp Rock. If you want to see the rock in even greater detail, you should be able to enlarge the photo by clicking on it.

I've added a couple of notes to make it easier to compare the shots of Wyatt Earp Rock in the two different productions — although I'm not convinced I've actually succeeded in that effort.

This is the full-size version of the screen shot from "One Foot in Hell," which includes a small stable at the left, along with a number of major rock formations. The stable was part of a set that also included a cabin, which I talked about in a previous blog entry that you can see by clicking here. (If you go there, the "One Foot in Hell" material is at the bottom of a long post about cabins in the Gorge.)

Here's the same "One Foot in Hell" shot with some of the major features noted. All of these features also figure into the "Wyatt Earp" shootout — let's get back to it.

Another look at Marshal Earp and his brother Morgan, played by Ray Boyle, in their safe zone behind Wyatt Earp Rock; this shot gives the rock one of the few closeups it ever had.

Hugh O'Brian as the rock-solid Earp gets his closeups too, naturally.

Meanwhile, the bad guys are all over nearby Three Ages Rock.

Chinless Wonder, seen in the center of this shot, gets in on the action too, along with Elders Peak and the Elders, which are south of Iverson across Santa Susana Pass Road. I'll highlight all the key features in the next shot.

Here's the same screen shot with the major features noted.

Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, who should make an appearance but The Wall — one of the most legendary, and most lamented, of all the Iverson Movie Ranch rock features that are no longer with us. The Wall, hard to miss at the top of the frame, was brought down in the late 1980s when condo development hit the Iverson Gorge in a big way.

Some of the detail shots of the rocks are really nice. Plus I'm sure the actors had fun playing shoot-em-up in such a cool setting.

Here's another shot centered around Three Ages Rock, as the tide begins to turn against the bad guys.

This guy got shot right next to Three Ages, and is shown here falling against the rock ... kind of awkwardly. My hat's off to all the actors and stuntmen — it couldn't have been easy dying with all those jagged rocks around.

Three Ages Rock and the remains of the D-Train in modern times

The photo of the wounded man falling against Three Ages Rock reminds me a little — ONLY a little — of this one, which I've posted before. This shot from recent times shows a film location researcher in virtually the same spot as the "Wyatt Earp" bad guy, albeit in a more casual pose and in happier times, exploring the Iverson Movie Ranch. The two shots contain many of the same rocks, including those behind, below and on both sides of the people in the shots. The recent shot also reveals the remains of the D-Train, in the foreground. You can click here to read a previous blog post about the rather brutal "defacing" of the D-Train.


Check out "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" if you're interested in old Western TV shows, movie rocks ... and especially if you're interested in the Iverson Movie Ranch. I'll post some links to Amazon below. I'm also including links for "One Foot in Hell."


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