"Overland Stage Raiders" (1938)
I started noticing a while back that some of the Westerns and other old movies filmed on the Upper Iverson Movie Ranch had mysterious white dots in the backgrounds. You may or may not see them in the top left corner of this photo, but I've highlighted them below. The shot comes from the old John Wayne movie "Overland Stage Raiders" from Republic, a Three Mesquiteers B-Western that also starred Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune.
"California Firebrand" (1948): The Line of Trees — no dots ... yet
The white dots are typically seen in the vicinity of the Line of Trees. They're not visible in this shot, because the Line of Trees is blurry. But as you will see below, the dots become visible as the background becomes clearer.
Brandeis Ranch, part of which was also a filming location during the 1930s and early 1940s. I've blogged before about the Line of Trees, and if you would like to see an earlier post that reveals the answer to the dot mystery (which is also revealed below), you can read that post by clicking here.
"California Firebrand": The background becomes clearer as the scene continues
As the "California Firebrand" sequence progresses, the background begins to come into focus and the dots start to appear. This screen shot is taken just moments after the previous one.
"California Firebrand": More background dots
In this shot, still more background dots are visible against the Line of Trees. You may want to view a larger version of the picture by clicking on it.
"Calamity Jane and the Texan" (1950)
In this photo we can start to tell that the white dots are attached to fenceposts. The shot comes from the Columbia Western "Calamity Jane and the Texan," which was originally released as "The Texan Meets Calamity Jane."
"The Hills of Utah" (1951): Gene Autry on the Upper Iverson
The fenceposts really start to take shape as Gene Autry rides the range in "The Hills of Utah."
"Calamity Jane and the Texan": The money shot
Here's the money shot — the best view of the fenceposts that I've found. The photo reveals the tapered or painted area at the top of the posts that creates all those white dots in the backgrounds of old Westerns. It's another shot from the "Calamity Jane and the Texan" sequence, and three fenceposts are visible — one at the right of the frame, and one over the shoulder of each of the characters on the stagecoach.
"Riders of the Badlands" (1941)
In another stagecoach sequence, from the Charles Starrett movie "Riders of the Badlands," we get an amazing shot of 14 of those "white dots" that we now know are fencepost tops. For additional details about this shot, the white dots, the fenceposts and the Line of Trees, please see this previous post (also linked above).