L-R: Wild Bill Elliott, Bob Livingston, Don Barry, Roy Rogers,
Allan "Rocky" Lane, Sunset Carson
Donald "Red" Barry may have been one of the shortest cowboy heroes of the B-Western era, but I also think he may have been the best actor in the bunch.
"Ghost Valley Raiders" (Republic, 1940): Lobby card shot at Iverson's Grove Cabin
Barry shot most of his Republic pictures on the Iverson Ranch, and they're some of the best showcases for the ranch if you can find them. I recently scanned "Ghost Valley Raiders" and it's a rocktacular — I want to thank Western movie location historian Tinsley Yarbrough for pointing me to the movie.
Donald Barry and "Banner" at the Grove Cabin on the Lower Iverson
Barry rode a cool movie horse in the 1940s — Banner. The word is that Banner, a big bay, later did movie work with John Wayne, Rocky Lane and Andy Devine. Ouch!
Donald Barry and Banner in "Ghost Valley Raiders"
Banner was presented as one of those super-smart movie horses, and in "Ghost Valley Raiders" he was given a number of "wonder horse"-type stunts to do to help Barry fight bad guys.
Banner hides in the bushes — positioned conveniently next to a distinctive rock
In one of those stunts, all Banner had to do was go hide in the bushes. As it turns out, he hid right next to a rock with a distinctive curved, or L-shaped, crack running through it.
"The Roy Rogers Show" (1957): Roy and Trigger at the L-shaped crack
Banner wasn't the only famous movie horse to be filmed at the L-shaped crack. In this shot from an episode of "The Roy Rogers Show," Roy works with Trigger near the same cracked rock.
The "Hangman's Tree" on the Lower Iverson ("Ghost Valley Raiders")
The cracked rock sequence in "Ghost Valley Raiders" also features the so-called "Hangman's Tree," which was located nearby but did not survive condo development. Click here to read a detailed post about the tree.
Another view of the Hangman's Tree in "Ghost Valley Raiders"
Oddly enough, no one seems to recall an instance where the "Hangman's Tree" was used for a hanging. If you know of one, I'd like to hear about it. Please comment or send a note.