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.
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• 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 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.
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Sunday, May 7, 2017

It's Springtime on the Iverson Ranch ... and the Cactus Is in Bloom

This blog post has a soundtrack, starting with the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry. Just play the above video while you scroll down. (The photos below are better if you click on them to see a bigger version.)

If you're into cactus — and with Gene Autry singing about it, how can you not be? — a terrific place to see them in all their glory is Cactus Hill on the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif.

The word is that Joe Iverson, who oversaw filming on the ranch for more than 60 years, planted most of the cactus on Cactus Hill himself. Joe had a green thumb and was known to do large-scale plantings of a variety of flora.

Most of the cactus plants on the hill are of the prickly pear variety. I don't know the scientific name, but they're fascinating plants that have some unusual habits.

For example, here's one that decided to grow in the shape of a heart.

The heart-shaped cactus lives right in the middle of a bunch of "normal" ones.

Here's something that's probably normal for cactus plants, but I still thought it was a little unusual.

It's a new hunk of cactus growing right out of the surface of an older hunk.

Since that Gene Autry track is barely a minute long, here's another version of the cactus song to keep the soundtrack going. This one's by Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass.

I've been up there a few times lately to track the progress of the cactus blossoms. It appears to me that a lot of them are still waiting for the right moment to open up.

In areas that get more sun, the blossoming is further along.

Most of the cactus blossoms are yellow, although I've seen a few red ones here and there.

The trail at the top of Cactus Hill is punctuated by one impressive cactus field after another.

A single cactus leaf can hold a huge collection of buds. This batch of about 25 individual buds appears to still be a week or two away from full bloom.

Cactus, movie rocks and a view of the San Fernando Valley to the south

A few movie rocks are sprinkled among the cactus, although Cactus Hill wasn't nearly as heavily filmed as other areas of the ranch. The hill was a hard place for film crews to access — and remains a little out of the way today.

Along with the cactus, a number of other colorful plants can be found on Cactus Hill. I'm no plant expert, so I won't try to identify anything. But this was an especially pretty batch of flowers.

For the most part the colors are subdued, but we do get a nice blend of gold and lavender in spots.

Looking southwest from Cactus Hill

The foliage on Cactus Hill, and all over the Iverson Ranch, is much thicker than usual in the wake of Southern California's wettest winter in years.

As I was heading back down the hill in the late evening a few weeks ago, I caught an unusual shot of the Santa Susana Mountains to the west. The profiles seen here turn up regularly in old Westerns and other productions.


Cliff said...

Nice shots, keep us updated on there progress.

Brenda Negri said...

Beautiful photos - thanks to a wet winter! Thank you!!!

Unknown said...

I'm in Blighty, and we heard about the drought in California over the last couple of years. Is it definitely over now?

Anonymous said...

The flowers look like Gaillardia. Great blog!

Swami Nano said...

Definitely Gaillardia ... thanks!

Hard to say whether the drought's over. Winter 2016/2017 was ridiculously wet in Southern California, but winter 2017/2018 has been mighty dry ... until today. It's pouring right now.