The Iverson Gorge continues to cling to secrets from its glory days as a filming location, but we got one step closer to unlocking one of those secrets on a recent expedition to the site.
"The Luck of Roaring Camp" (1937): The steps make an appearance
Sightings of the steps in productions are rare, but I did spot them in this gravesite sequence in the old Monogram B-Western "The Luck of Roaring Camp," filmed a few years before "They Died With Their Boots On."
Lone Ranger Rock and the Iverson Gorge's "Indian Village" (circa 1944-1951)
Lone Ranger Rock and its surroundings turn up again in a behind-the-scenes photo showing some of the adobe structures that were in place in the Gorge throughout much of the 1940s.
"Black Arrow" (Columbia serial, 1944): The "Indian Village" first surfaces
The adobes were part of a larger group of buildings the Iverson family called the "Indian Village," which filled much of the Upper Gorge and dated back to the 1944 Columbia serial "Black Arrow."
Opening to "The Lone Ranger": Lone Ranger Rock's famous closeup
Lone Ranger Rock is most famous for its appearance in the opening sequence of the "Lone Ranger" TV series — a sequence that was filmed twice, in black-and-white in 1949 and again in color in 1956.
Lone Ranger Rock in modern times: The Iverson Movie Ranch's top "tourist attraction"
Lone Ranger Rock today remains a magnet for fans of the "Lone Ranger" TV series.
Lone Ranger Rock in December 2018
Lately the area below Lone Ranger Rock, like much of the undeveloped terrain of the former Iverson Ranch over the past couple of years, has become overloaded with dried brush, making access a challenge.
Below Lone Ranger Rock: The old movie steps can still be found
You have to look pretty carefully through the brush to find the steps, but they're still there.
The Lone Ranger Rock Steps, at bottom right
They're not much to see, really, after being buried under decades' worth of dirt and brush. They're just a series of flat rocks, arranged into a crude stairway leading up toward Lone Ranger Rock.
French poster for "Ben-Hur" (MGM, 1925)
The best theory I can come up with to try to explain the steps — and I suppose, the slab too — is that they were set up back in the spring of 1925 during production on the silent feature "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ."
"Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ": A crowd gathers at Lone Ranger Rock
The steps could have been installed to help position the extras and cast members who crowded into a relatively small area below Lone Ranger Rock for this scene in "Ben-Hur." The steps themselves are not visible in the scene.
here and here.
Are these the oldest movie artifacts on the Iverson Ranch?
It's pretty cool that the steps managed to survive all this time — and considering that they're probably close to 100 years old, they may well be the oldest surviving manmade artifacts on the former Iverson Movie Ranch.