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 iversonfilmranch@aol.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 iversonfilmranch@aol.com.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Recent rains have transformed the Iverson Movie Ranch into a lush paradise — at least by movie ranch standards

Moss-covered buttressing on an old movie road in the Iverson Gorge (2019)

Southern California has been getting drenched by the region's wettest winter in decades — and all that rain is bringing out the green on the former Iverson Movie Ranch.

Lone Ranger Cabin steps and foundation

The surviving stone foundation and steps to the old Lone Ranger Cabin are covered in clover these days. The foundation is located on the South Rim of the Upper Iverson, near where the Hidden Valley Cabin once stood.

"Prince of the Plains" (Republic, 1949): Harry Lauter on those same steps

Back in the day those steps were well-maintained and kept clear of invasive foliage. In this promo still for "Prince of the Plains," Harry Lauter walks the stone plank with encouragement from Lane Bradford as Shirley Davis frets.

The mighty Sphinx, "alpha rock" of the Garden of the Gods

The Sphinx looks about the same as always, but the ground below it is greener than usual. This shot was taken on a visit to the Garden of the Gods in February, with the sunlight hitting the grass just right.

The Sphinx during drier times — which is most of the time

For the sake of comparison, here's a shot of the Sphinx in its usual state. The dry brush and scant vegetation at the base of the rock are representative of how the area typically looks.

Stone buttressing along an old movie road on the Upper Iverson (2019)

The green grass that's out now accentuates old movie roads that can still be identified by surviving stone buttressing. This short stretch of an old road sits on the Upper Iverson's South Rim, just below Turtle Rock.

Buttressing along the western edge of the Garden of the Gods

Another section of old movie road buttressing, this one on the Lower Iverson, has "greened up" during the rainy season. If you know how to find the north side of the Sphinx, follow the trail west from there to get to this spot.

There's something about old buttressing that really seems to attract the moss. This is a closeup of that same stretch of buttressing seen in the photo above this one.

A cactus shares its world with the movie rock known as "Minisub" (2019)

Much of the terrain in the undeveloped sections of the former Iverson Ranch remains pretty rugged, with plenty of sage and desert denizens like this sturdy cactus thriving alongside famous movie rocks.

Some sections of the former movie ranch have just gone buck wild. I don't know what to make of this area, which is about halfway up Cactus Hill near the South Rim, but it seems to have a little bit of everything.

Here's an illustrious group of South Rim stalwarts currently adrift on a sea of green. That's Dinosaur Claw on the left and Lew Murdock Rock in the middle.

I never noticed this character before, but it reminds me of one of the robots on "Mystery Science Theater 3000."

Crow T. Robot from "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (replica)

This one ... Crow T. Robot.

Lew Murdock Rock is the real star of this cozy little corner of the Upper Iverson.

The rock still carries a badge of honor from a filming session for "Have Gun Will Travel" back in 1959 — in the form of an inscription that played a part in the TV show.

"Have Gun Will Travel" (1959): Paladin checks out Lew Murdock Rock

The episode "Sons of Aaron Murdock" premiered on May 9, 1959. One of Aaron Murdock's sons is the bad man Lew Murdock, and here Paladin finds a clue — a Lew Murdock inscription on the rock.

The inscription has Lew's name along with a crude carving of a bird. You can't really make it out here, but the episode follows up this shot with a closeup.

This is the inscription Paladin sees, in a screen shot from the show.

They actually did carve the inscription into the rock, and it's still there today. Here it is in modern times.

"Hidden Meadow," near Lew Murdock Rock

Around the corner from Lew Murdock Rock is a spot I call "Hidden Meadow." I've never seen evidence of filming in this location, and there's not much to see, but I'd be willing to bet they parked the movie trucks here.

Fern Ann Creek, flowing through the Upper Iverson

The creeks on the former Iverson Movie Ranch tend to be dry most of the year, but these days they're flowing — even if it's not much more than a trickle.

Beautiful vistas and dramatic skies can be found in abundance. This shot is taken looking southwest from the far northern edge of the former movie ranch property.

The poppies are out in force, along with their orange and yellow cousins. Iverson explorer Cliff Roberts snapped this shot just last week looking southeast toward Stoney Point from up above Nyoka Cliff.

Part of a fresh crop of mushrooms on the South Rim

The shrooms are popping up too. I'll leave it to someone else to assess any potential psychoactive fringe benefits to this bad boy, as I misplaced my "Field Guide to the 1970s" several decades ago.

These guys look as though they'd have an interesting name. How about ... um ... the "Hoo-Ahh Plant"? No? "Screaming Yellow Honkers"? Obviously, I'm not a botanist.

Not all of the life forms that are springing up are particularly attractive. Whatever this thing is, I wouldn't call it "beautiful" by any stretch ... but it's interesting. Plus it's kinda neat how it decided to grow out of a hole in a rock.

A bird of paradise blooms on a cul de sac on the former Upper Iverson.

The bird of paradise sits at the base of a distinctive movie rock.

"The Gene Autry Show" (1953)

Gene Autry rides near that same movie rock in an episode of his TV series called "Rio Renegades," which premiered Sept. 29, 1953. The rock can be seen in the top left corner.

"Little Big Horn" (1951): The Iverson Ranch, shot by cinematographer Ernest Miller

The Iverson Ranch has always had its beauty, which the best cinematographers of the B-Western era could put to dramatic effect in black and white.

Iverson Movie Ranch in 2019

And it's still a beautiful place — even in color.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Secrets of the Gorge Cabin revealed: Did it really move from the Lower Iverson to the Upper Iverson? A "smoking gun" tells the tale

"Phantom Ranger," 1938: The Iverson Movie Ranch's "Gorge Cabin"

I've been searching for years for proof that the Gorge Cabin on the Lower Iverson Movie Ranch and the Hidden Valley Cabin on the Upper Iverson were the same building — and I finally found it.

"The Last Outlaw," 1936: A precursor to the Gorge Cabin

Here's the backstory: The Gorge Cabin was in place from about 1938-1944, although an earlier cabin, built for RKO's "The Last Outlaw," stood in almost the same location in early 1936.

"The Last Outlaw": Temporary cabin was a "one-movie wonder"

The cabin seen in "The Last Outlaw" was just a temporary movie set, but it demonstrated that this was a suitable spot to build a cabin. The "permanent" Gorge Cabin would later be built in almost the same spot.

It's likely that the cabin built for "The Last Outlaw" was something less than a full four-sided structure, but of course we never see the back of it so we couldn't say for sure.

"Trailin' West" (1936): The same area, just after the early cabin was removed

After filming wrapped on "The Last Outlaw," the cabin was taken down. We can be sure of this because a few days later, in late April 1936, the Warner Bros. movie "Trailin' West" began filming in the same location, and shots seen in the movie show the cabin was no longer in place.

The Gorge Arch is visible in both "Trailin' West" and "The Last Outlaw," and can be used to match up the location as it appears in both movies.

"The Last Outlaw" shows that the 1936 cabin was immediately adjacent to the Gorge Arch.

If the cabin had remained in place, it would have been seen here, near the Arch.

"The Lone Ranger" (1938 Republic serial, filmed in late 1937): The Gorge Cabin first appears

It wasn't until about a year and a half later that a new cabin would turn up in the same vicinity. After first surfacing in Republic's 1938 serial "The Lone Ranger," this new cabin would remain in place for the next six years — long enough in movie location years to be considered a "permanent" set.

Gorge Cabin in "The Lone Ranger" (1938): Lee Powell as the Masked Man

Logic would suggest that the Gorge Cabin was built by Republic for "The Lone Ranger," filmed around the end of 1937. Unfortunately, production records that might clarify the structure's origins have yet to be found.

"Phantom Ranger" (Concord/Monogram, 1938): Early appearance by the Gorge Cabin

Almost as soon as it was built, the newly minted Gorge Cabin started landing plenty of movie roles. In March 1938, it was filmed for two low-budget Westerns produced by Maurice Conn's Concord Productions.

"Phantom Ranger": Good guys and bad guys switch sides for a photo op

Conn made "Phantom Ranger," starring Tim McCoy, and "Gunsmoke Trail," starring Jack Randall, within a few weeks of each other, and Monogram would release the two B-Westerns two weeks apart in May 1938.

That's perennial henchman Charles "Blackie" King on the right, playing "Henchman Dan" this time and hiding behind his boss, lead bad guy "Sharpe," played by Karl Hackett. Good guy Tim McCoy has shifted to the left.

"Gunsmoke Trail": The Gorge Cabin in March 1938

The building was not yet known as the Gorge Cabin, a name given to it decades later by film historians. The Iverson family, who leaned toward generic descriptions of their sets, initially called it "rock cabin."

"The Terror of Tiny Town": Gorge Cabin in background, filmed in May 1938

A few months later, the cabin would be prominently featured in "The Terror of Tiny Town," one of the oddest Westerns ever filmed on the Iverson Ranch and a movie that would go on to achieve cult status.

The premise of "Tiny Town" might not be considered politically correct today, but at its core it's just a straight-up B-Western featuring a cast made up almost entirely of "little people."

Notice the rock in the background. It's a rock I've discussed before on the blog, which I call "E.T."

"Harum Scarum" (1965): Elvis Presley runs past E.T.

Here's a shot of Elvis Presley in action near the same rock, E.T., in a promo still for the movie "Harum Scarum." Not that it matters, but the two shots may help put the sizes of the various actors in perspective.

"The Terror of Tiny Town": The outlaws on their ponies (Jerry England collection)

"Tiny Town" would never be greenlighted today, due to its unspoken but widely understood premise — that folks of average height would get a kick out of seeing little people ride ponies and act like cowboys.

Romantic leads Yvonne Moray and Billy Curtis in "The Terror of Tiny Town"

The movie's romantic entanglements, its clashes between good guys and bad guys and other standard Western motifs were handled in a straightforward manner on the screen.

But the movie's real agenda came out in marketing for "The Terror of Tiny Town," where the cast's stature was brazenly exploited. This lobby card includes the pitch: "Half-pints in 10-gallon hats! First time on the screen!"

This one says "These Tom Thumbs are colossal," and includes a sight gag featuring six cowboys on one horse.

Fern Formica as Diamond Dolly with Karl Slover as Sammy the Barber

Almost all of the cast members of "The Terror of Tiny Town," including Fern Formica and Karl Slover, moved on to higher-profile roles as Munchkins later the same year when "The Wizard of Oz" went into production.

Gorge Cabin in "The Terror of Tiny Town"

The Gorge Cabin, too, would go on to bigger and better things, appearing in movies regularly from 1938-1944 and undergoing a series of extensions and modifications along the way.

"Man of Conquest" (Republic, 1939): A bird's-eye view of the Gorge Cabin

One of the last productions where the Gorge Cabin appeared in its original configuration was Republic's historical Western "Man of Conquest," in which Richard Dix stars as Sam Houston.

"Man of Conquest" was higher-profile, and bigger-budget, than most of what Republic had been putting out in the late '30s. It was said to be the studio's most expensive and most heavily promoted film up to that point, and it went on to earn Oscar nominations for art direction, sound and original score.

The bird's-eye view of the cabin in "Man of Conquest" reveals a number of the surrounding rock formations. All of the rock features noted here — but not the cabin — have survived among the condos off Redmesa Road.

"Billy the Kid in Texas" (PRC, 1940): The Gorge Cabin grows an appendage

The 1940s ushered in a new era for the Gorge Cabin, when it suddenly grew an appendage — the large wooden extension seen on the left in this shot from the Bob Steele movie "Billy the Kid in Texas."

The new log cabin-style extension didn't exactly match the rest of the cabin, with its faux stone exterior. But the two mismatched pieces would co-exist for the next four years and appear in a lot of movies together.

"Ride 'em Cowboy" (Universal, 1942)

Here's a good look at that log cabin extension, from the Abbott and Costello movie "Ride 'em Cowboy."

To facilitate with the remodeling, the chimney was moved from the left side of the building to around the back. The ease with which a chimney could be moved is a reminder that on the Iverson Movie Ranch, the "buildings" were not what they seemed — these were movie sets, and were not built to code.

"Phantom Ranger" (1938): Zooming in on the chimney before it was moved

"Before and after" shots of the chimney — before and after it was moved from the side of the building to the back — prove it's the same chimney. This "before" shot is a zoomed-in screen shot from "Phantom Ranger" in 1938.

Notice the four raised stone exterior elements highlighted here.

"Riders of the Badlands" (1941): The chimney after it was moved

Now look at a zoomed-in shot of the chimney after it was moved to the back, part of a screen shot from "Riders of the Badlands" in 1941.

Those same four raised exterior elements can be identified.

Also in 1940, the roof was extended along the front of the building, above the front walkway or porch area.

"Adventures of Red Ryder" (Republic serial, 1940): Early appearance by the Gorge Cabin Mine

A number of secondary set elements were also introduced, including a fake mine.

The mine would become one of the trademark features of the set, and around this time the Iversons began calling the set the "Mine Building."

"Outlaws of Boulder Pass" (PRC, 1942)

A small outbuilding was also put up, not far from the mine. Despite its modest construction, this small shed remained a part of the set for several years, often as part of a stable and corral.

"Pony Post" (Universal, 1940): The stable and corral are in place

The small shed could be expanded to include an open stable area on its right. Meanwhile, fencing for various corral configurations was added or removed as needed over the years.

"The Rangers Take Over" (PRC, 1942): The cabin continues to expand

Even the cabin's extension got its own extension. It was mainly just a wooden roof, but it became another "permanent" feature of the set and hung around until the set was eventually moved.

"Along the Sundown Trail" (PRC, 1942)

The Gorge Arch, meanwhile, faithfully maintained its position adjacent to the continuously expanding cabin.

"King of the Texas Rangers" (Republic serial, 1941)

As construction continued on and around the Gorge Cabin, the Gorge Arch stood as the rock centerpiece of a growing and increasingly complex movie set compound.

"King of the Texas Rangers": The arch gets a closeup

The convenient arrangement of the three large boulders forming the Gorge Arch has invited speculation that the rocks may have been intentionally placed in this position to create a handy movie prop.

"The Silent Man" (1917): An early appearance by the Gorge Arch

However, the Gorge Arch's appearance as far back as 1917, well before the moving around of rocks became commonplace on the location ranch, strongly suggests that the arch was a natural formation.

"Along the Sundown Trail" (PRC, 1942): The cabin's dark side comes out

The Gorge Cabin could take on a more wooden appearance if that's what was needed. All it took to get this shot was hammering up a few boards in the porch area and at the far end of the building .

"Gun Code" (PRC, 1940)

The same area that's presented as a wooden cabin in "Along the Sundown Trail" is seen in the Tim McCoy movie "Gun Code" with the Gorge Cabin's more traditional faux-stone exterior.

The yellow outline highlights roughly the same area seen in "Along the Sundown Trail," and here it's all stone. This section of the cabin was another expansion, and appears to have been added around 1940.

The same rocks can be identified in the backgrounds of both shots, and a careful examination of how the rocks line up with the cabin suggests that the cabin's position may have changed between the two movie shoots.

I can't say for sure, but it appears the cabin may have been rotated, which wouldn't be all that surprising. Once again, the sets were not built to code, and they did get repositioned from time to time.

"The Son of Davy Crockett" (Columbia, 1941)

Here's another movie where the far end of the cabin had the wooden exterior, and here we can see that at the same time, the main part of the cabin remained stone.

"Deadwood Dick" (1940): Edmund Cobb and a masked Donald Douglas at the Gorge Cabin

We get a pretty good look at what the Gorge Cabin's stone exterior looked like up close in this promo still for the Columbia serial "Deadwood Dick." 

"Billy the Kid Wanted" (PRC, 1941): The Gorge Cabin nestled among the rocks

The cabin was often filmed from the rocks up above, where its location in the deep recesses of the Upper Gorge provided a showcase for one of the most rugged and rocky sections of the Iverson Ranch.

"Riders of the Badlands" (Columbia, 1941)

But the cabin's days in the Gorge were numbered. By mid-1944 the decision was made to move the cabin to the Upper Iverson, and it would never again be seen as the "Gorge" Cabin.

"Black Arrow" (Columbia serial, 1944): The Iverson Ranch's new Indian Village

The reasons for the cabin's move are unknown, but an argument can be made that it was done mainly to get the building out of the way so that a new movie set, an adobe village, could be built in the area.

New adobes built in 1944 for "Black Arrow"

Built in August 1944 for the Columbia serial "Black Arrow," the "Indian Village," as the Iversons called it, soon filled much of the Upper Gorge, adjacent to where the Gorge Cabin previously stood.

"Coroner Creek" (Columbia, 1948): The Indian Village

The Indian Village proved to be a productive set, standing from 1944-1954 and appearing frequently in the movies. To learn more about it, please click here to see my 2017 blog post on the Indian Village.

"Pioneer Justice" (1947): The former Gorge Cabin in its new location on the Upper Iverson

Whatever the reasons for the move, the former Gorge Cabin soon resurfaced on the Upper Iverson, where it settled in for a long and prolific film career in a corner of the South Rim known as Hidden Valley.

The cabin's two locations were probably at least a half-mile apart as the crow flies, with the Hidden Valley location almost due north of the Gorge location.

Lash LaRue at the Hidden Valley Cabin in "Son of Billy the Kid" (Screen Gems, 1949)

The Hidden Valley Cabin, as it came to be known, would thrive in its new location, standing for another quarter-century and appearing in countless movies and TV shows.

The Masked Man and Tonto on the porch in the "Lone Ranger" episode "Return of the Convict" (1949)

I began hearing about 10 years ago that the Hidden Valley Cabin was in fact the same building that was previously the Gorge Cabin — that it had simply been moved from the Lower Iverson to the Upper Iverson.

Hidden Valley Cabin in "Border Rangers," starring Don "Red" Barry (Lippert, 1950)

I first heard the idea from film historian Tinsley Yarbrough, whose incredible movie location research I was soaking up like a sponge at a time when my own obsession with old filming locations was just getting started.

"Bitter Creek," 1954 (Jerry England Collection)

When I first heard the two cabins might be the same, I was skeptical. I tend to have an "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude about buildings being uprooted and relocated — until it turns out to be true, as it often does.

Hidden Valley Cabin as the "Mescal Relay Station" in "Thunder Over Arizona" (1956)

But it was clear from the start that the buildings looked similar. I always hoped to eventually prove the theory one way or the other, but it was a search for proof that wound up spanning a period of years.

James Drury as "The Virginian" in the episode "Vengeance Is the Spur" (1963)

The plan was always to match the patterns in the "stone" exteriors of the two buildings, but it's not as easy as it sounds. While we often get good looks at the Hidden Valley Cabin exterior, as in this example from the TV show "The Virginian," detailed views of the Gorge Cabin are harder to come by.

The "smoking gun": Gorge Cabin and a wooden monstrosity in 1940

What broke the case — the "smoking gun" I mentioned — was this production photo showing the Gorge Cabin. The photo surfaced just recently from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

The movie associated with the photo is technically unidentified, but thanks to the "elephant in the room" — the massive wooden mine contraption in the foreground — we pretty much know what it is.

"Adventures of Red Ryder" (1940): The mine-slash-elephant surfaces in Chapter 3

The photo appears to have been taken in connection with the Republic serial "Adventures of Red Ryder," where the wooden mine structure can be found. Filming on the serial took place at Iverson in April 1940.

The most important part of this great photo is almost overshadowed by the wooden mine. The section of the Gorge Cabin noted here can be used to prove that the building became the Hidden Valley Cabin.

Gorge Cabin, Lower Iverson, 1940

If we zoom in on that part of the photo, we can see the pattern of the rocks forming the exterior of one section of the Gorge Cabin. It's a little blurry with this much zoom, but it will work.

Hidden Valley Cabin, Upper Iverson, 1963

The "smoking gun" photo can be compared with the shot of James Drury hanging out at a "different" cabin, the Hidden Valley Cabin, almost a quarter-century later and more than a half-mile to the north.

Zooming in on the shot from "The Virginian," notice in particular the rocks outlined in blue.

They're a good match for the rocks highlighted here in the red outline. Once again, this is a section of the photo of the Gorge Cabin, while the color shot from "The Virginian" shows the Hidden Valley Cabin.

I've identified some of the matching rocks here, but you may want to look for others. Rocks A through K, noted here in the "Virginian" screen shot, can also be found in the 1940 photo.

The same rocks, A through K, are identified here as they appeared on the exterior of the Gorge Cabin in 1940. In some cases the shading varies between the two shots, probably due mainly to lighting differences.

"Adventures of Red Ryder": Up close and personal with the Gorge Cabin porch

Once the ice was broken by the photo of the wooden mine, I started finding other matching shots of the Gorge Cabin. If you can ignore the "dead guy," check out the rock wall at the side of the front porch.

He's just dazed!

Don't worry — the guy on the floor is going to be OK, as you can see here (kind of). But I'll go ahead and use the shot of him flat on his face because in that one we can see more rocks! We have our priorities here.

The same porch wall, 23 years later — now part of the Hidden Valley Cabin

The 1940 screen shot of the dazed man on the porch of the Gorge Cabin mainly matches up with this area in the "Virginian" shot.

You can match most of the rocks yourself, if you're so inclined (no one will know), but here are a few key ones to get you started. First the 1940 screen shot of the Gorge Cabin, from "Adventures of Red Ryder."

And here are the same rocks on the wall of the Hidden Valley Cabin in "The Virginian" in 1963.

"Prairie Outlaws" (1948): Stone Cabin Rock, behind the Hidden Valley Cabin

When the cabin relocated to the Upper Iverson in 1944, it had another set of interesting rocks surrounding it — which won't come as a surprise, given that there were rocks pretty much everywhere on the ranch.

One rock that proved useful in pinpointing the former location of the cabin is this one, which I call "Stone Cabin Rock." "Stone Cabin" is another name for the "Hidden Valley Cabin," so it almost makes sense.

"Gun Fever" (1958): Stone Cabin Rock becomes a part of the action

Stone Cabin Rock sometimes got in on the action in scenes involving the "Stone Cabin," or Hidden Valley Cabin, as in this example from "Gun Fever."

"Gun Fever": A sentry posted high above the cabin

The United Artists Western starred Mark Stevens and John Lupton, with "F Troop" favorite Larry Storch as Amigo.

"Fury" TV series (1959): The boys test the roof of the Hidden Valley Cabin

Stone Cabin Rock looms above the cabin roof again in the TV show "Fury," in a scene from the episode "Turkey Day." The scene finds Joey and Packy doing one of their favorite things (and mine): exploring the Iverson Ranch.

Stone Cabin Rock in modern times: no more cabin to hover over

Stone Cabin Rock remains in place today, looming over the now vacant spot where the cabin once stood. Unfortunately, the area is part of a gated community now and access is restricted.

The Hidden Valley Cabin site on a recent visit

This is what the former Hidden Valley Cabin location looked like on a recent visit, with the area greener than usual due to recent heavy rains. Stone Cabin Rock, at the left, is always easy to identify.

Gorge Cabin and "appendage" (1940)

In case you're wondering what happened to that log cabin-style extension that was a part of the Gorge Cabin from 1940-1944, it didn't make the move to the Upper Iverson with the rest of the cabin.

"Toughest Gun in Tombstone" (United Artists, 1958): Hidden Valley Cabin, colorized

Shots of the Hidden Valley Cabin in movies and TV shows are plentiful, as it was a working filming location for a good quarter-century.

"Death Valley Days" (1965): The Hidden Valley Cabin in actual color

In contrast with the brief run from 1938-1944 when the cabin stood in the Gorge, its long stint in Hidden Valley gave it a chance to be seen in color, as we saw above with "The Virginian" and again here in "Death Valley Days."

The "Death Valley Days" sequence had Cavalry officers and Indians working together — that's because this guy's a "good Indian" and there was a "bad Indian" holed up inside the cabin.

The sequence comes from the episode "The Journey," which first aired March 29, 1965, during season 13 of "Death Valley Days." Man, that show was on a long time — it still had five more seasons to go!

Is it just me, or does that one guy look like the guy from "M*A*S*H"?

Yeah, that's him! Wayne Rogers, who played Trapper John.

The episode had plenty of star power, which was a trademark of "Death Valley Days" and one of the things that kept it on the air for almost two decades. Robert J. Wilke was no slouch, either.

Speaking of "star power," the "bad Indian" inside the cabin is "Star Trek's" beloved Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy. He was always playing bad Indians back then. The "Star Trek" premiere in 1966 would change all that.

Just to be clear, the scene inside the cabin isn't shot inside the actual Hidden Valley Cabin, but is done in the studio. However, Nimoy was on site at Iverson to shoot the episode's outdoor action.

He had to be — he was the one stirring up all the trouble. Here he's considering getting the drop on a trooper who looks as though he hasn't been getting enough sleep.

Leonard Nimoy on the Lower Iverson in "The Journey"

It's a really good episode for Iverson content. This shot comes from a sequence shot at the Saddlehorn Relay Station. (That's "Saddlehorn Relay Station Rock" — my name for it — in the background.)

"Ghost Town Renegades" (1947): Lash, Jennifer and Fuzzy at the Hidden Valley Cabin

Lash LaRue appears to be playing rough with Jennifer Holt for some reason — and it's caught Al "Fuzzy" St. John's attention — in a scene from "Ghost Town Renegades" shot in front of the Hidden Valley Cabin.

What a dump! Hidden Valley Cabin gets dressed down for "Gun Fever" (1958)

The Hidden Valley Cabin was carefully "dressed" to look like a rundown dump in "Gun Fever." The crooked shutter is always a dead giveaway that we're seeing a place that's in need of some looking-after.

Map of the Clampitt Fire, part of the devastating wildfires of September-October 1970

The end appears to have come suddenly for the cabin, in fall 1970, when the Newhall-Malibu Fires, and in particular the Clampitt Fire, swept through the area, destroying most of the remaining sets on the Iverson Ranch.

"Cade's County" (1971): The Upper Iverson after the fires

By that time the Iverson Movie Ranch, along with the rest of Hollywood, was getting out of the business of making Westerns anyway. The TV series "Cade's County" was one of the last shows of its kind to shoot on the ranch, and when it visited the Upper Iverson in 1971, damage from the fires could still be seen.