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