Randolph Scott’s Ride Lonesome
Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California
May 12 – 17, 2019
Price per Person: $2,295.00
A Historic California Horseback Ride and Tour
“Where the Real West Becomes the Reel West”
LONE PINE, CALIFORNIA
Take a ride with Hoppy, Gene, Roy and me during our 5-day tour / 4-day historic Western movie ride.
This ride and tour is dedicated to those that love Western films… both movies and television. We will truly ride where our legendary Western movie and TV heroes and heroines once rode in the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine, California. Yep, we’ll ride where Gene, Roy and Hoppy rode and of course, Randolph Scott (cowboy hat over heart), Joel McCrea, the Lone Ranger, plus so many more.
Coupled with our Sunday/ Monday morning pre-trip, we will immerse ourselves in Western movie making history.
NOTE: all images of actors, movie posters and locales relate directly to films made in Lone Pine.
Sunday & Monday Optional Pre-Trips
Fly into the Burbank Airport on Saturday (or drive directly to motel suggested below). We’ll amass everyone on the pre-trip for a special Saturday night dinner. On Sunday & Monday morning, our ambitious pre-trip plans call for us visiting:
• William S Hart Museum Tour
• Autry Museum of the American West
• Melody Ranch & Museum Tour
After breakfast Sunday morning we’ll depart for the William S Hart Museum. From there we’ll drive to the Autry Museum. Monday morning after breakfast we’ll take the tour of Melody Ranch; afterwards we head to Lone Pine.
William S Hart Museum | 24151 Newhall Ave, Newhall, CA 91321 | Phone: (661) 254-4584 | http://hartmuseum.org/
William S Hart starred in approximately 70 feature length silent films between 1914 and 1925. His films were known for their gritty realism, which featured dilapidated and dusty sets, sweeping landscapes, minimal action, and plain, drab, utilitarian costumes. Hart is credited for creating the role of the “good bad guy” – a character that starts out living an immoral life but has a heart of gold, and is eventually set on the path of good, clean, honest living by the end of the movie.
Hart’s formula worked and by 1917, his films were the highest grossing in the industry, and his “Two Gun Bill” look was known around the world. Alongside Hart was his beloved pinto pony, Fritz, whom the star met on set in 1915, and who would star with the cowboy in approximately half of his movies. Fritz became the first bona fide horse movie star and his popularity with the public paved the way for later horse stars like Gene Autry’s Champion and Roy Rogers’ Trigger.
Hart’s last film was the sweeping epic Tumbleweeds and after its release in 1925, the star retired to his Horseshoe Ranch in Newhall, California. When his 10,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial Revival style mansion was completed in 1927, Hart moved in with his youngest sister, Mary Ellen and lived the rest of his days as an active member of the Newhall community.
William S. Hart passed away peacefully in 1946 at the age of 81, and in his last will and testament, he bequeathed his Newhall home to the County of Los Angeles to be converted into a park and museum for the public.
Autry Museum of the American West | 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027 | Phone: (323) 667-2000 | http://theautry.org/
Established in 1988, the Autry Museum in Griffith Park – originally the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage – was co-founded by Jackie and Gene Autry and Joanne and Monte Hale. Gene Autry realized his dream “to build a museum which would exhibit and interpret the heritage of the West and show how it influenced America and the world.” Mr. Autry was a legendary recording and movie star whose illustrious career spanned some 60 years in the entertainment industry. He was an astute businessman, Chairman of the Board of a broadcasting empire, and owner of a Major League Baseball team.
The museum’s focus is multi-layered, with artifacts from Western movies, Native American Culture and the American West. Especially interesting for us is their Firearm Gallery, a most comprehensive look at firearms of the Old West.
Melody Ranch |Placerita Canyon Rd, Newhall, CA 91322 | Phone: (661) 259-9669 | http://www.melodyranchstudio.com/thetown.html
Since 1915, when the studio was first opened for business, an endless string of hard riding shoot-em-ups have been produced at this location. Monogram studios made 750 “B” westerns before selling the ranch to singing cowboy Gene Autry in 1952. Legendary cowboy actors, including William S. Hart, Gary Cooper, Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Bill Boyd, and John Wayne filmed their westerns here until 1962 when a fire swept through Placerita Canyon destroying the main western street. Gene Autry maintained the rest of the ranch for his horse Champion until the horse passed in 1990. He then put the ranch up for sale and the Veluzat brothers purchased it. Melody Ranch was brought back to life with the restoration of the famous western street. Melody Ranch Studio features a massive western town with interiors in the saloon, bank, jail, general store, hotel, church, school, livery stable, and theatre. There is a farm house, ranch house, Victorian home, and beautiful Spanish / adobe hacienda all with interiors.
Melody Ranch Studio is a 22 acre backlot, with a complete prop house with on-site western set dressing, and interior and exterior props. Experience a page torn from history on the street where famous westerns were made such as, The Lone Ranger, Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, Hopalong Cassidy, Annie Oakley, Rin Tin Tin, The Cisco Kid, and most recently Deadwood, Tall Tails, Last Man Standing, The Magnificent Seven and Westworld. The old west hasn’t… at least not at Melody Ranch Studio.
NOTE: Melody Ranch is difficult to schedule a tour because it is a working film site. Should this tour not be available at our scheduled time, Melody Ranch has another filming site “The Big Ranch” that we will tour.
From Burbank to Lone Pine
After our Melody Ranch Tour and lunch, we head north to Lone Pine, approximately a 3 ½ hour drive. We’ll check-in to our motel and visit the Lone Pine Film Museum, where we’ll also dine this evening.
Lone Pine and Owens Valley History
Lone Pine is situated in the Owens Valley with the picturesque Alabama Hills lying to the west. Their unique appearance has attracted many film companies over the years. The hills were named in 1862 by Southern sympathizers, commemorating the victories of the Confederate ship CSS Alabama.
The Paiute people inhabited the Owens Valley area from prehistoric times. These early inhabitants established trading routes extending to the Pacific Central Coast.
In 1864, a geological survey team from California discovered Mt. Whitney and named the peak after the team’s leader, Josiah Whitney. Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in California, as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada — with an elevation of 14,505 feet.
John Muir made his first ascent on October 21, 1873, becoming the first person to climb the mountain from the east via the Mountaineers Route. Seeing the demand for an eastern trail to the summit, the residents of Lone Pine raised funds to finance a pack-train route up the east side, which was completed on July 22, 1904. The trail was engineered by Lone Pine resident Gustave F. Marsh—much of the trail is still in use today. The lower portion of the trail from Lone Pine to Whitney Portal was named a National Historic Trail by the Smithsonian Institution.
During the 1870s, Lone Pine was an important supply town for several nearby mining communities. The Cerro Gordo mine high in the Inyo Mountains was one of the most productive silver mines in California. Railroads played a major role in the development of Lone Pine and the Owens Valley. In 1883, the Carson and Colorado Railway line was constructed from Belleville, Nevada, across the White Mountains to Benton, and then down into the Owens Valley where it ended in Keeler. The arrival of the C&C rail line, with its engine “The Slim Princess”, and the stagecoach in Keeler had a major economic impact on the area.
Movie-Making in Lone Pine & the Alabama Hills
A living museum — that’s what visitors call Alabama Hills, a wonderland of rounded hills and twisted formations lying between Lone Pine and the mountains. It was here that all the great British-Army-in-India movies were made. This is where the “Lone Ranger” ambush was first filmed, this is where Roy Rogers first found Trigger and Tom Mix found Tony, Hollywood-style. Errol Flynn lead a patrol right over there, and the cops chased Bogart on that road there! Dreams came to life here and a million memories remain.
It was 1920 when the history of Lone Pine was dramatically altered. A movie production company came to the Alabama Hills to make the silent Western film The Roundup. The natural scenery remains unspoiled and unchanged since that first film in 1920.
As you slowly drive those dirt roads out there — roads made by movie companies’ years ago to move equipment about — you’re riding were John Wayne rode; and Hoot Gibson and Buck Jones and Ken Maynard rode; and Gene and Roy and Hoppy rode. Just off Movie Road is the Movie Flats area where so many of our cowboy heroes filmed those exciting chase scenes in reel after reel of Saturday matinees. But it wasn’t just Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy who helped immortalize Lone Pine. Other familiar names worked here too: Clint Eastwood, Jack Palance, Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Gregory Peck, Spencer Tracy, Alan Ladd, Jeff Bridges, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon and Natalie Wood, just to name a few.
In the coming decades, over 400 films, 100 television episodes, and countless commercials have used Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills as a film location. Notable films shot here in the 1920s and 1930s include Riders of the Purple Sage (1925) with Tom Mix, The Enchanted Hill (1926) with Jack Holt, Somewhere in Sonora (1927) with Ken Maynard, Blue Steel (1934) with John Wayne, Hop-Along Cassidy (1935) with William Boyd, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) with Errol Flynn, Oh, Susanna! (1936) with Gene Autry, Rhythm on the Range (1936) with Bing Crosby, The Cowboy and the Lady (1938) with Gary Cooper, Under Western Stars (1938) with Roy Rogers, and Gunga Din (1939) with Cary Grant.
Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills continued to be used as the setting for Western films, including West of the Pecos (1945) with Robert Mitchum, Thunder Mountain (1947) with Tim Holt, The Gunfighter (1950) with Gregory Peck, The Nevadan (1950) with Randolph Scott, Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) with Spencer Tracy, Hell Bent for Leather (1960) with Audie Murphy, How the West Was Won (1962) with James Stewart, Nevada Smith (1966) with Steve McQueen, Joe Kidd (1972) with Clint Eastwood, Maverick (1994) with Mel Gibson, and The Lone Ranger (2013) with Johnny Depp. Through the years, non-Western films also used the unique landscape of the area, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur (1942) with Robert Cummings, Samson and Delilah (1949) with Hedy Lamarr, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) with William Shatner, Tremors (1990) with Kevin Bacon, The Postman (1997) with Kevin Costner, and Gladiator (2000) with Russell Crowe.
The most recent big movies filmed in Lone Pine was Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) and Walt Disney’s The Lone Ranger (2013), shot east of Lone Pine.
John Wayne did 13 films in the local area. He made his last film appearance here as well.
The Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History |701 S Main Street, Lone Pine, CA 93545 | Phone: (760) 876-9909 | https://www.museumofwesternfilmhistory.org/
The museum highlights the area’s frequent appearances in Hollywood feature films. Since the early years of filmmaking, directors and their production units have used the Lone Pine area to represent the iconic American West. Approaching the 100th anniversary of The Roundup (1920), the first documented film produced in the area, Lone Pine has played host to hundreds of the industry’s best known directors and actors, among them directors William Wyler, John Ford, George Stephens, and William Wellman. Lone Pine is also the location of several scenes in Iron Man (2008) depicting Afghanistan and the remake of Godzilla (2014) as a temporary military forward operating base or FOB.
For 4-days we’ll ride the Alabama Hills and nearby scenic mountains. Of course we’ll see all the movie locations the Alabama Hills has to offer. We’ll ride the same trails ridden by Roy Rogers & Trigger, Tom Mix & Tony, Buck Jones & Silver, and Gene Autry & Champion; the canyon where the Lone Ranger ambush was first filmed; where John Wayne escaped an ambush in Westward Ho! We’ll see where Errol Flynn and Gary Cooper led British troops on patrol; where Tyrone Power and Jack Elam shot it out at the stage station at Rawhide Pass; and, where John Wayne made his last film appearance. And much, much more….
We’ll also ride to the ghost town of Cerro Gordo, which means “fat hill” in Spanish. Perched at 8500′ in the Inyo Mountains above the Owens Lake, Cerro Gordo is the most well preserved ghost town in California. The town’s history dates back more than a century and a half. “In its heyday, it averaged a murder a week. It’s really part of the Wild West.”
In 1865, a man named Pablo Flores discovered silver here; by 1867, word of the silver spread, “bringing flocks of new prospectors.” In the years that followed, lead and ore were also mined in the town.
The town blossomed to a population of 4,800 hearty souls. Cerro Gordo was a wild town, with countless bars and businesses politely known as “Dance Halls”. The mine ultimately produced 4.5 million ounces from a hole 1150′ deep with 7 levels of tunnels, totaling 37 miles. Wagon trains delivered sliver to Los Angeles, effectively supporting and feeding what was then a struggling coastal pueblo of fewer than 4,000 residents. After the civil war a third of the business through the Port of Los Angeles was from Cerro Gordo and the Belshaw Smelter was the highest output smelter in the U.S. At one point, it became the largest producer of silver and lead in California and greatly aided in the growth of Los Angeles.
NOTE: all photos of actors, movie posters and locales are directly related to films made in Lone Pine.
Cost: $2,295 per person
• Initial deposit: $500 per person, non-refundable deposit required
• Optional Pre-Trips: Sunday: $150 | Monday Morning: $150
• Final Payment: Due 90 days prior to ride
• Click Here to Book This Ride
• Trained horses (you’ll be matched to a horse based on each individual’s riding abilities)
• Tack (use of personal saddles okay)
• Wranglers (they do all the real work)
• Historians / Private Tours / museum entries
• Three meals a day (sack lunches for saddlebags when riding), Monday through Friday
• Should you cancel within 90 days prior to ride …. all monies non-refundable
• Should Great American Adventures cancel this ride: all monies 100% refundable
• See Terms & Conditions
• Travel Insurance – ask for a free quote… this is highly recommended.
• Transportation to and from the event;
• Rental cars (if needed);
• Period clothing (See Dress Code);
• Though not mandatory, dressing “period” makes these rides more fun and makes for great photos ops!! Try it! Don’t spend lots of money unless you want to… Dress Code recommendations/ where to purchase under “About” dropdown menu above site.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
• During Day … Arrive Burbank Airport (if flying), California.
• La Quinta Inn & Suites Santa Clarita | 25201 The Old Rd, Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381
• Phone: (661) 286-1111
Sunday, May 12
• 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Breakfast
• 9:00 AM – Begin tour: William S Hart Museum and Autry Museum
• 6:00 PM – Dinner
Monday, May 13
• 7:30 AM Breakfast
• 8:30 AM – Motel check-out
• 9:00 AM – Tour Melody Ranch
• 11:00 AM – Lunch
• Noon – Depart for Lone Pine
• 4:30 PM – arrive Lone Pine, check-in to hotel
• Best Western Plus | 1008 South Main Street, Lone Pine, CA 93545 | 760-876-5571
• 6:00 – Tour Lone Pine Film Museum
• 7:00 – “Meet & Greet” at Film Museum
Tuesday – Friday, May 14 thru May 17
• 7:30 AM – breakfast each morning
• 9:00 AM – mount and ride Alabama Hills movie sites, plus the ghost town of Cerro Gordo and neighboring sites in and around Mt. Whitney, Lone Pine, and Alabama Hills.