HISTORY: In the early 1900's, several homes were built in Placerita Canyon by Frank Evans Walker and his family. The only remaining building intact is the one which is referred to as Walker's Cabin.
From early in the history of Hollywood, the ranch was rented out to movie-makers, which afforded the Walkers extra income. In 1949, Frank Walker sold the property to the State of California. In recent years, the state transferred the ownership of the park to the County of Los Angeles. [It was in Placerita Canyon that gold was first discovered in California. The Oak of the Golden Dreams monument stands at the site, although the actual site is on the Walt Disney Golden Oak Ranch, which is a short walk from the monument.]
USE: Contrary to published reports, most, if not all, of the Walker Ranch was used for filming, especially by the early low-budget companies, such as Spectrum. Many of the buildings (houses/cabins) on the property were used. However, only the Walker Cabin still exists in its entirety (you can find the remains of another building with fireplace intact on the property). The Walker Cabin was used by William Boyd and others and they referred to it as their on-screen hideout. The road that ran along the front of the cabin and the road on the other side of the creek (the south side) were used for the chase scenes by most companies using the property.
DIRECTIONS: From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north to Highway 14 (to Palmdale). Exit at Placerita Canyon Rd. and turn right. Go past the Andy Jauregui Ranch site and the Walt Disney Golden Oak Ranch, both on the left side of the road, then look for the Placerita Canyon Park on your right side. Turn right into the park entrance. This is the old Walker Ranch. The Walker Cabin is between the entrance and the nature center, next to the parking area.
All photos on this page are from the author's collection unless otherwise stated.
"The Range Feud" (Columbia 1931) Directed by: D. Ross Lederman. Cast: Buck Jones, John Wayne, Susan Fleming, Ed Le Saint, William Walling, Wallace McDonald, Harry Woods, Frank Austin.
"Two Fisted Law" (Columbia 1932) Directed by: D. Ross Lederman. Cast: Tim McCoy, John Wayne, Walter Brennan, Tully Marshall, Alice Day, Wheeler Oakman, Wallace McDonald, Richard Alexander.
"Moonlight on the Range" (Spectrum 1937). Director: Sam Newfield. Cast: Fred Scott, Al St. John, Lois January, Dick Curtis, Frank La Rue, Jimmy Aubrey, Oscar Gahan, George Morrell, Carl Matthews, Wade Walker, Bill McCall, Shorty Miller, Jack Evans, Rudy Sooter.
"Durango Valley Raiders" (Republic 1938). Director: Sam Newfield. Cast: Bob Steele, Louise Stanley, Kal Hackett, Ted Adams, Forest Taylor, Steve Clark, Horace Murphy, Jack Ingram.
"Six-Gun Rhythm" (Grand National 1939). Director: Sam Newfield. Cast: Tex Fletcher.
"Trail of the Vigilantes" (Universal 1940) Directed by: Allan Dwan. Cast: Franchot Tone, Broderick Crawford, Andy Devine, Mischa Auer, Paul Fix.
"Robbers of the Range" (RKO 1941) Directed by: Edward Killy. Cast: Tim Holt.
"West of the Law" (Monogram 1942) Directed by: Howard Bretherton. Cast: Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, Raymond Hatton.
"Blazing Guns" (Monogram 1943). Director: Robert Tansey. Cast: Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, Leroy Mason.
"Raiders of the Border" (Monogram 1944) Directed by: John P. McCarthy. Cast: Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton.
"Colorado Serenade" (PRC 1946) Directed by: Robert Emmett Tansey. Cast: Eddie Dean.
"Trailing Danger" (Monogram 1947) Directed by: Lambert Hillyer. Cast: Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton.
"Eyes of Texas" (Republic 1948) Directed by: William Witney. Cast: Roy Rogers, Andy Devine.
"Down Dakota Way" (Republic 1949) Directed by: William Witney. Cast: Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Monte Montana.
"Overland Telegraph" (RKO 1951) Directed by: Lesley Selander. Cast: Tim Holt.
"Road Agent" (RKO 1952) Directed by: Lesley Selander. Cast: Tim Holt, Tom Tyler.
"The Law Vs. Billy the Kid" (Columbia 1954) Directed by: William Castle. Cast: Scott Brady, Betta St. John.