A scene from the television series, "Dundee & the Culhane" (CBS 1967).
Cowboy in blue shirt is Fred Stromsoe doubling Sean Garrison.
(from the Stephen Lodge Collection)

Located in the Santa Susana Mountains between Chatsworth (Iverson Ranch/ Spahn Ranch) and Simi Valley (Corriganville) on a plateau overlooking the Chatsworth Reservoir and the San Fernando Valley, it was owned from the 1930’s through at least the 1950’s by the Berry Family. Frank Bell was an unofficial co-owner of the site (a handshake deal) and managed it when the movie people began filming there in the early 1950’s. In 1950, five acres on the western side of the ranch were sold to Tony Stimolo who then named his portion the Bell Location Ranch. In 1955 he built a western street on the ranch. This street burned to the ground in 1968. It was then rebuilt. In 1978, Stimolo and Ventura County agreed on an 8 year permit to continue the use of the movie ranch (the zoning for the property had changed from commercial to single-family). In 1987, he was again allowed to continue his movie ranch on the condition that he widen the entry road to the property (Studio Road). At an estimated cost of $100,000 to $500,000 to widen the road and the refusal of the inhabitants along the road to allow the widening, Stimolo finally decided to sell off his acreage. In 1990, all of the sets were removed. Many of the television westerns used the property, including Gunsmoke, Zorro, The Monroes, How the West Was Won, Dundee and the Culhane, The Big Valley, and Bat Masterson. Even Dennis Weaver as McCloud used the western street and surrounding area for one episode.

About midway through the Berry property, on the southern side, there is a brick building which is used as a vacation/weekend home by the current owners of the ranch. This is a real building and not a movie set even though it has appeared in many films and television shows and is referred to as the “Zorro Cabin”. It was designed by famed artist Marc Davis of Disney. The bricks were made at Vasquez. The foundation of the home was of steel. It survived the Northridge earthquake, but vandals in 2001 damaged the home. There were two entrances and two faces to the structure. The front (north) facing side had a façade of brick. The rear (south) side had a stucco finish. It could appear as two different buildings in the same film/show.

The following shots are from The Monroes television show:

The above three photos show the Bell Ranch scenary.

The following shots show the Western Street:

Entering the western edge of the town.
The town looking from west to east.
The town looking west.
The south side of the street, looking west.
The north side of the street, looking west.
The town looking east.
The north side of the street, looking west.
Looking east, the mansion on the east end of town in the background (white building).
The southeast corner of town.
Another shot of the southeast corner of town.
The south side of the street.

Located on the Berry Ranch was a brick cabin used by the owners as a weekend retreat. Occasionally it would appear in films and television shows shot on the ranch.

The following two shots were taken in the around 1999, one showing the front, the other the back (used by permission).


The following shots were taken over a twenty year period:

Western street location (copyright 1994 by Jerry L. Schneider)

Aerial view of ranch, early 1970's (copyright by Jerry L. Schneider)

Aerial view of ranch, early 1970's (copyright by Jerry L. Schneider)

End of Western street (copyright 1983 by Jerry L. Schneider)

(copyright 1994 by Jerry L. Schneider)

DIRECTIONS: The fastest route from downtown Los Angeles is to take the 5 freeway north to the 118 freeway west. Exit at Topanga Canyon Blvd and turn left (south). At Santa Susana Pass Road turn right (west). Go past the Iverson Movie Ranch site and the Spahn Ranch site. Now you have two choices of how to reach the Berry/Bell Ranch. To enter the Berry/Bell Ranch from the eastern side (the Berry Ranch side and closest to the “Zorro” house), turn left on Lilac Lane and head to the end of the road. You will be on the eastern side of the ranch. To reach the western side of the ranch, instead of turning on Lilac Lane, turn left on Box Canyon Road. Head up the hill until you find Studio Road on the left. Turn there and head on up. The end of the paved Studio Road is the approximate location of the Bell Ranch western street.

"Carson City" (Warner Bros. 1952) Directed by: Andre de Toth. Cast: Randolph Scott, Lucille Norman, Raymond Massey, Richard Webb, James Millican, Larry Keating, George Cleveland, William Haade, Thurston Hall.

"The Man Behind the Gun" (Warner Bros. 1952) Directed by: Felix Feist. Cast: Randolph Scott, Patrice Wymore, Dick Wesson, Philip Carey, Lina Romay, Roy Roberts, Morris Ankrum, Katherine Warren, Alan Hale Jr., Douglas Fowley, Tony Caruso.

"Riding Shotgun" (Warner Bros. 1954) Directed by: Andre de Toth. Cast: Randolph Scott, Wayne Morris, Joan Weldon, Joe Sawyer, James Millican, Charles Buchinsky, James Bell, Fritz Field, Richard Garrick.

"Four Guns to the Border" (Universal 1954) Directed by: Richard Carlson. Cast: Rory Calhoun, Coleen Miller, George Nader, Walter Brennan, Nina Foch, John McIntire, Charles Drake, Jay Silverheels, Nestor Paiva, Mary Field.

"Gunsight Ridge" (United Artists 1957) Directed by: Francis D. Lyon. Cast: Joel McCrea, Mark Stevens, Joan Weldon, Darlene Fields, Addison Richards, Carolyn Craig, Robert Griffin, Slim Pickens, I. Stanford Jolley, George Chandler, Herb Vigran, Cindy Robbins, Jody McCrea, Martin Garralaga.

"Face of a Fugitive" (Columbia 1959) Directed by: Paul Wendkos. Cast: Fred MacMurray, Lin McCarthy, Dorothy Green, Alan Baxter, Myrna Fahey, James Coburn, Francis de Sales, Gina Gillespie, Ron Hayes, Paul E. Burns, Buzz Henry, John Milford, James Gavin.

"The Outrage" (MGM 1964) Directed by: Martin Ritt. Cast: Paul Newman, Laurence Harvey, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson, William Shatner, Howard De Silva, Albert Salmi, Thomas Chalmers, Paul Fix.

"Quick Gun" (Admiral Pictures 1964) Directed by: Sidney Salkow. Cast: William Fawcett, Rick Vallin, Paul Bryar, James Best, Frank Ferguson, Raymond Hatton, Audie Murphy.

"Hombre" (20th Century Fox 1967) Directed by: Martin Ritt. Cast: Paul Newman, Fredric March, Richard Boone, Diane Cilento, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Rush, Martin Balsam.

"Sunset" (Tri-Star Pictures 1988) Directed by: Blake Edwards. Cast: Bruce Willis, James Garner, Malcolm McDowell, Mariel Hemingway, Kathleen Quinlan, Jennifer Edwards, Patricia Hodge, M. Emmet Walsh.