This ranch sported a western town, a caretakerís home, a bunkhouse, as well as an assortment of other buildings which the filmmakers were allowed to use. However, most of the ranch was offlimits to filming. The ranch sat to the west of the Upper Iverson Ranch. More than half of the flat meadow land in the area of the Upper Iverson was owned by the Brandeis Ranch (the long stand of trees seen in the opening credits of The Lone Ranger television show was the dividing line between the Upper Iverson and the Brandeis Ranch).

The area was first homesteaded on June 28, 1899 by Ann Willden Johnson, wife of Niels C. Johnson?, and was then known as the Johnson Ranch. After John Brandeis purchased the ranch around the early part of 1929, he renamed it the Open Diamond Bar Rancho. Brandeis was a member of the Omaha, Nebraska department store family; very rich, and enjoyed hunting and polo (see portrait at right).

Filming at the ranch began in the early 1930ís and lasted to at least 1949, after which Brandeis closed his ranch to film making. Out of the 160 acre ranch, only the southern portion was open to the filmakers.

The western town was located on the west side of the property devoted to filmmaking. It was built by Brandeis for the entertainment of his guests. In a 1937 newspaper article, it is referred to as "a picturesque western street". It was gone by 1952. It can be viewed to good advantage in "Ghost Town Gold" (1936), "Ghost Town Riders" (1938), and "Trail of the Silver Spurs" (1941).

Located about a quarter mile west of the entrance road, shared with the Upper Iverson, was the ranch caretakerís home. This building was used by the film companies at the ranch. It can be seen in "Ghost Patrol" (1936) and "Santa Fe Stampede" (1938). A two-story bunkhouse with an entrance ramp was located a short ways to the south of the caretakerís home and is seen in "The Last Bandit" (1949) and other films. This may have been the original homestead residence.

The closed areas of the ranch contained the following amenities: The Mexican style home Brandeis built for himself. It was two-stories in height, 126 feet in length, with 4 foot thick adobe walls. The interior of the home was a sight--two score stuffed heads of animals Brandeis had shot and killed during hunting trips around the world lined the walls of the living room.

Other amenities found on the property were a championship-size tennis court, large polo field, swimming pool and bath house, dance pavilion, handball court, croquet court, teahouse, tiled power house, and a substantial-size bridge. A miniature lake was stocked with fish and equipped for canoeing.

In the 1970 wildfire which destroyed the Iverson Movie Ranch, Spahn Movie Ranch, and Corriganville Movie Ranch, all of the buildings on the Brandeis Ranch suffered the same destruction except for a wine cave, which was built of native stone (and probably is the cave seen in some of the films shot at the ranch), the swimming pool, tennis court, and the pond. Brandeis did rebuild his ranch structures to a tune of $750,000. After his death, the property, except for his residence, were sold off about the same time as the Upper Iverson sale and the property was subdivided.


The above three images are courtesy of Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives.

Based on topographical maps, a few of the buildings in the western street set were real.

DIRECTIONS: The Brandeis Ranch site sits in a gated community. Access is available to hikers and bikers, if they remain on designated pathways. The main ranch portion is on the western side of the old Upper Iverson Ranch, all now subdivided into 1 to 4 acres lots with mansions. To reach this general area from Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north to the 118 freeway west (now called the Ronald Reagan Freeway). See the directions for the Upper Iverson (see above). The original ranch entrance was about a quarter mile west of the Spahn Ranch, just before the gated access road on the right.


"Cowboy Star" (Columbia 1936) Directed by: David Selman. Cast: Charles Starrett, Iris Meredith, Si Jenks, Marc Lawrence, Edward Piel Sr., Wally Albright, Jack Perrin.

"Ghost Patrol" (Puritan Pictures 1936) Directed by: Sam Newfield. Cast: Tim McCoy, Claudia Dell, Walter Miller, James P. Burtis, Lloyd Ingraham, Wheeler Oakman, Jack Casey, Dick Curtis, Slim Whitaker, Art Dillard, Artie Ortego.

"Ghost Town Gold" (Republic 1936) Directed by: Joseph Kane. Cast: Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune, Kay Hughes, Leroy Mason, Burr Caruth, Bob Kortman.

"Gun Grit" (Atlantic 1936) Directed by: William A. Berke. Cast: Jack Perrin, Ethel Beck, Roger Williams, Phil Dunham, Ralph Peters, Oscar Gahan, Ed Cassidy, Earl Dwire, David Sharpe.

"Singing Cowboy" (Republic 1936) Directed by: Mack V. Wright. Cast: Gene Autry, Smiley Burnett, Lois Wilde, Lon Chaney.

"Winds of the Wasteland" (Republic 1936) Directed by: Mack V. Wright. Cast: John Wayne, Phyllis Fraser, Lew Kelly, Douglas Cosgrove, Lane Chandler, Sam Flint, Bob Kortman.

"The Feud of the Trail" (Victory 1937) Directed by: Robert Hill. Cast: Tom Tyler, Harlene Wood, Milburn Morante, Roger Williams, Lafe McKee, Jim Corey, Dick Alexander, Roger Williams, Vane Calvert, Slim Whitaker, Colin Chase, Francis Walker.

"Mystery Range" (Victory 1937) Directed by: Bob Hill. Cast: Tom Tyler, Jerry Bergh, Milburn Morante, Lafe McKee, Roger Williams, Dick Alexander, Jim Corey, Slim Whitaker.

"Silks and Saddles" (Victory 1937) Directed by: Robert F. Hill. Cast: Bruce Bennett, Toby Wing, Fuzzy Knight, Frank Melton, William Buchanan, Bess Flowers, Trixie Friganza.

"Ghost Town Riders" (Universal 1938) Directed by: George Waggner. Cast: Bob Baker, Fay Shannon, George Cleveland, Frank Ellis, Hank Worden, Reed Howes, Jack Kirk.

"Gunsmoke Trail" (Monogram 1938) Directed by: Sam Newfield. Cast: Jack Randall, Louise Stanley, Al St. John, John Merton.

"Heroes of the Hills" (Republic 1938) Directed by: George Sherman. Cast: Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune, Priscilla Lawson, Leroy Mason, James Eagles, Roy Barcroft.

"Lightning Carson Rides Again" (Victory 1938) Directed by: Sam Newfield. Cast: Tim McCoy, Ted Adams, Joan Barclay, Ben Corbett, James Flavin, Karl Hackett, Reed Howes, Jane Keckley, Frank La Rue, Forrest Taylor.

"Prairie Moon" (Republic 1938) Directed by: Ralph Staub. Cast: Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Shirley Deane, Tommy Ryan, Tom London, Warner Richmond, William Pawley, Walter Tetley, David Gorcey, Stanley Andrews, Peter Potter, Bud Osborne.

"Santa Fe Stampede" (Republic 1938) Directed by: George Sherman. Cast: John Wayne, Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune, June Martel, William Farnum, Leroy Mason, Martin Spellman, Genee Hall, Walter Wills, Ferris Taylor, Tom London.

"Two Gun Justice" (Monogram 1938) Directed by: Alan James. Cast: Tim McCoy, Betty Compson, John Merton.

"Arizona Gangbusters" (PRC Pictures 1940) Directed by: Sam Newfield. Cast: Tim McCoy, Pauline Haddon, Forrest Taylor, Lou Fulton, Arno Frey, Julian Rivero, Jack Rutherford, Keene Duncan.

"Phantom Rancher" (Colony 1940) Directed by: Harry Fraser. Cast: Ken Maynard, Dorothy Short, Dave O'Brien.

"Law of the Range" (Universal 1941) Directed by: Ray Taylor. Cast: Al Bridge, Johnny Mack Brown, Riley Hill, Fuzzy Knight, Ethan Laidlaw, Nell O'Day, Pat O'Malley, Wally Wales.

"Lone Rider in Ghost Town" (PRC 1941) Directed by: Sam Newfield. Cast: George Houston, Al St. John.

"Trail of the Silver Spurs" (Monogram 1941) Directed by: S. Roy Luby. Cast: Ray Corrigan, John "Dusty" King, Max Terhune, I. Stanford Jolley, Dorothy Short, Milburn Morante, George Chesebro, Eddie Dean.

"West of Tombstone" (Columbia 1942) Directed by: Howard Bretherton. Cast: Lloyd Bridges, Budd Buster, Clancy Cooper, Gordon De Main, Cliff Edwards, Russell Hayden, Jack Kirl, Tom London, Charles Starrett, Marcella Martin.