Film History

In 1955 Hollywood’s attention turned to Bonanza Creek Ranch, originally known as the Jarrott Ranch, when they filmed “The Man from Laramie” featuring Jimmy Stewart. The story goes that a former chauffeur for Mary Pickford, Louie Clifford, had started a cab company in Albuquerque while maintaining his connections in Hollywood. It was Louie who brought Hollywood producers to the ranch where they quickly saw a stunning landscape that had sloping green pastures fed by a continually running artesian spring, a pond flanked by enormous cottonwood trees and a century-old apple orchard hugging the base of Cerro de la Cruz.

In 1958 “Cowboy” starring Glenn Ford and Jack Lemmon was filmed on the ranch. Then in 1989, an Italian producer proposed the construction of a stylized Western Town set on the ranch. This wasn't the first time a set had been built; previously, in 1984, a set was constructed for “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” but was later dismantled. The new set, named Daisy Town, was created for the European television series “Lucky Luke”, featuring Terrence Hill.

The town was designed around a two-story Victorian house initially built for the movie “Silverado” in 1984. This house, also featured in “Lonesome Dove”, underwent modifications to serve as a mercantile. “Lucky Luke” continued filming for several years, and in 1994, Terrence Hill returned for an Italian-German coproduction titled “The n/Fight Before Christmas” where a large ranch house was constructed alongside a pond, now known as the Pond House set. Both the Pond House and the Western Town sets remain in high demand for film productions.

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"Blazing Saddles"
New Mexico Magazine, June 1994

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"Hollywood's Back Lot"
The Denver Post, Empire Magazine, August 24, 1997

LA-Times-Story
"You're on His Turf Now"
Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2009

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"Movie Towns Set Stage for a Western Revival"
New Mexico Magazine, June 1994

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"New Mexico on Film: 100 Years of Filmmaking in New Mexico"

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"A Journey Through Western History"
Santa Fe New Mexican