The town of North Fork was on a sound stage in Hollywood just like most of the shots of Dodge City on Gunsmoke. Using actual exterior sets, on either back lots or movie ranches on westerns was quite expensive and used sparingly on some shows only when space needed called for the outside version of a town. Bonanza was different; Virginia City was on the back lot at Paramount Studios. Gunsmoke's exterior set for Dodge City was on the back lot at CBS Studio City, the former home of Republic Pictures, makers of all those B westerns in the 1930's and 1940's. The Rifleman, being a Four-Star Production, may not have had a real exterior western set available at the studio location.
*One of the members here at the ranch mentioned about living on the North Ridge near Chatsworth. I had asked her if she was aware of the Iverson Ranch where some of The Rifleman episodes were film. Here is what NorthRidge told me:
It was an interesting filming location. A location scout found it and the owners agreed to let them film there. Starting all the way back in 1912. I knew of it when I was younger, but did not see it during its glory days. Some scenes of the second episode of The Rifleman (Home Ranch) were filmed there. There is a saying that goes in a Hollywood movie or TV show, if you see a rock, it is either a prop or shot at Iverson Ranch. Most of that place is built up (condos, mainly), however, there are a few areas which can be hiked on. I will go back there again and take some more recent photos. Here are two I took about 15 years ago from the Garden of the Gods section of the former Iverson Ranch.
Janss Conejo Ranch, Thousand Oaks, California, USA
1300 E Janss Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA
California's Simi Valley
Located at the eastern end of Simi Valley on 206 acres, Corriganville Park is the former site of the Corriganville Movie Ranch
Paramount Ranch, Agoura, California, USA ― Paramount Ranch is located off Highway 101 in the Santa Monica Mountains near the Kanan Road exit. This ranch/studio is part of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and features an Old West movie set. Visitors a welcome to roam about the buildings of the set for free. Movies and television shows are still filmed here recently including Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Fear Factor episodes. Past movies and episodes include, The Rifleman, Gunfight at the OK Corral, Have Gun Will Travel, The Dukes of Hazard and so many more.
Dee Cooper once own the Paramount Ranch. In 1962 movie villain Dee Cooper leased the property, which he held until 1978. In 1980 the National Park Service took over, then added more land until the property was 436 acres.
Dee Cooper appeared in The Rifleman as a barfly in 'The Coward'.
Motion Picture Studio of California
Republic Studios/CBS Studio Center
TV Studios and ranches
4024 Radford Ave., Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA
Kern Valley — filmsite/tv
California Department of Parks and Recreation
The last 2 years of the series were mostly filmed in the studio. (Studio City)
Sadly the set has been torn down!
This link will take you to a picture of plaque that was placed in Studio City, not far from where the original studio was for
The Rifleman This was outside the Citibank in 2004.
Gone but not forgotten Index
Does the Dunlap Ranch/McCain Ranch still stand?
If anyone can contribute to these pages I sure would love to hear from you!
There also is some videos in YouTube on Malibu Creek State Park, but of course nothing on The Rifleman being filmed there. You might want to check out these videos.
I got this e-mail from a Gary G. stating that The Rifleman being a Four Star Production may not have had access to a home studio western back lot...with the exception of the first season, the show was filmed at the old Republic Pictures lot (CBS Studio Center) and did at times use its outdoor western street. Take a look at season 3 episode 23 'The Lost Treasure of Canyon Town.' You should recognize it from the Wild Wild West, The Big Valley, Gunsmoke and a lot of Republic movies. All were based on this lot. Unfortunately as TV Westerns faded from prime time I believe part of this area of the lot was converted into a parking structure and additional studio space. Steve G. contributed wonderfully researched and photographed then & now pictures of the ext. location sets of the McCain Ranch House and Barn. Gary G.
Does the Dunlap Ranch still stand? We saw this house burned to the ground, but did it?
The Dunlap Ranch/The McCain Ranch Then & Now Photo Album
The Rifleman filming location 2
The McCain Ranch
"Gone But Not Forgotten"
"1958 vs. 2006" — "Time Can Stand Still"
Malibu Creek State Park
Trail to The McCain Ranch/Map
around The McCain Ranch