The wildfires raging in California have already claimed several lives and endangered thousands more. So on the scale of things, this is somewhat minor. But one of the victims of these fires is the Paramount Ranch, which has served as the shooting location for hundreds of Western productions over the last 90 years. Most recently, it has been a home to HBO’s popular Westworld series.

A bit of the Ranch’s history, from its official site:

In 1927, Paramount Pictures purchased 2,700 acres of the old Rancho Las Virgenes for use as a "movie ranch." For 25 years, a veritable who's who of Hollywood practiced their craft at Paramount Ranch including director Cecil B. Demille and actors Bob Hope, Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert. The diverse landscape was the real star of the show. It offered film makers the freedom to create distant locales such as colonial Massachusetts in The Maid of Salem (1937), ancient China in The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938), a South Seas island in Ebb Tide (1937) and numerous western locations including San Francisco in Wells Fargo (1937). The art of illusion was mastered on the landscape.

While production slowed with the decline in Westerns’ popularity in the later decades of the 20th century, the site continued working. Before it was the home of Westworld, Paramount Ranch also served as a primary shooting location for the long-running series Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. So this is a sad day for lovers of film and TV history — in addition to all the other tragedy these fires are causing. Our best wishes to everyone affected in Southern California.

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