Shiloh Ranch = Universal City Walk

Sad to say the site of Shiloh Ranch is now occupied by the Universal City Walk area overlooking the Hollywood freeway. Shiloh Ranch was still in use by Universal Studio productions up until the mid 1970s but was levelled to make way for the expansion of the Universal Studios tour area.

 It’s a great pity that no sign exists where the iconic Shiloh house and ranch once stood but it appears the people in charge today have short memories and little appreciation of the past.


Author: PGreen

Published work in U.S.A. for McFarland & Co. Inc. : A History of Television’s The Virginian 1962-1971 (2006, 2009 Softcover edition) Pete Duel : A Biography (2007, 2009 Large Print edition; Kindle edition) Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns (2009) Jennifer Jones : Life and Films (2011)

30 thoughts on “Shiloh Ranch = Universal City Walk”

  1. So sad that a special place like that is gone. It was amazing to think that many years ago they were concerned enough with authenticity to have a real ranch, with stock and all.
    That place is dear to the hearts of so many of us.
    It just shows how high quality every part of producing that program was.

    Don’t they still have some sort of fake ‘Ponderosa’ site at Lake Tahoe?

    I love the shots of Shiloh, that would pan out, we’d see the house, the barn, bunkhouse. corral. I love that place.

    1. We were lucky, in Australia, that the whole filming of ‘McLeod’s Daughters’ was on an actual farm in South Australia. All actors had to learn to ride, shear sheep, dip sheep, shoe horses, fence and even running repairs on vehicles. The homestead was sold after production ceased. Everything was authentic. Hats off to the production company. Todays viewers can usually pick a ‘set’. Makes it more believable if it is all set against an authentic backdrop.

      1. Hi Carolyn : That’s interesting to hear. I guess Shiloh Ranch could have been filmed at an actual working ranch if it was near Universal Studios. But the logistics of filming a 75 minute episode every nine days meant interior and exterior shooting was never too far away. And camera technology wasn’t as portable or sophisticated as it is today.
        I have to admit I haven’t seen McLeod’s Daughters. Despite it being a huge success in Australia it hasn’t been shown in the USA – unless I missed it on some pay-for-view cable channel.

    2. It brings back my childhood memories a lot.i have all the cds.its on at the moment.i play them all the the theme tune by percy faith.shiloh will b forever in my heart.and the actors.i loved glad james an clu are s with us.big big fan

  2. Yes I find it sad as well Kate. The Shiloh Ranch was only a film set but it looked authentic and had a great, warm atmosphere. My favorite set on television.

    I know they sometimes filmed on location at Lake Tahoe on “Bonanza” but to my knowledge the Ponderosa set was on a sound stage. I’m not an expert on “Bonanza” so I could be wrong.

    I would love it if Universal rebuilt the Shiloh Ranch set as a tourist attraction. Or at least place a plaque on the site where it once was.

  3. I think the problem is we ‘older folk’ are left out of consideration when a tourist attraction and the high cost of building it as well as land being at a premium, means what is popular to the paying and thronging crowd, is what prevails no matter how special or ‘hallowed’ the place was.

    One only has to look at old maps; read of Father Serra – the missions and all of the earlier stories of California, to realize that many landmarks that were representative of this era, were covered over with industry/shopping centers/movie and tv studios who only showed ‘mercy’ to that land when they thought it might be useful in a movie or tv setting.

    So it is with so many beautiful places in the USA (or at least they were beautiful until progress and the greedy developers decided to use these beautiful settings as income sources and profit centers for their personal agendas).

    We shall have to use our own memories and be happy we at least have these episodes we can watch, so we can see all those buildings and people who were alive and well (some now deceased) during a wonderful time when America still seemed to care about its citizenry more than the almighty dollar.

    1. Yes this scenario will be repeated over and over again Diane and each generation will talk fondly about their disappearing past.

  4. I only recently started watching The Virginian.During it’s run on TV I was living
    mostly in Europe and South East Asia.When Encore Western Channel started
    showing it last year I became a big big fan.It is now my all time favorite
    western series.
    I was deeply saddened to hear the Shiloh Ranch House has been torn
    down.I was going to trave from north Carolina to see it this summer.I feel as the
    other folks do about this national treasure.
    PS:At least we can still see some of the cast at their annual reunions
    Bill B

    1. Maybe someone should think about recreating the Shiloh Ranch set Bill. It was only a set and not a real house or bunkhouse.

  5. Those old westerns made growing up so much fun, and taught us that good always wins over evil.

    Shiloh Ranch and the people who lived and worked there will always have a special place in my heart. Like the old west, it is gone, but never forgotten.

    The Iverson Movie Ranch was the most special place in all the world, and look what happened to it. It hurts to think what the world lost there. I would bet that most of the people living there don’t even know the history of the place..

    1. So much of movie and TV history is being lost Charlie. That’s why I try to preserve it in my books. Many Western sets went into disrepair through lack of use when Westerns lost their mass appeal in the late 1970s and 1980s. Now I see museums closing (Roy Rogers etc.) due to high maintenance costs and dwindling visitors. But as long as film is preserved we can watch the old films and TV shows – although many are still in suspended animation it seems – frozen in the film vaults until someone brings them to life again.

  6. Paul… Its such a shame Shiloh Ranch was destroyed to make way for the expansion of Universal Studios.
    I live in Linkoping. Swedens 5th biggest city. And the last 100 years have seen the city expand 100 FOLD.
    But all the old houses and banks and shops(Of 100 years ago) were not simply destyoyed to make way for that progress.They were moved to a new home which is called “Old Linkoping”.
    Simaly Universal could have perserved so much of its history if those in power had valued that history.
    When I visited Universal and sat on the tour train, it began with the opning themes of classic T.V shows.
    The Virginian ride in sequence was bitter sweet to me.
    Universal was a real let down when compared with my tour of Alcatraz. which preserved the very essence of its history.

    1. I agree Michael. To trash your own history seems perverse behavior by Universal. But it’s all about the latest hit show or film these days. And while the old TV shows are still popular the target audience is the younger generation.
      Only DVDs and books will keep many old show alive for future generations. The Universal we have today bears little resemblance to the Universal of the 1960s. The name survives but ownership shifts constantly over time.

  7. With the large interest as of late for the Show it may in fact bring in some revenue if Universal opened up a gift shop/museum dedicated to the ole west days. It would need to be a money maker. Paul you did alot to bring in more dialoge
    about this!!

  8. That would be a great idea Mike. Universal-Revue produced Wagon Train, Laramie, The Virginian, Laredo, Alias Smith and Jones etc. Lots of fans out there for these shows.

  9. Hi Paul, do you happen to know where exactly the show’s standing sets *were* on that backlot? Have you ever found an aerial photo that shows them?

  10. Hi Chris: Backlot locations were mainly on Laramie Street, Denver Street, Western Street and Six Points Texas – plus the Shiloh Ranch area. A fire in 1967 destroyed the Medicine Bow set and it was rebuilt.

  11. I loved every thing about the show . I really loved tramps he was so good looking . It Is sad that the house was pulled down

  12. Very interesting to know that the Shiloh Ranch was a set at Universal Studios. I’ve been hooked on The Virginian for about 6 months now it’s mt favorite show on INSP. I actually just paused the show to come hop on the computer to find out where the Shiloh Ranch was.

  13. The should have at least left a plaque. It shows their disregard that they didn’t leave even a shred in Shilo’s place. Who knows if they could even tell us the exact spot anymore….

  14. I am 67 years old. I have been binge watching The Virginian for the last couple months and I am totally hooked. Good over evil , lifes lessons,a show today youngsters should watch. I have just reached season 8 getting close to the 9th season and the end. Love the acting , I told my wife when I am gone , just tune up the Virginian and you will see me.

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