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Janss Conejo Ranch
Conejo Valley, California


















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     Once located in beautiful Conejo Valley, the Janss Conejo Ranch was a popular filming site used in countless TV series and films for decades. The ranch is featured in 74 episodes of the series from 1959 through 1968. The opening credits of all four Cartwrights riding down the dirt road were filmed in April 1959 and used for the first two seasons of the series. In 1910, Harold and Edwin Janss purchased about 10,000 acres of land of what is now called central Thousand Oaks from the heir of John Edwards, who had purchased the land from the de la Guerra heirs (all of the land was originally a portion of the Ranch Conejo Land Grant).

     The ranch, called the Janss Conejo Ranch, was utilized as a farm and to raise thoroughbred horses with the Santa Susanna Mountains and Simi Hills framing it. The TV-Western "The Rifleman" used the ranch, with the three-sided outbuildings built on the north section. The large saddleback mountain is a prominent geographical landmark seen in everything made at the ranch. In 1969, the Hawaiian Land Corporation bought the ranch for developing into the vast city of Thousand Oaks.

     Portions of the land were developed, but much was set aside for open space. There's still a trail known as Stagecoach Trail that was used for many stagecoach crashes and falls over the cliff in Westerns. Wildwood and the adjacent Hill Canyon ( it was part of the MGM ranch, and used to film many Westerns, including segments of "Gunsmoke" ), are open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.

     Filmed segments and stock footage of "Bonanza" episodes at the ranch includes "A Rose For Lotta", "Enter Mark Twain", "A House Divided", "The Spanish Grant", "Bitter Water", "Dark Star", "Showdown", "The Hopefuls", "The Trail Gang", "Silent Thunder", "The Dark Gate", "The Thunderhead Swindle", "The Dream Riders", "Sam Hill", "The Friendship", "The Countess", "The Horsebreaker", "The Tall Stranger", "The Lady from Baltimore", "The Storm", "Gift of Water", "The Jackknife", "Knight Errant", "A Question of Strength", "Calamity Over the Comstock", "Journey Remembered", "The Quality of Mercy", "The Legacy", "The Saga of Muley Jones", "The Roper", "A Pink Cloud Comes from Old Cathay", "The Companeros", "A Dime's Worth of Glory", "The Flannel-Mouth Gun", "Ponderosa Birdman", "Hound Dog", "The Trap", "Dead and Gone", "Patchwork Man", "The Brass Box", "Devil on Her Shoulder", "The Reluctant Rebel", "All Ye His Saints", "The Dublin Lad", "To Kill a Buffalo", "Shining in Spain", "The Last Mission", "A Time to Step Down", "Credit for a Kill", "A Real Nice, Friendly Little Town", "The Bridegroom", "Tommy", "A Woman in the House", "Judgement at Red Creek", "The Prince", "A Man Without Land", "Napoleon's Children", "The Greedy Ones", "The Gentle Ones", "The Sure Thing", "The Gold Detector", "The Trackers", "A Girl Named George", "Child", "A World Full of Cannibals", "Sweet Annie Laurie", "Company of Forgotten Men", "Mrs. Wharton and the Lesser Breeds", "The Wish", "The Running Man", "The Survivors" and "Yonder Man".

Conejo Valley








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     The Conejo Valley region was used in some Bonanza episodes from 1965 to 1970. Janss Conejo Ranch was being planned for urbanized by 1968-69, so the production would film a few shows they could at the ranch, and would travel to the distant hilltops above Conejo Valley, and do some portions of some shows there through 1970, then would abandon filming altogether in the valley due to urbanization.

     Portions of the land were developed, but much was set aside for open space. There's still a trail known as Stagecoach Trail that was used for many stagecoach crashes and falls over the cliff in Westerns. Wildwood and the adjacent Hill Canyon ( it was part of the MGM ranch, and used to film many Westerns, including segments of "Gunsmoke" ), are open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.

     Filmed cuts of "Bonanza" episodes in the vicinity include "Peace Officer," "Mark of Guilt," "The Deserter," "Emily," "The Stalker," "Abner Willoughby's Return," "For a Young Lady," and "The Reluctant American".

DIRECTIONS: From Los Angeles, take the 101 Freeway west to Thousand Oaks. Exit at Lynn Road. Turn right on to Lynn Road. Turn left at Avenida De Los Arboles. The Janss Conejo Ranch property will be on the left side of the road.

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Portions of description above came from Jerry Schneider's Movie Making Locations Website and must not be used without written permission.

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