Ratto Ranch: Rich in Hollywood History

04 Apr

Dashing actor Errol Flynn came to the 238-acre Ratto Ranch for the 1936 filming of “Charge of the Light Brigade.” Flynn also rode a horse alongside a moving steam train near the Stanislaus-Tuolumne County border for the 1939 film, “Dodge City.”……

Ratto Ranch was a setting for several famous Western films and TV shows, including “The Charge of the Light Brigade” starring Errol Flynn in 1936, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in 1943, “High Noon” starring Cooper and Grace Kelly in 1952, and the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” in the 1970s-80s.…

— Tim


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    April 4, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Dodge City’s “Sierra No. 18” was a cousin or sibling of the much more famous “Sierra No. 3”, which has been seen in many a major movie and television series. Reportedly, however, was taken out of service in 1932 for fifteen years, thus making it unavailable for Dodge City. (Note, though, there is conflict regarding these dates, in that it is also reported that it was used in Young Tom Edison, with Mickey Rooney.

    Here she is in Back to the Future II:


    Here’s some history on the Sierra Railway, aka “The Movie Railroad”.

    “Since 1929, when The Virginian was filmed with the Sierra No 3, the Sierra Railway properties have been a major resource to the motion picture industry. Over 200 movies, TV shows, and commercials have featured Railtown and its trains. Sierra’s tracks, locomotives and cars have long been seen on the silver screen; film credits include Go West with the Marx Brothers, High Noon with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, 3:10 To Yuma (1957) featured #3 in the end of the movie, as well as Back to the Future Part III with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Television programs that regularly used the Sierra property include Wild, Wild West, Iron Horse, Tales of Wells Fargo, and perhaps most famously, Petticoat Junction. The Sierra No. 3 locomotive and Sierra’s coach number 5 were the Hooterville Cannonball. Locomotive No. 3 was also used in numerous episodes of Little House on the Prairie.”

    And, who from the Sixties could ever forget Petticoat Junction, where the Sierra Railway stopped once a week for several years, for three very good reasons- Betty, Bobbie, and Billie Joe!!!;


  2. shangheinz

    April 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Here‘s another of Errol‘s waterholes, Prairieman Tim: Historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup New Mexico on Route 66El Rancho Hotel | Historic Hotel on Route 66

    • Gentleman Tim

      April 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Ah, yes, kickson66heinz, Rancho was the perfect complement for Ratto.…

      “Errol Flynn is rumored to have worked all day and drank all night. He once rode his horse through the lobby and into the bar where he continued to drink while sitting in the saddle. There also seemed to be a large number of young ladies running around town bragging about the stars they had spent “quality” time with. “

  3. twinarchers

    April 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for all the great info. I would love to visit these places one day.