‘Dallas’: Where is the Real Southfork Ranch?

by Joe Rutland

Fans of CBS’s drama “Dallas” are used to seeing a large white house at the front of the Southfork Ranch. People wonder where it’s located.

Lorimar Productions, the company responsible for filming “Dallas,” looked for a place in North Texas to represent the Ewing family. They discovered a 5,900-square-foot mansion built by Joe Duncan in 1970.

It’s located in Parker, Texas, which is 25 miles north of Dallas.

Exterior shots of the mansion were filmed for “Dallas” between 1979 and 1989. The Ewing mansion appeared in the initial “Dallas” series from 1978-91 and a second series for TNT from 2012-14.

Southfork Ranch Becomes Hot Property Beyond ‘Dallas’

Now the Lorimar Production studio built an entire mock-up of the outside of the ranch. But they continued filming exterior shots at the property through 1989.

After 1989, “Dallas” was filmed entirely in the studio. Two movies, “J.R. Returns” and “War of the Ewings,” and the documentary, “Return to Southfork,” however, all came back to the ranch for filming.

As “Dallas” continued to have great success not only in America but around the world, the Duncan family received requests for private parties and special events.

At the time, they set up a tent and hosted events outside while still living there. Requests increased and as they did, the Duncans found it difficult to try and continue living in the space.

Ranch Now Solely Tourist, Filming Property In Area

It actually became the leading tourist destination in the Greater Dallas metropolitan area. Finally, in 1985, the family moved away and Southfork Ranch became solely a tourist and filming property.

The public entered the mansion for the first time.

The rodeo arena, built specifically to film the “Dallas” rodeos, started to host competition rodeos and public “showdeos” for entertainment.

Additionally, a 63,000-square-foot event and conference center is on the site. It transforms Southfork Ranch from a fantastic tourist destination into one of the premier event facilities in Dallas.

So, the next time you watch an episode, you’ll know a little more about the large, white mansion that makes up Southfork Ranch.

‘Dallas’ Gets Change In Airing Days Due To Popularity

The soap opera became such a hit that CBS decided to move it to Friday night.

It turned into a series for CBS and “Dallas” stayed in its new time slot until its final episode in 1991. Airing times rotated between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern.

Known for its infamous cliffhangers, the 1980 episode “Who Done It” became the second highest-rated primetime episode. It only fell behind the series finale of “M*A*S*H.” Fans all over the world saw J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) shot, and everyone wanted to know who pulled the trigger.

The final episode, “Conundrum,” was watched by 33 million viewers. Due to this fact, the episode became the country’s 14th most-watched TV series finale.