‘Gunsmoke’: How to Take a Virtual Tour of the Classic Western’s Iconic Melody Ranch Film Set

by Madison Miller
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Fans of “Gunsmoke” can vividly picture Matt Dillon, Chester, and Miss Kitty walking through the Western town of Dodge City, Kansas during the show’s run. The rustic town looks like the characters are walking through the Old West of the 1800s.

The ranch used for the show’s TV set can still be visited today. The name of the filming location for “Gunsmoke” is Melody Ranch.

‘Gunsmoke’ Western Set

Right now fans can take a virtual tour of the famous Western set. To walk through the town of “Gunsmoke” and other Westerns, click here.

According to the Melody Ranch Studio’s official site, the actual location of the ranch is Santa Clarita Valley, California. It has been around since 1915. Gene Autry bought the property in 1952, however, most of the property burned down 10 years later. It was sold in 1990 and then renovated.

The location can still be booked for more TV and movie appearances. As of 2001, there is also the Melody Ranch Museum. There are one-of-a-kind collections and memorabilia from classic films and TV displayed here.

The set has been the location of countless other Westerns besides “Gunsmoke.” It ranges from classic to more modern-day shows. That includes “The Lone Ranger,” “Annie Oakley,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Westworld,” “Deadwood,” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

The lot is 22 acres. It includes a Western town with a saloon, bank, jail, general store, hotel, church, school, stable, theatre, farmhouse, ranch, Victorian home, as well as several boardwalks.

According to Visit Southern Utah, the show also filmed 635 episodes near Johnson Canyon near Kanab, Utah. There was a replica of the Hollywood set mostly used for the series created here.

Unfortunately, people cannot visit this set because it is no longer in proper condition. The buildings are collapsing.

One of the other filming locations was also Western Town at Paramount Ranch. According to CNN, a California wildfire burned this set down in 2018. It was where parts of “Gunsmoke” as well as “Westworld,” “Drunk History,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Weeds,” “The Mentalist,” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” were filmed.

This Paramount Ranch was a massive property that had been used for films and TV since 1927.

‘Westworld’ Modern Western Show

“Gunsmoke” ran for 20 years. Now fans of the show can watch it in re-runs. However, an interesting alternative may be the HBO show “Westworld.” It was filmed partially at Melody Ranch and Paramount Ranch.

The show is an American science fiction Western and dystopian series. It takes place in a technologically-advanced Wild-West amusement park populated by androids. The show also eventually shifts to the 21st century in later seasons.

The show is helping prove that the Western-theme is imaginable in new contemporary and interesting ways. It is an interesting use of the Western setting that definitely diverges from shows like “Gunsmoke” or “Daniel Boone.”

Outsider.com