Cow town

Q. Can ACTION LINE give us some information about Pioneertown, just above Yucca Valley? It looks like an old western movie set, with a few modern houses scattered through the hills. There is a post office, but we can’t tell if it’s in use. How do people get water? E. M. Seal Beach.

A. Pioneertown was built in 1947 as a set for western movies, according to Hester Guinan, who has lived in the town for 22 years and has been its Postmaster for 17 years.

Among the many cowboy sagas shot there were “Jeopardy” with Barbara Stanwyck, most of the Gene Autry and Cisco Kid films and recently “Tell them Willie Boy is here,” starring Robert Redford.

“Our post office serves about 400 residents,” Mrs. Guinan told action line. She said the late-night movie heavy Dick Curtis, who owns about 22,000 acres above Yucca Valley, built the Western Main Street and planned homesites for the surrounding hill sides. Later Curtis is sold his land to car dealers Bill Murphy and Fletcher Jones. They in turn sold to land developer Benton Lefton, the present owner. Unfortunately, we’ve had some had fires,” Guinan said  “and many of the old buildings, like the red dog saloon, were destroyed. Main Street is about 4000 feet above sea level, and we really have lovely weather up here. It’s much cooler than the desert valley, and we have some snow during winter.” Pioneertown residents get their water get their water from a local Iowa well.

Jul. 18, 1971 - Independent Press Telegram article clipping