The Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve was once part of the 113,000 acre Rancho San Jose de Gracias de Simi land that was granted to Javier, Miguel, and Particio Pico in 1795. The ranch was later transferred to Jose de la Guerra y Noriega. In the late 1800's, it was purchased by Thomas R. Bard. He divided the land up. The portion included in the current preserve was owned by William Randolph Hearst in the 1930's. In the late 1930's, George E. Barrett Jr. purchased the land. On his Barrett Ranch, he raised horses and built a vacation retreat for his family. The original ranch house still stands today, southeast of the area of the ranch which was known interchangeably as Agoura Mesa and Lasky Mesa. It is a large flat area between hills, where the majority of filming on the ranch took place. In 1949, R. E. Crummer purchased the ranch. In 1963, Home Savings and Loan purchased the property and adjacent properties. Home Savings and Loan was the parent company of Ahmanson Land Company and the ranch soon became known as Ahmanson Ranch. Large portions of the ranch (2,408 acres) were planned for development. After Washington Mutual Bank (now Chase Bank) bought out Home Savings and continued with the subdevelopment process, a huge uproar was launched against them. Finally, in 2003, they sold the land to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy who opened it to the public on April 10, 2004.

Lasky Mesa/Duel In The Sun

The Charge of the Light Brigade

DIRECTIONS: From Los Angeles, take the Hollywood/Ventura Freeway (101) north. Exit at Topanga Canyon Boulevard north. Turn left at Victory Boulevard. At the end of Victory Boulevard is the trailhead with the shortest walking distance to Lasky Mesa. The area is also reachable, with a much longer walk, from the north end of Las Virgenes Canyon Road in Calabasas, and from a trail heading east out of Chesebro Canyon, all open park land.


"The Thundering Herd" (Famous Players-Lasky Co. 1925) Directed by: William Howard. Cast: Jack Holt, Lois Wilson, Noah Beery Sr., Raymond Hatton, Tim McCoy, Eulalie Jensen, Maxine Hicks, Stephen Carr, Gary Cooper, Fred Kohler.

"Silver Spurs" (Universal 1936) Directed by: Ray Taylor. Cast: Buck Jones, Muriel Evans, J. P. McGowan, George Hayes, Dennis Moore, Robert Frazer, Bruce Lane, William Lawrence, Earl Askam, Charles K. French, Beth Marion, Kernan Cripps.

"Gone With The Wind" (Selznick 1939) Directed by: Victor Fleming. Cast: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Hattie McDaniel, Thomas Mitchell, Trevor Bardette, Ward Bond.

"Santa Fe Trail" (Warner Bros. 1940) Directed by: Michael Curtiz. Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey, Ronald Reagan, Alan Hale, Van Heflin, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Gene Reynolds, Henry O'Neill, Alan Baxter, John Litel, Moroni Olson.

"They Died With Their Boots On" (Warner Bros. 1941) Directed by: Raoul Walsh. Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Arthur Kennedy, Charley Grapewin, Gene Lockhart, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Ridges, John Litel, Walter Hampden, Sydney Greenstreet, Regis Toomey, Hattie McDaniel.

"Duel in the Sun" (Selznick 1948) Directed by: King Vidor. Cast: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore, Herbert Marshall, Lillian Gish, Walter Huston, Charles Bickford, Harry Carey, Tilly Losch, Joan Tetzel, Sidney Blackmer, Francis McDonald.

"Wild Heritage" (Universal 1958) Directed by: Charles Haas. Cast: Will Rogers Jr., Maureen O'Sullivan, Rod McKuen, Casey Tibbs, Judy Meredith, George Winslow, Gigi Perreau, Troy Donahue, Gary Gray, Jeanette Nolan, Paul Birch, Stephen Ellsworth, John Beradino, Phil Harvey.