Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Circle J Ranch in "The Lawless Breed"
Saugus, California | Universal International Pictures 1952


Once again, Hollywood unwittingly preserves a piece of Santa Clarita Valley history that we would otherwise never experience in vivid, three-strip Technicolor.

This time it's the Circle J Ranch in Saugus — which wasn't always a residential subdivision. In the 1940s and 1950s it was a 440-acre guest ranch owned by A. Otto Moss and Frank B. Hanofer (Schneider Vol. 4, 2015:131). In the 1960s it was known as Onondarka Riding School. It even had an equestrian racetrack and platform as seen in this 1952 Rock Hudson vehicle from Universal International Pictures, "The Lawless Breed." It's hard to imagine Bermite Powder Company was manufacturing detonators, flares and other explosives for use in the Korean War at this time, just over the hill to the north.

Set in the 1870s, "The Lawless Breed" is director Raoul Walsh's interpretation of Texas gunslinger John Wesley Hardin's autobiography, with Hudson playing Hardin. Also seen in this 5-minute sequence is a Hardin ally played by Dennis Weaver (blue shirt, brown vest), who would co-star three years later in "Gunsmoke," filmed at Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon. (Not seen here is a Hardin enemy played by Hugh O'Brian, who would later get his own series at Melody Ranch.) The love interest seen here is played by Julie Adams (1926-2019).

"The Lawless Breed" also used Vasquez Rocks (for a cattle drive), the Andy Jauregui Ranch in Placerita Canyon, Janss Conejo Ranch, and stages at Universal Studios.

The Circle J racetrack was located where Oxford Lane is now (see below). The buildings and planted trees were located to the east of the track.


SCROLL OVER IMAGE BELOW TO COMPARE 1952 TO 2019


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Composite of aerial mapping, 11/3/1952 through 10/28/1954 (Flight AXJ-1952). Click image to enlarge


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