The Huntze Archives: The Rancho’s Grounds


All photographs from the Huntze Family Archive, kindly provided by Chris Huntze. Most of the text comes from Chris, giving us his personal recollections of the house – our additions are in italics and within brackets


The Patio

This postcard was blank on the back, and could be used in correspondence. It shows the patio and the water feature.


In the pilot, Scott calls the outdoor walled garden area the ‘patio’ when he assigns men to different positions as the Pardee gang approaches. And, on my Grandmother’s photos, she calls it the patio too – so patio it is.

The patio is a rectangle. Two of its border walls are the house itself, the two others high outdoor walls. In the outdoor walls are 2 gates, one in each wall. In one scene, Murdoch looks through the gate in the wall at the “back” of the house; this is the view toward Moore Lake and the direction the Pardee gang is coming from. The other patio wall gate has a round top that Theresa, Murdoch and the other Mexican ranch hand (Toledano) come out of.

The interesting thing about the Patio at time of filming, is that there was a sunken tiled water fountain in the center. As I looked at the end of the episode 1, they very carefully cut the camera just before people get near it. After Johnny is shot, Scott is up on a stair with Murdoch. He runs toward Johnny, but they cut the shot before Scott gets down to the level of the patio.

At the ending where Johnny has been shot, Scott runs to his rescue and shoots the last of the Pardee Gang—they are near the Guest house and the two brothers look to the main house.

Another interesting thing I noticed. I have a very faint memory of my Grandfather saying something about the other stairway in the Patio. (NB, not the one seen in either the drawing or the SF Chronicle article picture). In the first episode, there is a stair that comes from the second story balcony area that is over the main room . This stair turned around the corner of the building and takes you down to the patio. In last scenes with Pardee Gang riding in,  Murdoch, Scott and others are up on that second story balcony.

The pictures I have from my Grandparents show that they visited in 1975, 1978, and lastly in 1991. In 1991 I believe the Oppenheimers had sold to a development group. We could still get in to the ranch for a time because we knew the other two families who ran the cattle operations. In 1991, there is a lot of work going on in the patio, and those stairs are gone. Not sure why they took them off the outside of the building, that wood from the stairs would have good (mementos) for Lancer fans!!!

Photo from the SF Chronicle article June 4 1968, on plans for developing the Rancho

I think at this time when they “remodeled” the outside patio, they built the large outdoor fire place oven in the corner. Almost looks like a pizza oven. At this time they filled in that sunken water fountain tub. You can see a dark oval in the patio floor in the newspaper article (picture above). Even when we were there from 1966 to 1974, Grandpa said the fountain tub leaked so they did not keep water in it.

As you look to the right of the tower portion, you see one round top French door.  This is one of the French doors for the main room from the show.  You can see in the pilot episode that the round part of the door has a curtain on it.  

To the right, even more out of frame of the picture from the article, is where the stairs come down into to patio from the second story balcony that is above the big picture window in the main room.   These are the stairs that Scott and Murdoch and others are on, firing when the Pardee Gang rides to the main house.

RSC Patio looking to Main room wall 1966
RSC Patio looking to main room wall (1966)

This picture is taken from inside the Patio, looking with close up detail of the wall for the main room. On the second story,  you can see the same 5 windows from the “pool” picture. You can see the ends of the beams coming out of the wall- these are the ceiling beams of the main living room. The 3 story tower is just out of view to the left, and the stairs that come down into the Patio are just out of view to the right. 

This shows that main living room will have 3 sets of French Doors with round topped window above. You will see this wall in the filming of Episode 1 when men are climbing the stairs to get in place to fire upon the Pardee gang.

RSC Patio looking toward outer walls 1966
RSC Patio looking toward outer walls (1966)

This picture of the patio looks toward one outer wall. A picture from 1991 shows they built the outdoor oven/fire place in this corner in the later remodel. This view is not seen in Episode 1. For reference, just over the wall is the lawn Johnny rides the horse across,  to the right would be the patio gate that goes out toward the guest house, and to the left is the main living room for the main house. 

RSC View over patio toward guest house 1966

This view really helps visualize the layout of where things are.  It’s from the 2nd story balcony over the main living room, with stairs (no longer there) that go down into patio. This is the view that Murdoch has when Johnny gets shot and falls from his horse.  You can see the line of sight, over the blue tile fountain,  then over the round top gate in the patio wall, and in distance is the guest house with large oak trees.   There are 2 big trees over there,  and the one that Johnny and Scott are near, maybe a bit to the right.   But I am certain that this is the area where Scott finds Johnny after he falls from the horse.  From this vantage point, you see the inside of the patio wall gate that Murdoch, Theresa and Toledano walk out of. 



The Guest House

RSC Guest house with oak trees (1991)

This is the view you have from the patio gate on the main house. So this would be the view Murdoch and the others had when Johnny was lying near one of the big oak trees.

RSC Guest house with drive (1991)

The next pic of the Guest House is taken from the front of the Main house, you can see how the driveway splits off and goes to the side of the Guest House. In one quick scene after Scott comes to defend Johnny, you can see this driveway really well behind them. As you look at the driveway, as it goes off to the right, that leads to the front of the yard and the road out front.

RSC bell near Guest House (Jan 1979)

The bell tower I believe is the same bell the ranch hands rang to sound the alarm of the field on fire in Epidsode 1.  The shot in the episode is looking straight up the tower, but I think this is the same tower and bell.  This tower is to the creek side of the Guest House building, so that makes it on the far side of the Guest House, as looking from the main house. 



The Garage

RSC garage building 1966

A note on my mom’s photo says the rooms above the garages were for servants during the Moore Period. That would make sense as the kitchen of the main house is on that side.



The Barn and Corrals

The big white barn near the corrals where Johnny breaks the horse and Scott jumps the fences. It is taken from the other side of the barn as seen in pilot. You can see the corral fences that Teresa sat on, past the barn. 

The big white barn, Moore era polo pony barns, and those corrals were on the other side of the creek past the Guest house.  I don’t think any of those buildings are still there – on the Google map it is the location of the Preserve’s Sports Center, so it looks like those are all new buildings in that area. 




All the links!
The Hacienda main page

The Huntze Family Archives
Eleanor and Wes Huntze
The House at Rancho San Carlos

To: Filming the pilot episode 



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