Were Movies shot in Elsmere Canyon ?

In the application to make the incorrectly named "La Puerta" a state historical landmark (see the La Puerta page), Jerry Reynolds mentions four movies that he says were shot at least partially in Elsmere Canyon. I have hiked over 100 times in the canyon and know it very well. I did not see any signs of Elsmere Canyon in any of the three movies that I was able to watch. The actual canyon is very narrow and would be pretty obvious in a movie. It is possible that scenes were shot in the much wider canyon mouth area. This would be hard to prove. Not only is this area mostly private now (the Hernandez ranch) but Highway 14 has also destroyed much of the original Elsmere Canyon-Newhall Creek junction area.

The forth movie was called "Rags". A.B. Perkins wrote ("Mining Camps of the Soledad - Part 3", The Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, June 1958, Vol. XL, No. 2) "Mary Pickford and William S. Hart filmed Rags at the old Newhall Land and Farming Company's deserted warehouse on the square." This was in Newhall. Reynolds writes in the landmark application that "It is known that William S. Hart and Mary Pickford shot "Rags" in the Canyon in 1919, also using some of the remaining Lyon's Station buildings for some scenes". After searching the internet, I found that "Rags" was actually shot in 1915, starred Mary Pickford, and did not even have William S. Hart in it. Reynolds manages to get at least two facts about the movie wrong in one sentence - nothing like research. There is an 8-minute clip from the movie here, but there is no sign of Elsmere Canyon.

I would love to see Elsmere Canyon in a movie, but, as far as I can tell, no movie was ever shot there.


Dark Command with John Wayne (1940). Wide open spaces with lots of horses running - nothing resembling the narrow Elsmere Canyon.


The Ape with Boris Karloff (1940). Shot by Monogram pictures. Monogram had their own ranch for filming in Placerita Canyon, so why would they film in Elsmere Canyon? That ranch would later become Gene Autry's Melody Ranch.


The Vanishing Legion 12-part serial with Harry Carey (1931). Again wide open spaces with lots of horses running all over the place. Nothing like Elsmere Canyon


Hidden Gold with William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy (1940). This picture came the closest to looking like it could have been partially filmed in Elsmere Canyon, but I could still not see any scenery that I could place there.