“Sorry about your barn”
The Peabody Farmhouse and Barn and Twin Pines Ranch filming Location from Back to the Future – AND WHY EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET IS WRONG ABOUT THIS ONE. See the end of this article for visiting information.
PRIVATE RANCH OWNED BY DISNEY, DO NOT TRESPASS! DISNEY WILL BE BRUTAL AND ANY VIOLATORS WILL BE ARRESTED AND PROSECUTED! NOT TO MENTION THERE’S DOGS. BIG DOGS.
The Libyans have suddenly vanished, and so has the parking lot! That’s right, Marty has just successfully become the world’s first time traveler and driven straight into a barn at 88mph. After an out-of-this-world encounter with the local pine tree farmer and his family, Marty flees the barn and heads out of the area as fast as he can, destroying a prize pine as he goes. So where was the farmhouse, the barn, and the entrance to the Ranch? Glad you asked. LA film studios operate within a thirty mile zone to avoid paying extra fees to the union, so where do you find a farmhouse and a barn within thirty miles of Hollywood? Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch!
Little known beyond a small ring of Disney superfans and filming location enthusiasts, Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch was purchased in 1959 after using it for several years to film Spin N Marty. Over the years countless Disney classics were filmed on site, including The Parent Trap, Follow Me Boys!, and many others. Today, TV shows like The Office and big productions like the Pirates of the Caribbean still use the ranch as a filming location.
But because the site is completely off limits to the public – and we mean Period, no exceptions, EVER - it makes the location that much more interesting.
And of course, at BTTF tour, we along with all our predecessors have reported that the Ragwing Barn on the ranch stood in for the Peabody farm barn. I mean literally. Using every search engine known to man, we have determined that every Back to the Future website in English in the entire world lists the Ragwing Barn as the location of Marty’s crash. Every filming locations website, everywhere.
I hate to burst their bubble, but they’re wrong. All of them are wrong. Don’t get me wrong, we were wrong too. Have we used the word wrong enough to show you how wrong everyone was? (Ok, I’ll stop.) The Barn was NOT the Ragwing Barn, and the evidence is obvious. But forget that for a second, how could everyone unanimously make this mistake?
The simple truth is the matter is it’s so difficult to get in to the Golden Oak Ranch (a few have achieved it, but it often takes a long time and a lot of favors) that everyone just reported what the previous person reported on the internet. Bruce Gordon (who worked for Disney) visited the ranch in the 90s, looked around for a barn, saw the Ragwing barn, and decided that must be it. Later, Wesley Treat managed to get in to the ranch, and concluded the barn had “undergone some superficial changes,” and it spread to the rest of the internet as all of the brilliant copy-pasters did their work. We too, took their word for it because we hadn’t managed to make it inside the ranch. We jotted down the location, gave credit to the explorers past, and kept on going.
So why did Bruce, Wesley, and the rest of the internet miss the obvious? It’s easy to make this mistake. Visit any Hollywood backlot twice and you’ll see dramatic changes to the set buildings. They can turn anything into anything, and they do. Most movie ranches are full of temporary facade buildings that are reconstructed and shifted around constantly to suit the needs of a particular production.
But not the Ragwing Barn. Thanks to the folks at cinchset.com for devoting a serious, noteworthy amount of time and research we know all about the Ragwing Barn. Built in the 1920s (or earlier) the barn stood as an actual feed barn for decades until the sides were rebuilt and enclosed in 1972, giving it the look it has today. It has never been structurally modified since, and the aged wood beams inside prove it. See the bottom of this article for a link to a very detailed and well researched article on the Ragwing Barn!
So if we know the Ragwing Barn hasnt changed, we know that it’s too wide and deep to be the right barn. So where is the real barn at the Golden Oak Ranch? And where is the Peabody farm house? The short answer is, gone forever. Your next question will undoubtedly be the same as mine. Then where was this set located?
Well, there are only so many barns on the Golden Oak Ranch now, but there were more in previous years. The same holds true for farmhouse sets. And, don’t discount the fact that many productions build temporary sets from scratch on the ranch and either tear them down after production, or leave the structures standing to be used sporadically until they simply fall apart.
The long and the short of it is, the barn is gone. It’s not the Ragwing barn, and it’s not any barn that’s stood on the Golden Oak Ranch for at least 20 years. The same goes for the house. All we know is that they were sets on the ranch property, and they’ve gone the way of the parent trap set.
Having established the facts and burst literally every fans bubble, we can now all rampantly speculate. My few contacts at Disney simply don’t know what set it was. What I believe to be the house and Barn ARE visible in a production filmed on the ranch in 1977, but until I have screenshots and do a little more research I’ll keep it under my hat. I’m sure this will launch some controversy among fans, so I just wanna say, “Sorry about your barn.”
But for the Hard-Core, Die-Hard, Do-Whatever-It-Takes Back to the Future fan, you will remember that as Marty flees the ranch in the DeLorean he comes off of a dirt road and back out onto pavement just after he runs over that tree. Well that pavement is public property, baby! The gate Marty flees through is actually one of the many gated entrances to the ranch, and the exit into Placerita Canyon Rd is the same spot from which you can get your only legal peek at the other sets on the ranch.From our gallery you can see that the exit to the ranch looked exactly the same as in the film for years, but recently as Disney plans to expand the Ranch into a full fledged movie studio, they’ve revamped all the fencing around the property to look much more appealing and perhaps eco-friendly.
This is not recommended for people with a time restriction for their BTTF viewings, or people who can’t entertain themselves while driving in between locations. Compared to the other SoCal locations… this one’s out there.
Like I said earlier visit this website for the most complete history of the Ragwing barn available. This website contains more about the history of Golden Oak Ranch than any other you’ll find on the web, including Disney’s official ranch website. A special thanks to “K” for backing up my suspicions that we were all looking at the wrong barn with his research and expertise. Contact us at BTTFtour if you have a theory about the proper barn or spot it in other films!
This article has just been updated for 2013 – but we have a few more updates to come in March on this location. Now, hurry up so we can get to the recently updated Lyon Estates… in 1955!
ADDRESS: DISNEY’S GOLDEN OAK RANCH
19802 PLACERITA CANYON RD, NEWHALL, CA
GPS COORDINATES: 34.377331, -118.477120