Cover image by Mfield, Matthew Field – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Sometimes there’s a man… And I’m talkin’ about Dick Curtis here.” Image: Dick Curtis in Lady in the Death House – cropped screenshot, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

A way out west there was a feller.  A feller I want to tell you about. A feller by the name of Richard Dye. At least that was the handle his loving parents back in Kentucky gave him. However, he never had much use for it himself.  You see, this Richard Dye, he moved to Hollywood, California, got into the acting business, and started calling himself Dick Curtis. Dick would appear in over 230 motion pictures and TV shows, usually as the black hat wearing, mustachioed bad guy before he met his untimely death in 1952 at the spry age of 49.

In between, however, (in 1946, to be exact), Dick Curtis stopped his horse out in the middle of nowhere in the high desert of California’s Yucca Valley one day, looked around and declared, “This is the place!” or something to that effect.

The Founding Fathers of Pioneertown

Nobody’s really sure how Dick came about owning that land. What they do know, however, is that other cowpokes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Russell Hayden, and the Sons of the Pioneers  put their money in alongside Dick’s and together they built Pioneertown (named after the aforementioned singing cowboy group the Sons of the Pioneers).

The rustic Pioneertown Motel. Image courtesy The Pioneertown Motel.

Pioneertown was a living, breathing 1880s Old West-themed motion-picture set where more than 50 films and TV shows like The Cisco Kid and The Gene Autry Show were filmed. Included behind the façade of the Old West town were more modern conveniences for the actors and film crews including “The Golden Stallion” Chinese restaurant, two saloons, a six-lane bowling alley for Roy Rogers, a post office and a motel by the name of  “The Townhouse”.

The 32,000 acre, scenic and smog-free movie set soon became a bonafide town, and nowadays, it still stands pretty much the way it did all those years ago.

It nearly didn’t make it this far, however. Back in 2006, a group of wildfires known as the Sawtooth Complex spread into parts of the Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley and threatened to burn Pioneertown to the ground. Thank the lucky stars that firefighters managed to save the movie set town, though a lot of the surrounding area was destroyed.

Today, tourists can  still mosey along Mane Street in Pioneertown. We reckon they might even catch a film or music video being made as the town is still used as a filming location for many moving pictures and musicians.

Hold Your Horses at the Pioneertown Motel

The comfortable rooms still beckon sun drunk and weary travelers today. Image courtesy of The Pioneertown Motel.

The Pioneertown Motel was originally built in 1946 as lodging for singing cowboys and their posses and film crews while making their motion pictures there. (In fact, in Room #9, Gene Autry used to play poker from dusk to dawn when he stayed here.)

Nowadays, you’ll find 19 rooms – some with king beds, some with queens – all with giant cacti and all named after film stars. Of course, each room also comes with air-conditioning, free wifi, and all the desert sky you’ll ever need.

Room #1 serves as the 24-hour lounge where, like Gene Autry, you can play cards from dusk to dawn if you fancy. (There’s also always some delicious Canyon Coffee brewing for those who like to pull all-nighters.)

The Red Cabin

For a special night, check into the Red Cabin. Also built in 1946, it was originally Pioneertown’s real estate office. However, recently the Mane Street building was bought by the Pioneertown Motel who turned it into a comfy and quaint cabin that offers a porch for “carryin’ on”, an authentic wood stove and spectacular views of the town and beyond. Talk about a retro stay that takes you all the way back to the Old West!

For more information or to make your reservation, you can call the Pioneertown Motel at +1 760-365-7001 or visit their website here.

Whether your headed out West or anywhere else on the compass, be sure to take some Stuckey’s along for the ride. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, Pecan Pralines and other pecany good treats to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey and savory flavored pecans straight from the bag, Stuckeys has all the road trip snacks you’ll need for your next adventure – even if it’s a just a family staycation.

Plus, with autumn just around the corner, be ready for the cooler weather with some of our Stuckey’s branded hoodies, caps, socks and other apparel  or sip on some coffee or hot chocolate from a Stuckey’s branded mug that also makes a perfect souvenir for your favorite road warrior or family vacationer.

For all this and more, stop by your nearest Stuckey’s location or shop our website at stuckeys.com today!

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!