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Discover White Stallion Ranch, which has been featured in Western feature films, including the classic 1950 film, Winchester '73.

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White Stallion Ranch, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, dates back to 1900.


A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, the White Stallion Ranch has been among the best holiday destinations outside of Tucson for more than half a century. But the resort’s history harkens back much farther to the early 1900s, when it first began as a quaint farm. Constructed out of simple adobe brick made from mud and straw, the location functioned more like a frontier homestead! After several decades of relative isolation, David Young acquired the location in 1936. Young continued to operate the facility for the next few years, until he sold it to Herbert and Vine Burning on the eve of World War II. Under the Brunings stewardship, the homestead grew into a massive cattle ranch that dominated the local landscape. The two raised all sorts of livestock, from large herds of cattle to flocks of chicken and turkey. At one point, the Brunings themselves owned over 30,000 birds! Herbert and Vine also decided to name the entire site as the “CB Bar Ranch.” Then, in 1945, Max Zimmerman acquired the cattle ranch and rechristened it as the “MZ Bar Ranch.” A Chicago liquor store magnate, he was interested with the prospects of relocating to Arizona’s warm desert climate. Yet, Zimmerman was also fascinated with Tucson’s vibrant cattle raising industry, which had expanded rapidly during the first few decades of the 20th century. The farm experienced something of a cultural renaissance during its time as the owner, constructing six new buildings that could be outfitted for guests. As such, the cattle ranch took its first steps toward operating as an exclusive guest ranch. The MZ Bar Ranch had also begun to develop something of a regional reputation. In fact, several Hollywood producers had started to use the site to film various aspects of their movies. Among the films shot within the vicinity of the MZ Bar Ranch were The Last Round-Up, Relentless, and The Gal Who Took the West.

Over the next two decades, various owners continued to offer limited housing for guests traveling to the region. One of the proprietors—Mary Varner—had even started offering rooms to the recruits of the nearby Marana Army Airfield. The ranch was also reborn as the “White Stallion Ranch” around the same time, as well. But the ranch’s true metamorphosis into a brilliant outstanding resort occurred in 1965, when Allen and Cynthia True formally took control over the site. Natives of Colorado, the couple moved their family to the White Stallion with the intent on making it their family home. The two specifically hoped to raise their children—Russell and Michael—who were only toddlers. The Trues quickly dove into managing the agricultural aspects of the ranch, raising all kinds of livestock. But when several neighboring guest ranches closed down in the following years, Allen and Cynthia saw a wonderful economic opportunity open up. They realized that the demand to experience a frontier lifestyle among local tourists was still immense. As such, they began renovating the White Stallion Ranch into a full-fledged resort that could offer that kind of rustic vacation environment. The Trues debuted 17 brilliant guestrooms, and began hosting a wealth of outdoor activities that focused on horseback riding. Popularity with the White Stallion Ranch surged seemingly overnight, forcing the Trues to develop more facilities. They even acquired some additional 3,000 acres of land just to accommodate their guests appropriately! Soon enough, some of the most influential people in the country started staying at the resort. Hollywood directors and superstars arrived in even greater numbers, giving the White Stallion Ranch national repute. Today, this brilliant holiday destination is co-managed by Russell and Michael True, as well as their own children. The resort also continues to rate among the most exclusive vacation retreats in all of Arizona, which consistently ranks within the top echelon of local resorts year after year.

  • About the Location +

    People have lived in the area of Tucson for the better part of four millennia, making one of the most historically occupied regions in the United States. Archeologists today believe that Paleo-Indians were among the first to settle the land, with the earliest village appearing in 2100 BC. Permanently settled horticulture followed suit, as current evidence suggests that widespread farming was commonplace by 1200 BC. The farming became increasingly more intricate, with a vast canal system appearing to irrigate the various fields. Spanish missionaries led by Eusebio Francisco Kino encountered this prolific society when they arrived in the area during the late 1690s. They founded the Mission San Xavier de Bac several miles upstream from modern Tucson, the missionaries had come to spread Christianity on behalf of the Spanish Crown. The Spanish colonial settlements remained rather disparate until Hugo Oconór commissioned the construction of a military fort called the “Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón” in 1775. Constructed upon what is now the Pima County Courthouse, the citadel protected the nascent villages in the area from raids by mounted Apache warriors. Peace eventually fell upon the area, with a small town forming around the base of the fort. Its inhabitants took to calling it simply as “Tucsón” after a native word used to describe the area.

    Tucsón remained an outpost for settlers venturing north into the frontier after the settlement became a part of Mexico in 1821. But during the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848, the town was briefly under American control when General Philip St. George Cooke captured Tucsón with a battalion of Mormon volunteers. Nevertheless, Cooke returned the settlement over to Mexican authority toward the end of the conflict, as he made his way west in the direction of California. He specifically constructed a famous wagon road that became one of the most important routes linking Tucsón to the Pacific Coast. Thousands of hopeful Americans flooded the route as they stampede west at the onset of the California Gold Rush. Yet, the town remained in Mexico for the next few years, despite the rest of Arizona falling under American jurisdiction. It was not until the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, James Gadsden, arranged to purchase all the land south of the Gila River that Tucsón formally became a part of the United States. Known as the “Gadsden Purchase,” the land sale sought to provide more room in which the build an American-run transcontinental railroad. Even though the transaction took place in 1854, the first American officials—and their military escorts—did not arrive until two years later. Soon enough, the new inhabitants were referring to the town as “Tuscon”—an anglicized version of its name. The military attache also established its own base known as Fort Lowell, which protected travelers as they made their way into the city.

    Tucson’s proximity along the Cooke Wagon Trail caused its popular to gradually grow to the point where Arizona’s territorial legislature incorporated it as a city in 1877. Yet, its relative remoteness on the American frontier made it the target of countless criminal acts by dangerous outlaws. Tucson quickly epitomized the caricature of the American “Wild West.” Some of the most common crimes involved stagecoach robberies, with the most notable involving the renegade William Whitney Brazelton. Brazelton had held up two stagecoaches a few miles outside of Tucson in the summer of 1878. Pima county Sherriff Charles A. Shibell had to organize an armed posse just to apprehend the violent criminal. A shootout eventually transpired south along the Santa Cruz River that saw Brazelton killed. More famous shootouts occurred in Tucson between law enforcement and roving bands of fugitives. Perhaps one of the greatest gun fights to occur within the city limits is known to history as the “Earp-Clanton Tragedy.” In 1882, Morgan Earp—brother of the legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp—was assassinated by the bandit Frank Stilwell and his gang. In vengeance, Wyatt Earp gathered his other brother Virgil Earp and a few friends to track down the rebellious Stilwell. In short order, they managed to find Stilwell lying in wait to kill Virgil at the steps of the Tucson railroad station. Surprising Stilwell, Wyatt Earp and his group killed the cowboy and most of his band before leaving the territory for California.

    Tucson had cast aside its violent reputation toward the end of the 1800s, emerging as one of the most attractive places to live in the southeastern United States. The railroads greatly influenced the transformation, for they better connected the city with its surrounding communities. One of the greatest signs that the city was becoming pacified was the creation of the University of Arizona just outside of Fort Lowell. By 1900, the population of Tucson had increased to nearly 7,000 with some five percent having immigrated from Asia. That number had practically doubled by the time Arizona officially joined the union in 1912. By the mid-20th century tens of thousands had relocated to the economically vibrant Tucson. For a time, Tucson was the even largest settlement in the state, surpassing Phoenix in its size until the 1920s. Nevertheless, the city continued to play an important role in Arizona’s history, acting as the commercial center for the southern part of the state. Driving much of this growth was Hughes Aircraft, which moved to Tucson in 1951. Employing some 14,000 residents, the company did much to diversify the local economy. Now known as Raytheon, the company still occupies the same facility it first inhabited several decades ago. It also hosted a massive military hospital for veterans sponsored by the U.S. Veterans Administration. In recent years, a prosperous optics industry has also appeared within the city that gave Tucson the nickname of “Optics Valley.” Today, the City of Tucson is one of the most culturally vivacious places in the entire country. It is filled with countless cultural attractions of world renown, such as the Reid Park Zoo, the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and the Pima Air & Space Museum. The historic Mission San Xavier del Bac is still located just outside of the city, which the U.S. Department of the Interior designated as a National Historic Landmark. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has even declared Tucson a “City of Gastronomy” in 2017. Truly few places in the United States are better for a rewarding cultural experience than Tucson, Arizona.

  • About the Architecture +

    When David Young started renovating the homestead that would become the White Stallion Ranch, he chose Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture as the source for his inspiration. Subsequent generations of owners—including the Trues—followed his example during their own renovations. Also known as “Spanish Eclectic,” this architectural form is a representation of themes typically seen in early Spanish colonial settlements. Original Spanish colonial architecture borrowed its design principles from Moorish, Renaissance, and Byzantine forms, which made it incredibly decorative and ornate. The general layout of those structures called for a central courtyard, as well as thick stucco walls that could endure Latin America’s diverse climate. Among the most recognizable features within those colonial buildings involved heavy carved doors, spiraled columns, and gabled red-tile roofs. Architect Bertram Goodhue was the first to widely popularize Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States, spawning a movement to incorporate the style more broadly in American culture at the beginning of the 20th century. Goodhue received a platform for his designs at the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, in which Spanish Colonial architecture was exposed to a national audience for the first time. His push to preserve the form led to a revivalist movement that saw widespread use of Spanish Colonial architecture throughout the country, specifically in California and Florida. Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture reached its zenith during the early 1930s, although a few American businesspeople continued to embrace the form well into the late 20th century.

  • Famous Historic Guests +

    Jean Arthur, actress known for roles in such films lie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can’t Take It With You, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

    Gene Autry, actor known for roles in such films like The Phantom Empire, In Old Santa Fe, and The Old Corral.

    Michele Carey, actress best remembered for her role in the film, El Dorado.

    Robert Conrad, actor best remembered for his role in the television series, The Wild Wild West.

    Joseph Cotten, actor known for roles in such films like Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, and Journey into Fear.

    Yvonne De Carlo, actress known roles in such films like Salome Where She Danced, The Ten Commandments, and Band of Angels.

    Angie Dickinson, actress known for roles in such films like Gun the Man Down, Rio Bravo, and Point Blank.

    Ruth Gordon, actress known for roles in such films like Rosemary’s Baby, Where’s Poppa?, and Harold and Maude.

    Coleen Gray, actress best remembered for her roles in Nightmare Alley, Red River, and The Killing.

    William Holden, actor known for roles in such films like Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.

    Van Johnson, actor known for his roles in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, A Guy Named Joe, and The Human Comedy.

    Diane McBain, actress best remembered for her performance in the television series Surfside 6.

    Stephen McNally, actor known for his roles in such films like Winchester ’73, Apache Drums, and The Duel at Silver Creek.

    Robert Mitchum, actor known for his roles in such films like El Dorado, The Night of the Hunter, and Cape Fear. 

    Clayton Moore, actor best remembered for his portrayal of The Lone Ranger in the 1940s and 1950s.

    Geraldine Page, actress known for her roles in such films like Hondo, You’re a Big Boy Now, and The Beguiled.

    Donna Reed, actress known for her roles in such productions like It’s a Wonderful Life, From Here to Eternity, and The Donna Reed Show.

    Henry Silva, actor known for his roles in such films like Ocean’s 11 (1960), The Manchurian Candidate, and Johnny Cool.

    Jay Silverheels, actor best remembered for his portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger franchise.

    Jeremy Slate, actor known for his roles in such films like The Born Losers, Hell’s Angels ’69, and True Grit.

    Jimmy Stewart, actor known for his roles in such films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

    Robert Wagner, actor known for his roles in such television shows like It Takes a Thief, Switch, and Hart to Hart.

    Robert Walker Jr., actor known for his roles in such films like Ensign Pulver¸ The War Wagon, and Young Billy Young.

    Bill Williams, actor best remembered for his role in the television series The Adventures of Kit Carson.

    Richard Widmark, actor known for his roles in such films like Kiss of Death, The Alamo, and Night and the City.

    Jonathan Winters, singer and actor known for his roles in such productions like Hee Haw, The Steve Allen Show, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

    Joanne Woodward, actress best remembered for her role in the film, The Three Faces of Eve.

    Shelley Winters, actress known for her roles in such films like, The Diary of Anne Frank, Winchester ’73, and A Place in the Sun.

    Robert Young, actor best remembered for his role in the television series, Father Knows Best.

    Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1981 – 1989)—visited as an actor

  • Film, TV and Media Connections +

    Arizona (1940)

    The Last Round-Up (1947)

    Relentless (1948)

    The Gal Who Took the West (1949)

    Winchester ‘73 (1950)

    Apache Drums (1951)

    The Last Outpost (1951)

    Apache Ambush (1955)

    A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

    Backlash (1956)

    The Bottom of the Bottle (1956)

    The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958)

    The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968)

    Young Billy Young (1969)

    What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice (1969)

    Five Savage Men (1971)

    How the West Was Won (1977)

    The New Maverick (1978)

    More Wild Wild West (1980)

    Flashpoint (1984)

    Stones for Ibarra (1988)

    Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)

    Perdita Durango (1997)

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

    The Last Blast (2006)

    Hot Bath, A Stiff Drink, an’ a Close Shave (2014)