Pioneertown: A Western Town built for Hollywood

2 minutes read

Spotlight Pioneertown, the old West city built as a Hollywood movie set. If you are curious about Western productions, this is a town to visit.

 A pinch of history

  • Pioneertown is named after Tim Spenser’s song “Out in Pioneertown,” a tune promoting the city.
  • From the 40s to the 50s, more than 50 movies and Tv shows were filmed
  • Roughly 400 people lived in Pioneertown.
  • In 2016, Paul McCartney performed in Pappy & Harriet’s restaurant.

The creation of Pioneertown

In 1946, seventeen investors, including numerous actors like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Russell Hayden, bought land in Yucca Valley and built a 188o’s themed town.

General Mercantile Store

Did you know?

The town was supposed to be named after Roy Rogers: “Rogersville.”
Downtown Mane Street

The desert landscape and the proximity to Hollywood (2 and half hour drive) and Palm Spring (Movies stars getaway) make it a perfect filming location for Westerns. The movie set includes not only storefronts but also functional businesses. The town extended with the golden age of the western and attracts many productions and tourists.

Filmed there: The Cisco Kid (195o–1956), The Gene Autry Show (195o–1955), The Cowboy and the Indians (1949), The Gambler (2o14), U2’s album The Joshua Tree back (1987), and much more.

Mane Street
Pioneertown Barn

Pioneertown today

Today, Pioneertown remains an active filming location for movies, Tv shows, music and, commercials. Also, it is a lively community with a few retail stores and the locally famous Pappy & Harriet’s restaurant.

Pioneertown Gazette

Did you know?

Hairy T. Cactus is Pioneertown’s mayor (2020)
Mayor Hairy T. Cactus

All movies set storefronts are aligned on downtown Mane Street. Stroll the sandy street to see the false-front façades and peak a look to interiors. Don’t miss the saloon, the general mercantile shop, the jail and marshal’s office, the Pioneertown Gazette, the church, and the barn.

The old West city is more active on weekends, and you may see some Old West reenactment too (check their website for a precise schedule). For a deeper West experience, you can also hike the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve (bring plenty of water and check weather conditions), enjoy a sunset and a dark night sky (limited light pollution in Pioneertown!)

Ready to visit Pioneertown?

*COVID-19 update as of October 2021*

– Please wear a mask and practice a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and others

– Please check L.A County’s health and safety protocols before your visit

Plan your visit:

  • Location: 53626 Mane St, Pioneertown, CA 92268
  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, 365 days a year.
  • Admission: Free
  • Duration: I spent 1 hour discovering it  
  • Parking: free parking lot
  • More information available at

Article based on my visit in April 2021

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a Western lover.

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