White Stallion Ranch History
The True Family Celebrated their 50th Anniversary in September of 2015
Fifty years of mindful stewardship of the land and exceptional guest service brings the third generation of the True family to the forefront. Joining the team is Russell’s son Steven and his wife Alice. In keeping with family tradition, you’ll see them all over the ranch, from wrangling and managing staff to serving breakfast cookouts and grilling your steak for dinner. When you visit the ranch, you’ll find you really are a guest in their home.
White Stallion Ranch was originally built in the 1900’s and began as a cattle ranch. The original property was constructed of Mexican adobe brick made of mud and straw. During the renovation, wire and horseshoes were found in the walls. A small area of the original adobe is on display in the dining room, the original building on the ranch.
Homesteaded by David Young in 1936 – 1939, Young became the first deeded owner of the property. Herbert and Vine Bruning purchased the ranch in 1939 to ranch cattle, chickens and turkeys. They changed the name to CB Bar Ranch and it was once home to 30,000 birds. In 1945, Max Zimmerman (a Chicago liquor store owner) bought the ranch and moved West to become part of the 100 strong guest ranch industry in Tucson. Max named the ranch the MZ Bar Ranch and constructed six buildings complete with kitchenettes for guests. These buildings are still standing but several renovations later they no longer resemble the original guest room interiors.
In 1949, Mary Varner purchased the property, continuing to operate it as a Guest Ranch, she also offered long-term rentals to the nearby Marana Army Airfield. 1959 was the year Brew and Marge Towne, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts fulfilled their dream of owning a Guest Ranch. They re-named the ranch White Stallion, even though they wanted to name it The Black Stallion. They quickly realized that “BS Ranch” sported a negative connotation and White Stallion has stood the test of time.
In 1965, Allen and Cynthia True came from Colorado to make the ranch their home, with Russell, just five years old and Michael still in a crib.
The ranch consisted of 17 rooms, 17 horses and 200 acres. The number of Guest Ranches left in the area had dropped to about 30, most were casualties of Tucson’s Urban Sprawl. With an eye toward the future, Allen and Cynthia began purchasing adjacent land as it became available, increasing the ranch to 3,000 acres. Today, the ranch offers 43 rooms and a 5 bedroom Hacienda as guest accommodations.
While maintaining the traditions of the West with many of the original buildings still in use, Russell and Michael have added sunken tennis courts, a movie theater, a new pool and hot tub area with a serenity patio, lighted sport courts a spa area and fitness center. They have established one of the largest privately owned herds of horses in Arizona and a large herd of cattle.
The rest, as they say – is history, today you’ll meet the third generation of Trues – working side by side with their sleeves rolled up, serving guests in the family tradition.
White Stallion Ranch Movie History
Since the early days as a backdrop in Western feature films and later, as the location for the television series High Chaparral (1968-72) White Stallion Ranch has consistently attracted the attention of Hollywood Producers.
Here’s a list of films shot on location in chronological order:
Arizona – 1939 William Holden and Jean Arthur
Relentless – 1948 Robert Young
The Last Round Up – 1948 Gene Autry
The Gal Who Took the West – 1949 Yvonne DeCarlo
Winchester 73 – 1950 Jimmy Stewart
Apache Drums – 1951 Stephen McNally and Coleen Gray
The Last Outpost (cavalry charge scene) 1951 Ronald Reagan
A Kiss before Dying – 1955 Robert Wagner and Joann Woodward
Apache Ambush – 1955 Bill Williams
Backlash – 1956 Richard Widmark and Donna Reed
The Bottom of the Bottle – 1956 Joseph Cotton and Van Johnson
The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold – 1956 Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels
The Mini-Skirt Mob – 1968 Jeremy Slate, Diane McBain
Young Billy Young – 1969 Robert Mitchum, Angie Dickerson and Robert Walker Jr.
What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice – 1969 Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon
Five Savage Men – 1971 Henry Silva and Michelle Carey
How the West Was Won – 1977 James Arness TV Mini Series
Perdita Durango – 1977 Rosie Perez, European film
The New Maverick – 1978 James Garner TV movie
Wild, Wild West Once More – 1980 Robert Conrad and Jonathan Winters
Flashpoint -1984 Kris Kristofferson
Stones for Ibarra – 1988 Glenn Close and Keith Carradine TV movie
Geronimo – 1993 director Robert Young, writer J.T. Allen
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind – 2002 George Clooney and Sam Rockwell
The Last Blast – 2006 Heinz Hoenig
Hot Bath and A Stiff Drink and A Close Shave – 2014 Jeffrey Patterson, Frankie Nunez and Alison Eastwood
White Stallion Ranch Going Solar
Russell attended the State of the City Address for Oro Valley as a board member for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2008.
Solar Path was there with a Solar display, and they offerred the opportunity for the utility sponsored, government funded solar program. After much internal discussion, the Ranch decided that based on the economic uncertainty of the times, they would not join the program.
Subsequently the program became fully subscribed and the opportunity was gone. However, because of the severity and length of the economic decline, several companies dropped out and Solar Path came to us again. An opening was available, so we opted in, creating the largest private solar farm in the Tucson area.
On January the 3rd (2011) construction began and on Tuesday the 22nd of March the first solar panels began to operate.
We have three separate sites where the electricity comes from solar panels into the meters for the ranch; the well, staff area and our main lodge buildings plus west side rooms.
This is the largest amount of solar power that we are allowed to install based on the program.
When last checked, the meter for the main lodge had delivered 5,360 KWH, bought 104 KWH and sold back 7 KWH. The system is designed to power 35% to 40% of the electricity for the ranch, which we find a very exciting prospect indeed.