© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Siskiyou Rancher Provides Ranch, Plays Movie Role

The Quinn Martin film company approached Siskiyou County rancher Gary Gragnani in 1977 about filming scenes for the TV movie titled “Standing Tall” on Gragnani’s Shasta Spring Ranch in Edgewood, Calif.

Gragnani said the studio was only interested at first in renting his property, horses, cattle and wagons.  Later, the studio asked Gragnani to be an extra, and he was included in many scenes.  The film starred Robert Forster as Luke Shasta, a rancher of mixed Caucasian and Native American parentage, in a battle to keep from being forced off his land by a ruthless land baron portrayed by actor Chuck Connors.

Much of the depression-era story takes place in and around Callahan, Calif., which is called Benteen, Mont., in the movie.

Viewers who pay close attention will recognize other Siskiyou County landmarks, including Lake Siskiyou, the Gillis mansion in Yreka, the Etna Rodeo Grounds, and the Siskiyou Stockyards near Yreka. 

The Fort Jones Community Hall becomes the Benteen Community Hospital in the movie, and Forest Mountain between Yreka and Fort Jones is the scene of a shoot-out in the film’s finale.

Source: Smith, David, and Amanda Hinds-Doyle. Siskiyou List: Our County On The Silver Screen. Yreka, Siskiyou Daily News, 2015. www.siskiyoudaily.com/article/20150227/news/150229701. Accessed 4 Jan. 2017;  East, Claudia. Yreka On The Silver Screen. Yreka, Yreka History, 2011. yrekahistory.blogspot.com/2011/10/yreka-on-silver-screen.html. Accessed 4 Jan. 2017.

Valerie Ing was a teenager when she hosted her first music program on the airwaves. As a student at SOU, she was JPR’s Chief Student Announcer and the first volunteer in our newsroom. She's now JPR’s Northern California Program Coordinator, hosting Siskiyou Music Hall from JPR's Redding studio in the Cascade Theatre.