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The Lancer Hacienda


Much of the text and information, photographs and screencaps used in this article are the work of Geraldine, a Lancer fan of long standing.  We owe her grateful thanks, not only for all her hard work in researching and collating this information, but for giving us permission to utilise it here for the benefit of Lancer fanfic writers everywhere.  Thanks, Geraldine!

The first glimpse that we and the Lancer sons have of the hacienda in the pilot, is from a hillside several miles away, with the hacienda sitting in the midst of fertile meadows and paddocks below. It looks huge and imposing. And it's a real place.

The Rancho San Carlos is situated in what is now the Santa Lucia preserve in the Santa Lucia mountains, close to Monterey and Carmel. Once built to host the hunting parties of George Gordon Moore, a Canadian-born lawyer, businessman, socialite and sportsman, it now forms the central ranch club of an exclusive gated community within the Preserve's boundaries.

Moore built the 37-room hacienda in 1922, in the Spanish-Mexican style, to entertain his friends and family. To quote from the Santa Lucia Preserve website : "Moore was a Gatsbyesque character of the roaring twenties.  In the early 1920's Moore dedicated his Hacienda to hospitality; visitors all enjoyed tennis, swimming, croquet, riding and polo. On Moore's polo field, America's greatest-ever polo player, Olympian Tommy Hitchcock, trained the formidable Rancho San Carlos Cardinals which Moore sponsored. The Hacienda routine was robust; the food and drink, the best; and the coming and goings of friends, nonstop.  A full calendar of feasts, festivities and performances welcome families and friends, and as the novelist Robert Louis Stevenson found, experiences capable of life-changing experiences and unforgettable memories."

The hacienda from the approach road

By the time of the Great Depression, Moore was losing money and was forced to give up the Rancho San Carlos home and land. It was the end of an affluent and extravagant era, but he left behind a magnificent hacienda. Arthur C. Oppenheimer, of Salinas, bought the San Carlos and restored it to a cattle ranch. He maintained the property until 1990, when a group bought the largely-untouched property, intent on establishing select homes in conjunction with a large conservation preserve. It was during Oppenheimers' era that the hacienda was loaned out in 1968 for the filming of a new television series: Lancer.

The real hacienda was used for the pilot (the High Riders) and continued to appear in stock 'external' shots and in the show's opening credits. Once the pilot was accepted, a set was built for the series. The set designers worked from photos of the original hacienda to duplicate every detail of the great room shown in the pilot - though it was downsized for the show. The steer's head and lances over the fireplace were replaced with a plaster shield with the Lancer 'L' on it, but the bookcase and everything in it, including the pheasants were duplicated. Also reproduced for the show were the model ship, large desk and other furniture including the famous dining room chairs. The real hacienda and the set version of the Lancer house have little in common beyond the great room. The Lancers' front door, the arched verandah that leads out to the front drive don't exist in the real thing, for example.

(For more information about the Hacienda now, see The Santa Lucia Preserve and Photos and video of the hacienda today )

Views of the Hacienda

The Hacienda from a distance

Front View

The front entry of the "Lancer hacienda" can be seen briefly in the pilot when the brothers arrive in a buggy. These photos show the entryway, a covered portico with two grand arches. Once you enter the front door you walk straight through the foyer and the hall leads you back under the tower. A curved staircase to the upper floor is to your left. Take a slight left down that hall and step down into the great room. To the left, at the back, is the dining room and beyond that the kitchen.

Side View
Rear View
The big tree in the background is the one that shelters a wounded Johnny in the pilot
The oval dining room juts out of the centre
of the house. Kitchen is at the right


How the external areas were used in filming
This aerial photograph of Rancho San Carlos has been annotated by Geraldine to highlight elements of particular relevance to the show, particularly to the High Riders (the pilot episode - marked as HR in her annotations). Click on the image to see a larger version:

The dining room juts out rather than being part of the great room (as seen in the show) and the three arched French doors are not really at the front of the hacienda - but look out over a courtyard at the side. The front of this hacienda in this aerial photo is on the far side of the tower.


In the pilot the arched French doors lead out to a patio area (left), the men go around the corner and up exterior stairs to a small balcony to take shots at the incoming 'land pirates'. They are positioned over the large arched window that is right behind Murdoch's desk. This still from the title sequence (right) shows the exterior stairs and balcony, and the arched window.
Two more exterior shots:
On the left, Johnny arrives at the main portico on Barranca. Behind him you can just see the barn.

On the right, an unfortunate vaquero is shot from the roof by Pardee's men in the final battle, with a close up of the balcony in the photo above.

In this older photograph above, you can see the firebell tower used in the pilot when Day Pardee and his men set the fields alight just as Murdoch is meeting his sons for the first time in 20 years. The building - perhaps a storehouse, perhaps one of the houses used for married vaqeuros - is overshadowed by a huge oak tree - the one behind which Scott and Johnny shelter in the final fight sequence. You can see the building behind the pair in these publicity stills. Click on the image to see a larger version.


The Interior
The pilot was filmed on location at the Hacienda, but subsequent episodes were studio filmed using a set recreated from photographs of the Moore Hacienda interiors, but scaled down. This means that there were changes to the interior in subsequent episodes, that the eagle-eyed fan will not have missed.

One of the most obvious changes is that the original dining room, glimpsed in the pilot, is never used, but the set designers 'moved' the table and chairs out into the great room. This makes the great room the 'heart of the house', where the family ate, read and talked. The other big change is that the steer's head and crossed lancers above the fireplace become a plaster copy of the Lancer brand, the ornate letter L in its circle.

The 'real' hacienda great room interior, as used in the pilot

The entry to the great room, down three steps
The dining room door is visible in the top right, beyond James Stacy.
The alcove. The fireplace is on the left of this.
Looking into the alcove and fireplace.
Andrew Duggan (Murdoch), Wayne Maunder (Scott) and Elizabeth Baur (Teresa) relaxing between scenes.
The fireplace complete with crossed lances and a mounted steer's head.

The view from the right hand side of the alcove, back into the room. Complete with set handyman at the French windows!

A close up of the photo on the left, showing Johnny's hat on the table behind the sofa, along with the essential drinks tray.

Note the steps, visible in the background, leading up to the foyer and the Lancers' front door. In actuality the front door of the real hacienda is way along the hall to the left

The version built on set for the rest of the series

Copies of the real dining furniture moved out into the great room and positioned in front of the bookcases. The bookcases, down to the stuffed pheasants and ship, have been faithfully copied.
The fireplace alcove with the Lancer L decoration.

Geraldine produced two composite pictures from screen caps of episodes where the great room can be seen with particular clarity. Click on the images below to see the larger versions and get a really good sense of the room's layout.


In this second image, you can see how the set closely resembles the original house, right down to the pheasants up on the top of the bookcase, the overstuffed couches and the paneling on either side of the fireplace. And, of course, the chairs were copied. The doorway, back to the left, leads through a little room to the kitchen. Extreme right, just past the map on the wall, you can barely see the edge of the doorway Scott came through in Chase a Wild Horse - originally the dining room in the real hacienda.


Furniture and Fittings

The chairs used in the dining set are copies of the Moore Hacienda originals. The dining room chairs featured in Lancer were upholstered in moquette, a type of cut wool velvet, decorated with a palm tree motif. This motif was not an 1800s style, but a 1920s fashion, most likely influenced by the Egyptian style that was all the craze at the time Moore built the Hacienda. Other common upholstery fabric designs were floral or historic patterns of cut and uncut looped pile. The chairs made for Lancer set were later used in the films Young Frankenstein and The Omen 2.

The chairs and patterns can be clearly seen in the picture of the dining area of the set version of the hacienda's interior (above).





Geraldine has established that the painting in the great room is a copy of Goya's Woman Reading A Letter.

Between two of the three arched windows at the end of the great room is a large oil painting of a woman on a windy day, holding an umbrella or sunshade over her head.


"A Woman Reading a Letter" was painted by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes in oil around 1814. Goya (1746 - 1828) was a Spanish painter and printmaker who is regarded as the most important Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

This painting of a small house, seen in Scott's bedroom in a scene from the pilot episode, appears in several different locations as the set designers moved it around to 'dress' different episodes. Although the painting survived to appear on other episodes, you'll be glad to know those plaid pants didn't!

To Geraldine's Hacienda plans