Image: Lela Murray (foreground), Joe Louis (center) and the Louis entourage in 1939 from http://mojavehistory.com/murray7.html .
“Murray’s Ranch, a guest ranch in Apple Valley, California, was unique in that it was owned by and catered primarily to African Americans, and because it served as the set for a number of ‘all-black cast’ western films. The 40-acre ranch on the edge of the Mojave Desert was purchased by Nolie B. and Lela Murray in 1922 for $100…
“By the late 1930s a number of films were shot on location at Murray’s Dude Ranch including…The Bronze Buckaroo (1939), and Harlem Rides the Range (1939). Aside from Joe Louis, who returned to the ranch on several occasions, and Herb Jeffries, who made films there, other celebrity guests included Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Hattie McDaniel, Nina Mae McKinney, and Lena Horne.”
Excerpts from http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/murray-s-dude-ranch-apple-valley-california-1922-1960 . Click on the link to learn more.
“In March of 1939, there was an article in the local paper stating that Joe Louis had shipped his custom-built Cadillac to the ranch. Then came the announcement that Louis and his entourage, which included his trainer, dietitian, secretary and bodyguard, planned to take over the ranch for a period of two weeks to train for an upcoming bout with Jack Roper.”
Excerpt from http://mojavehistory.com/murray7.html .