Paradise movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Paradise filmed?

About Paradise

The popular TV series Paradise, also known as Guns of Paradise, was filmed in the United States, running from 1988 through 1990 on CBS. Produced by David Jacobs and Robert Porter, Paradise follows the day-to-day life of the fictional gunslinger Ethan Allen Cord (spoiler alert!). Ethan’s sister passed away, leaving him with her four children to care for in her absence.

This beloved TV show begins in 1890. The main actor in Paradise is Lee Horsley who plays the lead character Cord. His sister Lucy’s children are left in his car when Lucy, a singer, dies, and she is unable to find anyone suitable to continue caring for them. Cord quickly identifies that his occupation is incompatible with raising children and decides to try life on the farm instead. He rents a farm in Paradise from Amelia Lawson who also holds the deed for the town’s bank.

Cord makes every effort to adopt a peaceful lifestyle, but his past continues to follow him. He is often asked to defend members of the community from those who try to take advantage of them or harm them.

A close companion to John Taylor, the town’s Native American medicine man, John frequently talked with Cord, giving her powerful insights and advice regarding human nature.

The first Paradise film shoot scene opens with Cord employed as a mercenary for a mine. He is watching over a key witness who is involved in a local trial. During this time, Lucy is informed she is suffering from a fatal sickness that will soon claim her life. She sends her four children to Cord on the train.

Cord has kept his line of work a mystery from his family. Lucy believes he owns a store and some property since the one picture she has of him shows him standing outside a hardware store. His nieces and nephews discover their uncle’s occupation when they first meet him…as he is lying in bed trying to heal from gunshots that nearly claimed his life.

With the assistance of John Taylor and Amelia Lawson, Cord leaves his ramshackle home and moves to a little cabin in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Though he makes every effort to leave his gunfighting days behind, it proves a very difficult task for him.

Paradise consists of three seasons in total. The series was much beloved, earning rave reviews from both critics and fans alike. Throughout the course of its run, Paradise earned several Emmy nominations.

This classic Western series takes its name from the real-life California town in which each episode occurs: Paradise. In its third season, the series was renamed Guns of Paradise.

Interestingly, Guns of Paradise was pitted against the reigning titan of TV in the 1980s: ABC’s iconic nighttime soap opera Dynasty. True to the network’s hopes, Guns of Paradise successfully held its position and viewers.

City Locations

Sonora, California

Location Types

American, House, NatureScapes, Ranch, Retail

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Ranch Style

Paradise Locations

Nearly all of the filming locations for Paradise are found in Sonora, California. Other areas selected for Paradise film sets include Columbia, Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Walt Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios, and Los Angeles.

If you count 80s Westerns among your absolute fave TV series, a trip to visit the filming locations for Paradise is not to be missed. You’re sure to have a great time!

Fun Fact:

Lee Horsley was the ideal actor to play Cord given his background includes charity celebrity rodeos and advanced horsemanship.

Claire tries to convince Cord to give up gunfighting scene in Paradise

4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California

This Paradise scene opens on Cord sitting at the kitchen table, cleaning his gun. His niece comes into the kitchen, and this conversation takes place with all of Cord’s nephews also eventually joining the discussion.

Claire: You’re going after those men, aren’t you?

Cord: Uh-huh.

Ben {Cord’s nephew}: Good! Get ‘em, Uncle Ethan! Kill ‘em!

Claire: Ben! Ben: They shot Marshall Walker!

Claire: That doesn’t mean that Uncle Ethan has to fight them Let’s just leave here. Move away. We can ranch anywhere.

Joseph: We can’t even ranch here.

Claire: We’re learning. We’re getting better every day.

Ben: I don’t wanna move.

Claire: Don’t you see? We have to. He might be killed.

Joseph: He won’t be killed. He’s the best!

Cord: I’m not the best, Ben. Not at anything that matters. I can’t even hang up my guns.

There are several public transit options that will take you to this Paradise film location. You can take bus lines 222, 501, or PINK or pick up the subway’s B Line (Red.)

Amelia and Cord survey the decimated mine and town scene in Paradise

West Escondido Canyon Rd., Agua Dulce, California

Amelia and Cord stand in the streets, surveying the damage surrounding them. The town in shambles, and the mine is now no longer operable. The two discuss the state of affairs in the city.

Cord: Just look at it. One week, and it’s just like the mine was never here. I’ve seen it a hundred times before. First the mine and then the town.

Amelia: It’s because people leave. If they stay, it won’t happen.

Cord: They can’t stay if they’ve got nothing to stay for. Face it, Amelia, Paradise is a mining town. Without the mine, there’s no reason for it.

The Acton and Agua Dulce Shuttle will take you directly to the street where this well-known scene was filmed.

Amelia tells Cord she is going to get her belongings from her soon to be ex-husband scene in Paradise

19802 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall, California

In this episode of Paradise, Cord meets Amelia on the steps of the bank. He dismounts from his horse and hands her a leather satchel. This conversation ensues between the two.

Cord: Hey, you forgetting something! {He hands her the satchel.} What’s all in there?

Amelia: It’s not the money. He’s stolen the divorce papers as well. Go on.

Cord: Going somewhere?

Amelia: San Francisco. I’m going to hire a lawyer and get the bank and the papers back.

Cord: Good idea.

To visit the site of this Paradise production location, bus lines 12 and 757 are your best public transportation options. These routes will take you to Placerita Canyon Road where you can travel the remaining distance to this film set on foot.

Cord pays a visit to Charlie scene in Paradise

Johnson Livery Stable, Columbia, California

Cord stops by Charlie’s hotel. He has heard that Matthew Grady, a Texas ranger, has come to town and suspects he is there to arrest him and force him to return to Texas where he will stand trial. He rightly assumes that should he return to Texas that it is unlikely he will receive a fair trial. He and Charlie share this discussion in one of the best scenes in Paradise.

Cord: Noticed that you have a visitor.

Charlie: Visitor?

Cord: Don’t get yourself worked up, Charlie. I know who Matthew Grady is. I need to know why he’s here.

Charlie: Ethan, he’s just over here giving me a little courtesy call, and while he was here, he just happened to mention the fact he’s a Texas ranger.

Cord: I’m in a hurry, Charlie.

Charlie: Ethan, all I know is he’s down here on official business. That’s all I know.

Cord: Is he here for me? Take me back to Texas?

Charlie: Ethan, I can’t talk about that.

Cord: Then don’t.

Charlie: Ethan, all I know is he’s down here to take you back to Texas to stand trial. And he told me he’d try to take you back alive. That’s the truth.

Though it is difficult to pinpoint the precise spot where this Paradise film scene was shot in Columbia, you will easily recognize much of the landscape as a lot of footage was captured here in various different episodes. To reach Columbia by public transit, you can take any of the following bus lines: 210, 344, 40, 6, or 8.

Amelia leaves Paradise scene in Paradise

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park - 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Rd., Agua Dulce, California

In one of the final scenes in the series, Amelia awakens Cord to tell him of her plans to leave Paradise. Cord is hurt and groggy but still lucid when she rouses him from his sleep. The two share this dialogue.

Amelia: Ethan, are you listening? Ethan, I’m leaving.

Cord: Where are you going? I’ll be alright.

Amelia: No, honey. I’m leaving Paradise.

Cord: You’re leaving me?

Amelia: I can’t do it anymore. I can’t stay.

Cord: Why?

Amelia: Last night, in the hotel room, I lived out my worst nightmare. You were dead, and I was raising your sisters’ four children. My life didn’t matter anymore because without you, my life was just empty.

Cord: But I didn’t die.

Amelia: Not this time. But I can’t go through that again, and I know that if I stay, I’m gonna have to one day.

She tells Cord she loves him, and he tells her that he will not allow her to leave. She insists that he cannot stop her. He asks her for one final thing before she leaves to tell him one thing: if she will return. She turns away from his gaze, picks up her bags, and descends the staircase of the house to leave Paradise for good. After saying goodbye to the children, she enters her carriage and departs with the children watching her carriage ride away.

The best way to reach Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, the site of many of the best action scenes in Paradise, is via this shuttle service: Acton and Agua Dulce Shuttle.

Cord admits he misses Amelia scene in Paradise

Sonora, California, USA

Cord meets with John Taylor on the porch swing out front of the home he once shared with Amelia and the children. She is gone now, and he laments that he is unhappy with his life. He and John Taylor share these words with each other.

Taylor: You’re needed here, Ethan.

Cord: For what? Take care of sick birds? Keep an eye on wayward dancehall girls and shifty gamblers? Police school children and wet nurse Tiny? I don’t think so.

Taylor: You’re tired, Ethan.

Cord: I can’t even rest. Can’t even go home to the children I’m supposed to be raising.

Taylor: They understand. They understand a lot more than you think. So do I. It’s a family house, Ethan. It needs lights, voices, laughter, fire in the fireplace, and dinner cooking on the stove. Good night, Ethan.

Cord: John Taylor, I miss her.

Taylor: Amelia will be back.

Cord: How do you know?

Taylor: I’m old; I’m wise.

With these final words, John Taylor exits the scene with a smile.

This particular Paradise film set is now a private home that is indistinguishable from other residences in the area. Still, you can visit Sonora and walk the downtown core and residential areas, imagining each of your favorite scenes that were shot on these very roads only a few short decades ago. To reach Sonora, take the public bus line BROWN.

Conclusion

Paradise is a much beloved classic American Western TV series. With incredible scenery from some of the most beautiful natural spaces and recreational areas in Sonora, Los Angeles, and Columbia, the stage is perfectly set for a romantic drama from the 1890s. Are you a true lover of classic TV series? Why not take some time to visit the Paradise filming locations? You’re sure to have an amazing time!