Our History

History at Southfork began in 1978 when Lorimar Productions chose the North Texas showplace as the site for the CBS TV series Dallas.

Our Origins

Our Origins

In 1970, Joe Duncan built a 6,000-square-foot mansion on a 200-acre property for his family. Then in 1978, Lorimar Productions began filming Dallas. They wanted to film this new show for CBS-TV on location in North Texas, and they knew right away that this beautiful mansion built by Joe Duncan was the place to do it.

Family Home to the Ewing Mansion

Family Home to the Ewing Mansion

Exterior shots were filmed at the property, and the Duncan family still lived on-site in the early years. Although the Lorimar Production studio had built an entire mock-up of the inside of the ranch, they continued to film the exterior shots at the property through 1989. After 1989, Dallas was filmed entirely in the studio. However, the reunion movies, J.R. Returns and War of the Ewings, and the documentary Return to Southfork came back to the ranch for filming.

From Ewing Mansion To Southfork Ranch

From Ewing Mansion to Southfork Ranch

Throughout the unprecedented success of Dallas, the Duncan family started to receive requests to hold private parties and special events at the ranch. They set up a tent and hosted events outside while still living there. As the demands increased, the family found it difficult to continue living in what was quickly becoming the leading tourist destination in the Dallas metropolitan area. In 1985, the family moved away, and Southfork Ranch became solely a tourist and filming property.

The Dallas TV Series

Never envisioned to be the winner it became, Dallas was initially scripted as a non-continuing five-part drama. Airing for the first time on April 2, 1978, it ran for five consecutive Sunday nights. Ratings climbed weekly. It ranked in the top ten of the week's most-watched shows by the fifth episode.

Based on these impressive numbers, CBS approved thirteen additional scripts and "Season One" officially began. The success of Dallas continued, with the show airing for 13 seasons until May 1991. By this time, the series had included 356 episodes, had become the most-watched series in the world and had spawned a successful spin-off series in Knots Landing.

In 1995 and 1997, Dallas original cast members, including Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, and Patrick Duffy, returned to Southfork to film two reunion movies. The first reunion movie, JR Returns, aired in 1996, and the reunion sequel, The War of the Ewings, aired in 1998.

In the summer of 2012, Dallas again returned to Southfork Ranch for TNT's reincarnation of the series, bringing back both original cast members and new faces. The show aired for three successful seasons.

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