Ranching with Ricky Schroder

The actor talks about westerns, his favorite place in fall, and what he likes to work on
Peter Fish

Coming West:

I grew up on Staten Island, but I fell in love with the West watching movies. Stagecoach with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood films. When I filmed Lonesome Dove, I decided I needed to live in the West.

Ranches big and small:

We had a big ranch in Colorado for 15 years. There you deal with things on a large scale. Now we have a smaller ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains. We call it the Take It Easy Ranch.

What he likes to work on:

My wife and I are fixing up three little cabins, 1,200 square feet each. I'm not a finish carpenter, but I know what a place needs.

Living with wildlife:

We have cougars coming through our property. The park service is studying them, and I help them do fund-raising for that. I've gone with biologists into the field tracking cougars.

Checking in with Maria Shriver
At home with Mark Harmon
On the ranch with Anjelica Huston
At home with Isabel Allende
At the table with Traci Des Jardins
The importance of preserving land:

Ranches in the West are being bought up by people who aren't interested in raising livestock but just in developing them. I think land trusts and tax incentives to keep the land in ranching are really crucial.

His favorite project:

I got to film the first movie I directed, Black Cloud (2004), on Navajo lands. It's about a Navajo boxer. I had to convince the tribe I was going to make a movie that was accurate. They let us film in Canyon de Chelly, in Chinle, Arizona. I fell in love with the area.

His favorite place in fall:

In western Colorado, I love the beauty of aspen trees. Walking through a grove, just surrounded by shimmering leaves.

Schroder most recently starred in 24. He's currently working on The Andromeda Strain, an A&E miniseries based on the Michael Crichton novel.

Read more about the Santa Monica Mountains