Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire

Canyon residents

Amy and Rusty Richards


OH 4155  
Narrators Amy and Rusty Richards
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date July 12, 2008
Language English
Location Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, California
Project 2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio, Video
Other Field Notes
Abstract An oral history with Amy and Rusty Richards of Modjeska Canyon, California, both residents of the east Orange County canyons since the early 1940s. This interview was conducted for the Center for Oral and Public History and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary about the Santiago fire in Modjeska Canyon in October 2007. The purpose of this interview was to gather information about the Richards' personal experiences in the natural environment and rural community of Modjeska, the near loss of their horse ranch in October 2007. The interview includes Mr. Richards' recollections of his father and grandfather stockman, their memories of childhood in the canyon; rounding up cattle; memories of canyon's first Anglo settlers; arsonist attacks on Silverado bars and church; Mr. Richards' first television show; his three years in the United States Marine Corps (1950-1953); work as firefighter in the forestry service; his work as horse trainer and rodeo cowboy; his work as stuntmen in Hollywood and with Disney; life in show business and the Western Hollywood crowd; Richards' work with Sons of the Pioneers; Rusty Richards and Republican presidents; the flood of 1969; the transformation of Orange County in the 1970s and 1980s; memories of past fires; hot shot crews and prisoners on the fire line; the Santiago fire: evacuating the horses, saving the oak trees, the fire on the ranch, fire fighting with garden hoses; the tenacity of hot spots; the generosity of friends; the spring mudslides; Rusty Richards' poem "Santiago Fire."
Video Parts 1-4 (watch online - coming soon!)

Part 1 (download.mp3Opens in new window)
Part 2 (download.mp3Opens in new window)

 This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council, visit www.calhum.org.