"Rancho" is the colloquial Southwestern term for both ranch–style houses and ranch salad dressing. Many single words offer clear signals—stop, go, open, closed—but Ruscha has made a career of painting and drawing words with more ambiguous associations. This unusual word is made even more cryptic by its representation in trompe l'oeil letters that simulate liquid. The work belongs to a group of canvases Ruscha made during what he described as his "romance with liquids."
Ruscha has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1956, when he moved there from Oklahoma. With its fiery sunset colors, the painting seems connected to L.A., a city filled with larger–than–life words, from illuminated gas station logos and movie marquees to the iconic Hollywood sign.