The Intimate Story of a Nevada Divorce Ranch Wrangler
“At the age of twenty-two, surrounded by all those beautiful and wealthy women,
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Those were some of the best years of my life.”
– Bill McGee, Nevada Divorce Ranch Wrangler
“The ‘bible’ of Reno divorce ranch lore.”
– Judd Pillot, writer/producer
“The images – with their smoky, black-and-white, retro allure – are what brought the time and place alive for me so I could bring my characters to life in my novel … This book is a treasure if only for the photos alone.”
– Deb Caletti, bestselling author of The Secrets She Keeps, a divorce ranch novel
“Best book yet about Nevada’s famous dude-divorce ranch era.”
– Eric Moody, Nevada Historical Society, Reno
Today no one needs to get away to divorce, they just divorce. But “splittin’ blankets” wasn’t always so easy. In most states, you had to wait a year or more and the only ground allowed was adultery.
Or you could go to Reno!
If you had the money and the need for privacy, you stayed on a dude ranch outside of town. The media called these dude ranches divorce ranches and the guests who stayed on them divorce seekers. The names stuck and became part of the Reno divorce lingo.
From 1947 to 1949, Montana cowboy Bill McGee was the head dude wrangler on the exclusive Flying M.E. divorce ranch twenty miles south of Reno. Dubbed “a bit of the Ritz dropped down in Nevada,” the clientele was strictly upscale. McGee entertained Easterners and socialites with names like Astor and du Pont, and Hollywood movie stars Ava Gardner and Clark Gable. By day, he took them on trail rides. By night, he escorted them to the saloons of Virginia City.
Bill tells about the changing cast of characters that came and went every six weeks to take “The Cure”.
His story is true… only some names have been changed to protect The Divorce Seekers.
444 pp, 500 photographs and illustrations
Glossary, Notes, Appendices, Bibliography, Index
Hardcover, 8.5″ x 11″, $35.00
BMC Publications (2004)
Coming soon in Paperback and Ebook .
Meet Nevada Divorce Ranch Wrangler Bill McGee