A surprise arrived in the mail courtesy of a fellow Reno divorce history buff… an old metal ashtray from the Del Monte Dude and Guest Ranch in Reno. The “Del Monte” was active in the 1930s and ’40s when it catered to the Reno divorce trade. In 1947, Bill McGee stayed at the Del Monte for a week before landing the dude wrangler job on the Flying M E in Franktown. Later that same year, the Del Monte ranch house burned down, killing a divorcee who refused to evacuate naked. Today, driving through Reno on U.S. Highway 395, the Neil Road exit is the former Del Monte Lane. (Yellow Page ad circa 1947)
Posts Tagged ‘Flying M E’
Tags: Del Monte Dude & Guest Ranch, divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, Flying M E, quickie divorce, six-week divorce
Tags: divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, Flying M E, Nevada dude-divorce ranch, quickie divorce, six-week divorce
Tags: Bill McGee, divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, Emmy Wood, Flying M E, National Day of the American Cowboy, National Day of the Cowboy, six-week divorce
Tags: Bill McGee, divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, Flying M E, quickie divorce, six-week divorce
From the 1930s to the 1960s, if you wanted a quick, simple exit from marriage, Nevada was the place to go – and especially Reno. ”Divorce Seekers” (as they were called) flocked to Reno — and later Las Vegas – by the thousands, including Eastern socialites, movie stars and housewives, all seeking the “Reno cure”.
In most other states, divorce required a waiting period of a year or more and proof of adultery. But in 1931, Nevada made it simple: A six week residency at a hotel, boarding house, or exclusive divorce ranch; a list of legal grounds that required little proof; and an average of six minutes in court.
Soon after Reno was known as the “Divorce Capital of the World” and “I’m going to Reno!” became synonymous with getting a divorce.
I became fascinated with the Reno divorce era through my husband’s stories of his time from 1947 to 1950 working as the head dude wrangler on the Flying M E, an exclusive divorce ranch 20 miles south of Reno that catered to wealthy Easterners, socialites, and Hollywood celebrities. Together we co-authored a coffee table book, The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler. (Read about the book on the page, The Divorce Seekers: The Book That Inspired This Blog.)
Today, few people know about this part of Nevada history or how difficult it used to be for a woman to get out of an unhappy marriage. I hope to help preserve this history. To this end, my husband, Bill McGee, and I are currently creative consultants on an upcoming documentary RENO and The Romance of Divorce . (Click on the link to view the trailer and read the full story.)
Please send me your Nevada divorce story at email@example.com.
– Sandra McGee, Divorce Nevada Style
Tags: Bill McGee, divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, dude ranch, dude wrangler, Ed Pearce, Emmy Wood, Flying M E, KOLO-TV, quickie divorce, six-week divorce, Washoe Valley
Tags: Bill McGee, divorce in Reno, Flying M E, Leo Burnett, Marlboro Man
Tags: Beth Ward, Bill McGee, divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, dude ranch, dude wrangler, Flying M E, KNPR, Marilu Norden, Nevada Public Radio, quickie divorce
Take a listen to Tales from Reno’s Divorce Ranches... This informative interview on March 1, 2011 was aired on Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR in Las Vegas and features the following on-air guests:
- Author Bill McGee - former 1940s dude wrangler on Nevada’s Flying M E divorce ranch
- Author Marilu Norden -divorce ranch guest at Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch in the 1950s
- Beth Ward - former owner of the Whitney Guest Ranch in Reno
- Mella Harmon - Reno divorce historian Click Here To Take a Listen
Tags: Bill McGee, Bob Boze Bell, divorce in Reno, divorce seekers, dude ranch, dude wrangler, Emmy Wood, Flying M E, True West Magazine
“The Divorce Seekers – An old-time wrangler recalls Reno, the ‘city of broken vows,’ through his days at the Flying M E ranch” by William L. McGee
TRUE WEST (June 2010) features a four-page story written by former Nevada dude wrangler, Bill McGee, who gives a firsthand account of life in the post-war 1940s on the Flying M E, an exclusive divorce ranch outside of Reno catering to wealthy Easterners. As McGee puts it, “I may be the only dude wrangler ‘still above ground’ who saw the six-week Reno divorce era up close and personal.” Click here to read…
Tags: Bill McGee, Emmy Wood, Flying M E, Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT)
Incline Village, Nevada, May 15, 2010 – Bill and Sandra McGee are presented with the Adopt-A-Mile Commemorative Plaque for their sponsorship of an Adopt-a-Mile on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
The McGees dedicated their sponsored mile to Emmy Wood, the legendary Nevada divorce ranch proprietor on the famous Flying M E 20 miles south of Reno where Bill McGee worked as a dude wrangler in the post-war 1940s. The mile is the Connector Trail from Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead to Relay Peak Road. For more on the TRT Adopt-a-Mile program, visit Tahoe Rim Trail.
Tags: Bill McGee, dude ranch, Emmy Wood, Flying M E, Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT)
Mount Rose, Nevada, November 2009 — On a chilly fall morning, Bill McGee and Sandra McGee gathered with friends to dedicate the McGee’s Adopt-a-Mile on the Tahoe Rim Trail. The McGees dedicated their sponsored mile to the memory of Emmy Wood, the legendary Nevada divorce ranch proprietor on the famous Flying M E where Bill worked as a dude wrangler from 1947 to 1950. The mile is the Connector Trail from Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead to Relay Peak Road.
Bill first saw Lake Tahoe in the early 1940s while cowboying in the West. Following his discharge from the Navy after World War II, he returned to Northern Nevada and worked as a dude wrangler and deer hunting guide at the Bob Scates stables outside of Tahoe City. Then, in 1947, Bill was hired as the head dude wrangler on the Flying M E, an exclusive divorce ranch south of Reno that catered to wealthy divorce seekers who came to Nevada for a six week divorce. Bill led the ranch guests on pack trips and overnight camping trips to the Lake. In 1950, Bill left cowboying and made a successful transition into the broadcasting field. However, he always returned to Lake Tahoe – as a hiker, a skier, and a writer. In the 1980s, while living in Incline Village, Nevada, Bill was one of the early volunteers on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
The Tahoe Rim Trail Association’s Adopt-a-Mile programs make it possible for families, individuals, organizations and businesses to honor a friend or loved one while ensuring the continuing legacy of the Tahoe Rim Trail.