Theresa Iker interviews authors Bill and Sandra McGee for a thesis on the Reno divorce industry. (June 2013)
Theresa Iker’s interest in the Reno divorce era started when she read a VOGUE Magazine story about getting a divorce at the Donner Trail Guest Ranch outside of Reno, Nevada (“On Her Own” by Lily Tuck, VOGUE, June 2012). Like others of her generation, Theresa, a student at Scripps College in Southern California, was unfamiliar with this part of history and decided it would be a good subject for a thesis. What was different about getting a divorce back then? Why did women go to Reno for a divorce? Theresa applied for and received a fellowship to conduct a research study about individual experiences within the Reno divorce industry from 1915-1970.
There aren’t many individuals around today who experienced the Reno divorce era firsthand. However, Internet research led Theresa to Bill McGee and his book, The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler.
As Bill likes to say, “I may be the only former Nevada dude wrangler — still above ground — who lived through the era.”
Bill McGee worked as a dude wrangler from 1947-1950 on the legendary Flying M E divorce ranch 20 miles south of Reno. Bill and his co-author/wife, Sandra, compiled his memoirs along with other personal divorce ranch stories and produced what is today regarded as the only complete book on the Reno divorce ranch era.
We wish Theresa the very best in her work to preserve this part of Nevada history few people know about today!
–Bill and Sandra McGee