Mustang brothel moving to Wild Horse Ranch Canyon

Reno developer Lance Gilman is rounding up the Mustang Ranch brothel buildings and herding them five miles east to his Wild Horse Canyon Ranch & Spa.

Gilman purchased the Mustang Brothel, its logo and name from the Bureau of Land Management in October for $145,100.

The purchase included a watch tower and the original 45-room pink stucco building, which is being divided for the move.

"I've graded a site, and I want to set the buildings on a concrete slab," Gilman said. "I want to a do historical restoration, but I won't be making any decisions until I get all buildings moved. I don't know if I will enlarge Wild Horse, or build a new Mustang."

The first section was transferred over the weekend," Gilman said. "I'm expecting to have the majority out by next weekend."

Wild Horse is on more than 31 acres near the Truckee River in north Storey County.

Susan Austin, manager of Wild Horse, said many Storey County residents have said they want the Mustang to stay in Storey County, and plans for a Mustang Ranch museum are also being considered.

"Keeping the Mustang in Storey County is very important," she said. "The brothel is historically significant, the first legal brothel in the state."

Prostitution in Nevada was not legalized until 1970, but Joe Conforte, the first owner of the Mustang, slipped around the law in a three-county area near Wadsworth, operating his first Nevada sex-for-sale operation in the Triangle River Ranch in mobile homes.

By staying mobile, he could move to Lyon County when he got into trouble in Storey, then pick up and move into Washoe, if necessary.

Conforte bought and operated the Mustang Ranch in 1967. Life became a little less erratic for his customers after a 1970 vote by the Storey County Commission created Ordinance No. 38, legalizing prostitution.

The property was seized by the Internal Revenue Service in August 1999. Charged with income tax evasion, Conforte is now a fugitive in South America.

The U.S. Treasury Department transferred the property to the Bureau of Land Management. The land could be used in a number of ways, including public recreation and management of periodic flooding on the Truckee.

Contact Susie Vasquez at or 881-1212.


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