The Mustang Ranch was a legal brothel in Storey County, about 8-10 miles east of Reno, Nevada.
In the story Magic Carpet the main character Jennlynn Swift first worked as a prostitute in 1990 for one shift. They had a lockdown policy (nobody could leave the house unaccompanied) and required the girls to take a week off after working for three weeks. When her three weeks were up, Jennlynn headed back to Pasadena and Cal Tech. She had had been told about Bettye's Ranch while at the Mustang; on a whim she landed there and checked it out (only because it was right on her way and had a airstrip). She never went back to the Mustang.
Real World Notes:
- Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang_Ranch
- The name "Mustang Ranch" is, as of this writing (late November 2012), in use by Lance Gilman at a new brothel just down the road from the old, original Mustang Ranch. In November of 2012 he was elected as a county commissioner of Storey County. Wikipedia article: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/19/nation/la-na-nn-mustang-ranch-nevada-brothel-owner-20121119.
- Joe Conforte opened the original Mustang Bridge Ranch ~ as the first legal, licensed brothel, in Storey County, Nevada, 8-10 miles east of Reno in 1967. The name was later changed to just Mustang Ranch. The distance is different depending on what article you read, and some articles say that the nearest town was Sparks, Nevada. Some of the confusion is because there were two different Mustang Ranch sites several miles apart and at different times, both owned and operated by the Conforte family.
- Joe Conforte owned both the Mustang Ranch and an adjacent brothel, the Triangle River Ranch. The Triangle rented land from the Mustang and had a separate entrance off the highway. Unless you knew better, you'd think they were competition. Those customers that had a bad experience at one would go to the other. Joe made money either way.
- To correct a widely posted and incorrect internet rumor, yes, the IRS seized the 104-room brothel on 340 acres of land in September 1990, but they never tried to run it. They padlocked the Mustang (and the Triangle) and put the land up for auction. It was sold in November 1990.
- The Nov. 14 1990 Baltimore Sun newspaper ran an article on the tax seizure and sale: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-11-14/business/1990318051_1_conforte-tax-auction-mustang-ranch
- The Mustang Ranch was again forfeited to the federal government and padlocked on August 9th of 1999 following Conforte's convictions for tax fraud, racketeering and other crimes. Ownership of Mustang Ranch, 340 acres of land and two miles of river frontage was transferred to the BLM on February 21, 2003. Water rights were transferred to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. The BLM sold the former brothel piecemeal on eBay, requiring all items be removed from the property, then restored the property back to desert (i.e. they bulldozed the property).
- The rest of the story, from an August 2007 article from USA Today newspaper: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/topstories/2007-08-11-398857697_x.htm
- There's also a Mustang Ranch in Australia, totally unrelated to the current Mustang Ranch in Nevada. Prostitution is legal throughout the entire country of Australia.