Historic Nevada Ranch with Cinematic Past Listed for $15 Million


In the shadow of Nevada’s capital, Carson City, the renowned Jacks Valley Ranch unfurls across 1,230 acres of history-steeped land, lush pastures, and rugged terrain – a testament to an era long passed. Etching its mark on the chronicles of American history even before Nevada claimed statehood, this 160-year-old expanse has now re-emerged on the market, bearing a princely asking price of $15 million.

For more than half a century, this legendary ranch was the proud possession of late casino magnate, John Ascuaga, and his beloved wife, Rose. Their shared love for the ranch stretched across decades, with both husband and wife passing away within a year of each other – Rose in 2020 at the age of 86, and John in 2021 at 96.

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Ascuaga’s journey from humble beginnings as a bellhop in an Idaho lodge to becoming a vaunted figure in Nevada’s hospitality industry is anything but ordinary. Sparks, a small city in Nevada, set the stage for his ascent when he took up employment at a modest eatery, the Nugget Café, and proceeded to transform it into a flourishing casino resort. The sprawling entity, recognized today as John Ascuaga’s Nugget, was sold by Ascuaga in October 2013 after 52 fervent years of operation.

Acquired by Ascuaga in 1969 after a succession of notable owners including Nevada’s seventh governor Richard Kirman, oil magnate Robert Lytle, and Fleischmann’s Yeast empire heir Max Fleischmann, Jacks Valley Ranch tells tales steeped in history and allure – from being John Wayne’s last cinematic backdrop in “The Shootist” to being a timeless symbol of the classic Western era.

Throughout his ownership, Ascuaga worked tirelessly to preserve the essence of Jacks Valley. A large portion of the land, spanning 1,169 acres, was entrusted to the Nevada Land Trust, effectively sealing it from future development, in accordance with Ascuaga’s wish for the ranch to remain a working pastoral landscape.

Presiding over a scenic vista just east of Lake Tahoe and a leisurely drive from Carson City, the ranch served as the Ascuaga family’s cherished abode. Not just a humble dwelling, the property sculpted the lives of his children, Stephen and Michonne, both of whom played instrumental roles in lending the Nugget its present-day grandeur.

The listing for Jacks Valley Ranch reveals a cluster of four residences adorning the sprawling property, with the principal home dating back to 1963. The main dwelling houses three bedrooms, two baths and two half-baths, a study, and an attached two-car garage, unfolding across a spacious 5,428 square feet. Three additional homes, accurately reflecting architectural characteristics of 1942, contain two bedrooms and a bathroom each.

Further enriching the property are five barns, 737 acres of irrigated pasture, and an impressive 4,112 acre-feet of water rights, including the entitlement to divert a portion of Jacks Valley Creek for 5.5 days within an eight-day cycle. This cyclic flow not only sustains the natural springs found spread across the property but also replenishes the water tank. Flaunting 377 acres of mixed conifer forest and an additional 111 acres of sage and bitterbrush, the Jacks Valley Ranch stands as an icon of unparalleled natural beauty and historical charm.