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Exploring One Of Nevada's Oldest Ranches Through Photography

When the cattle gets close to the corral, the cowboys move the herd the rest of the way.
Jeff Scheid

When the cattle gets close to the corral, the cowboys move the herd the rest of the way.

Sometimes, amidst the flashing lights of the Las Vegas Strip, it's hard to remember one of Nevada's first industries: ranching.

The famous Fallini Ranch – on the edge of Great Basin – has had generations of farmhands tending cattle over an area around one thousand square miles in size.

Jeff Scheid knows the area well.

He's documented the Fallinis through a series of photographs that have now made their way to the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas.

Scheid wanted to photograph the family while they branded cattle in the spring. 

"They did it the old-style way," he said, "Everything they did is what the great-grandfathers of all the generations past did it."

It took some time for Scheid to persuade the family to allow him to photograph them, but his background as former Montana ranch hand while growing up helped.

"I think being a westerner, I think there's a trust," he said. "There's a bond being a westerner."

The ranch is 30 miles north of Rachel along Nevada State Route 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway.

"That's what I love about Nevada -- there's a lot of fascination, a lot of dreaming out there, a lot of imagining what it was like," Scheid said.

While a lifestyle that many people would consider old-fashioned is still a big part of life in rural Nevada, what the future holds for ranching in Nevada and for the family is unknown because of how much things are changing in the world around them.

"It's kind of a dying business," Scheid said. "The family doesn't know if that ranch is going to go another generation or more."

But for now, Sue and Joe -- 70 and 74 years old, respectively -- are working on the ranch, passing on the traditions of ranching in Nevada to their family. Scheid captured Sue's ability to do the work of people half her age -- under sometimes extreme conditions -- in many of his photographs.

"There are some strong, strong women and men out in rural Nevada," he said. "It really gives me hope that I can be that strong when I get older."

Scheid has been photographing Las Vegas and Nevada for 35 years. He worked for many years at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but now his goal is to capture what he can of the Silver State.

"The next phase of my life now, I want to document Nevada," he said. 





(Editor's note: This interview originally aired October 2017)

Jeff Scheid, photographer

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Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)