Nevada Latinos and Ranching
Mexicans worked on many of Nevada’s cattle and sheep ranches during the late 1800s, some of which were owned by Latinos. One such ranch was the famous Spanish Ranch in northeastern Nevada, owned by the Altube brothers, who were Spanish Basques. They employed many Mexican vaqueros, or cowboys, and general laborers. The Spanish Ranch, which operated between 1871 and 1907, was one of the largest ranching empires ever to exist in the state of Nevada, and it contributed greatly to the development of Nevada’s ranching industry.
Pedro Alto (Pedro Altube’s nickname) was the jefe (boss). He dressed like the rich hacendado (landowner) that he was, in a large Mexican-style sombrero, with a colorful serape slung over his shoulder, and flamenco-styled leather riding boots. He chose his vaqueros carefully for their riding, roping, and shooting skills. The Altube vaqueros were among the best in the state. They had to be good to be able to tend the thousands of heads of cattle that belonged to the Spanish Ranch. With the passing of the flamboyant Pedro Altube, the Spanish Ranch was sold in 1907.