The 138-acre Binion Ranch on Wilson Road off Highway 160 in Pahrump holds a true-life Wild West story that involves the murder of a notorious casino magnate, a vault allegedly loaded with silver, attempted burglary and a number of suspicious fires.
It’s been the subject of Dateline documentaries and local lore long since the death of its former owner, Ted Binion, in 1998.
Now, the ranch has sold in a $1.91-million deal to a Henderson company. Cheryl Kypreos, a broker salesperson for Mackk LLC, which purchased it on March 31, says plans for the ranch are still forthcoming.
Since the ranch was developed in 1959, the property has been sold a few times.
The Horseshoe Club Operating Co. sold the land to Lonni Ted Binion, the son of Benny Binion and owner of Binion’s Horseshoe Casino — a longtime staple on Fremont Street in Las Vegas — for $1.6 million on Feb. 23, 1998. It would be roughly $2 million today as adjusted for inflation.
Ted Binion died just seven months after purchasing the ranch. His partner, Sandy Murphy, who lived with him for three years in Las Vegas, had a secret affair with his friend Rick Tabish, according to court documents, interviews and testimony revealed after Binion’s death.
Two days after the death of Ted Binion on Sept. 19, 1998, Tabish drove to Pahrump to the ranch and broke into the ranch to remove several million dollars worth of silver from a vault Tabish built on the ranch. Tabish was caught by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and was arrested.
Originally, Ted Binion’s death was ruled an overdose from heroin, but after further investigation, the death was ruled a homicide. Murphy and Tabish were ultimately arrested in connection to the homicide and later charged with Binion’s murder.
While Tabish was in prison, the Pahrump ranch that had been the site of infamous outlaw activity, sold on Nov. 9, 2016, for $1 million to Ralph L. and Betty L. McKnight. The sale came after Nye County officials had considered buying the property for $1.75 million in July 2015. Commissioners ultimately rejected any deal to acquire it.
Suspicious fires ravage ranch
Two fires have destroyed most of what was built on the property. On Sept. 14, 2019 at least two structures were destroyed in a fire on the ranch. Pahrump Valley Fire & Rescue Services Chief Scott Lewis said one of the structures that suffered heavy damage then was once a sprawling horse stable on the property.
A second fire on Feb. 9, 2022 destroyed a structure that was used for storage. The structure was reportedly connected to an underground tunnel. Lewis has described both fires as suspicious.