Jeff Arnold’s West

The blog of a Western fan, for other Western fans

Buy your own Western town


Be a crooked saloon owner or mayor – for real


The Guardian in Britain reports that a Wild West town is for sale if you want it, and a snip at only $11.6m. The only slight snag is that it’s in New Zealand.


Mellonsfolly Ranch, established 2006, is said to be “a meticulous reproduction of an 1860s Wyoming frontier town”, though it looks dangerously close to a cheesy toytown in the photo. You might have to dirty it up a bit.



The 10-building vaguely Old West-style “Main Street” is in the North Island’s Central Plateau area, better known for its ski slopes, and features the Lucky Strike saloon, a courthouse in which you could install a hanging judge (though it might be tricky to carry out the sentence in New Zealand), a bank you could rob, a sheriff’s office, and accommodation for 22 people.


But the new town boss might not only be drawn by a love of all things Western: purchasing the property would allow an owner from abroad to get round a ban on foreigners buying homes in the country.


That’s because it is also a business – it is rented out for accommodation and functions, and features a 450-hive manuka honey business – and constitutes more than a $10m investment in New Zealand. So it’d be a question of Howdy, pardner.


But you won’t be able to visit the place in person before purchasing it: due to strict border controls, only New Zealanders, their families, and certain essential workers are allowed to enter the country.


The property is currently owned by a local auto parts manufacturer, who bought it in 2012 from a friend in a handshake deal.



Interest in the ‘town’ has apparently come mostly from the United States and Hong Kong.


So there you go. You could be one of those ruthless types that owns the whole town. Or appoint yourself marshal.



5 Responses

  1. I can just see myself as a crooked town boss in a shiny suit. I would hire Lee van Cleef as my crooked sheriff and Katy Jurado would run the saloon. Sigh. Happy days

    1. I think I'd put Lyle Bettger in as slimy saloon boss, with Lee Van Cleef and Leo Gordon as his henchmen. Maybe Ray Teal as crooked sheriff and Edgar Buchanan as rascally judge. John McIntire will be the doc for sure.

    2. That sounds great. I expect it would be fine until Audie Murphy or Randolph Scott rode into town.

  2. Jeff, I'm a little financially challenged at the moment, so I'll have to pass on the buying of Mellonsfolly Ranch town. I do like the idea of an "Old West" in New Zealand. I enjoyed the Western SLOW WEST(filmed 2013, released 2015), which was set in Colorado, but filmed in New Zealand.

    We live near an old ghost town from the mining days along Buffalo River, Arkansas. It is a neat place to visit. Walter S.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments