Greeting visitors to Whiskey Pete’s is a life-size model of the local moonshiner for whom the Primm, Nev., hotel-casino is named. The resort is on the California-Nevada state line.(Jay Jones)
Rooms at Whiskey Pete’s were recently renovated as part of a $3-million refurbishment. Rustic touches at the Primm, Nev., hotel-casino include faux rattlesnake skin wall hangings.(Jay Jones)
Time doesn’t seem to change old-time Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nev., on the California-Nevada state line.(Jay Jones)
Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nev., is associated with a sad bit of Hollywood lore. On a nearby mountain, Carole Lombard, her mother and 20 others were killed in a plane crash on Jan. 16, 1942. Clark Gable, Lombard’s husband, waited at Pioneer Saloon for news from search parties. A piece of wreckage from the crash hangs in the saloon.(Jay Jones)
Pioneer Saloon, an old-time dining and watering spot in Goodsprings, Nev., offers a varied menu with items including, from left, barbeque ribs, a three-egg combo and a Ghost Burger.(Jay Jones)
At Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nev., a platter of ribs comes with Bush’s baked beans, served in the can.(Jay Jones)
A potbelly stove warms old-time Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nev.(Jay Jones)
Carole Lombard and Clark Gable’s sad association with Pioneer Saloon is commemorated there.(Jay Jones)
Burn marks in the wood bar at Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nev., are said to have been made by Clark Gable’s cigars as he kept his anxious vigil in 1942.(Jay Jones)
Haunted Lockdown events at Pioneer Saloon attempt to make contact with the spirit world, as Jill Padovese attempts here, using various electronic devices.(Jay Jones)
When the Pioneer Saloon opened in Goodsprings, Nev., in 1913, it was one of seven bars that served area prospectors. It is faced with stamped tin.(Jay Jones)
Winter’s chill quickly fades once visitors step inside the Pioneer Saloon in tiny Goodsprings, Nev. The room, warmed by an old potbelly stove, is little changed from 75 years ago when actor Clark Gable sat at the bar for a long day and night, awaiting word on whether his wife, actress Carole Lombard, had survived the Jan. 16, 1942, plane crash on a nearby mountain. (Lombard, her mother and 20 others died.) History buffs come to absorb spirits — of both the liquid and ethereal varieties.
The tab for two: about $110 for a newly remodeled room in nearby Primm and $50 for dinner in the saloon’s dining room, now a shrine to Gable and Lombard.
Southern Californians usually zip past Primm, at the California-Nevada state line, on the way to Vegas. But Whiskey Pete’s (31900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Primm, Nev.;  386-7867) just spent more than $3 million on refurbishment, the first since the hotel opened in 1973. The framed images of whiskey barrels beside the beds are a nod to the local moonshiner for whom the place is named. The hotel-casino is just 20 minutes from Goodsprings.
For a roadhouse at the end of the road, the Pioneer Saloon (310 W. Spring St., Goodsprings, Nev.;  874-9362) has a remarkably varied menu. When ordering the all-day breakfast (three-egg combos from $13), be sure to include the sweet potato hash. For dinner, a half-slab of ribs ($23) includes a salad bar, potato and baked beans in the can. (Yes, they really are Bush’s.) You can have a more formal meal at GP’s Steakhouse ( 679-5170) in Primm.
Once the saloon shutters for the night, a different breed of guests arrives for the Haunted Lockdown, a paranormal investigation that uses technology to summon the spirits, Lombard’s included. “Her voice is very sweet and sensuous,” said Jill Padovese, who leads the experiences. The lockdowns, by appointment only, cost $149 per person. That includes refreshments and round-trip transportation for those staying in Las Vegas, 30 miles north. Scads of photos of Gable and Lombard cover a wall on which there’s even a bit of wreckage from the aircraft. Check out the holes in the bar said to be made by Gable’s cigars as he waited for the search party to return.