In the tiny mining town of Wallace, Idaho, old west brothels were open and tolerated up until the year of 1991. The short documentary, Wallace, takes you on a trip to the past of a community where prostitution was deeply ingrained for over a century.

Director’s Vision

Even though most cities in the United States abolished designated areas for prostitution by the 1920s, one small mining town refused to follow suit. Hiding in plain sight, Wallace, Idaho openly operated brothels up until 1991. Wallace examines the complicated history of this town where sex work was deeply ingrained in the community for over a century. To quote, Heather Branstetter, a local historian and author of Selling Sex in the Silver Valley, “Like human nature itself, Wallace’s houses offer a messy tangle of contradictions wrapped up in a complex package oriented toward efficiency and survival: they were famous and secret, commonplace and exotic, classy and trashy, operating without regard for the law but in accordance with a strict code of conduct.” The intention of this film was never to take a side but rather to start a conversation surrounding the complexities of sex work then and now.