Following the failure of the original colonization of Moapa Valley, which was abandoned in 1871, Mormon pioneers returned to southern Nevada in the 1870s and on January 7, 1877 established Bunkerville, named for founder Edward Bunker, Sr. Those which settled in Bunkerville were followers of the United Order of Enoch, believing in a communal lifestyle, and soon developed an irrigation system and planted numerous crops. A flash flood destroyed the dam that August, but it was quickly rebuilt. The settlers continued to experience difficulties including alkaline soil and poor water quality, but endeavored to persevere, and later had some success. In 1881, the United Order was dissolved and the land divided among the individual families.

In addition to difficulty with farming, Bunkerville also had another obstacle. Many of the community's founders practiced polygamy, which while accepted within the religion, was illegal. In the early years, federal marshals would raid the town in search of offenders, but this came to a close after 1890 when church president Wilford Woodruff banned the practice.

Bunkerville continued to grow into the 20th century, despite hardships including flood and the loss of multiple school buildings. Nevertheless, it today has a population of over 1000, and a handful of handsome homes from the earliest days can be found among its streets.