When The Beatles Were Cowboys

When The Beatles were cowboys
Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr of the Beatles 1964 © 1978 Gunther

ON 19TH SEPTEMBER 1964, in the middle of their tour, The Beatles needed a rest. After their appearance at the Dallas Convention Center during their 25 date US tour, they celebrated Brian Epstein’s 30th birthday on Reed Pigman’s ranch in Alton, Missouri. They landed at the little Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, airport.

Reed Pigman’s Ranch

The Beatles spent the weekend at Reed Pigman’s ranch, riding on horseback and playing at being cowboys.

Young Reed Pigman, 14 years old, remembers the time well. “They dressed up in their very best cowboy outfits,” Pigman said. Ringo also had a tooled western belt with his name on the back, a gift from Elvis Presley. They also went swimming and drove go-karts. “They went nuts with all the freedom they had,” Pigman said.

Walnut Ridge


When I visited Walnut Ridge in 2017, I met many lovely people, one of whom was Carrie Mae Snapp, older sister of mayor Charles Snapp. Like all the locals, they made us so welcome. Carrie Mae was a witness to The Beatles short time in Walnut Ridge and took some incredible photographs.

George Harrison heading to the plane in Walnut Ridge
George Harrison heading to the plane in Walnut Ridge

They then returned to the airport and left Walnut Ridge behind.

The little town of Walnut Ridge has an annual Beatles festival – Beatles At The Ridge – which I visited in 2017. What a fantastic festival, when the whole town shuts down and celebrates The Beatles.

Read the full story and see all the unique photographs of The Beatles in The Country of Liverpool.

David Bedford