Famous film star Elizabeth Taylor’s first marriage was to Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton Jr., who was a businessman, socialite, and heir to the Hilton Hotel fortune. She was just 18 years old at the time of the marriage in October 1949, and he was 24 years old. Her husband liked to have fun and was known for his partying which included drinking and gambling. He had heard stories about the Happy Bottom Riding Club, and about its legendary proprietress Pancho Barnes, from several friends. He wanted to check it out for himself and wanted his new wife to have some fun.

In November 1949, Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Nicky ventured out to visit the famous Happy Bottom Riding Club. This iconic establishment was the embodiment of a wild, adventurous spirit, attracting the who’s who of the time, including pilots, movie stars, and other celebrities.

The sun was just beginning to set as the newlyweds arrived at the Club. The desert sky was painted with shades of pink and orange, casting a warm, romantic glow over the couple. The sound of laughter and music drifted through the air as they entered the bustling venue. Pancho Barnes greeted them with open arms and a wide smile. She was thrilled to host the young lovebirds at her establishment, knowing that it would make for a memorable night.

As the night progressed, Pancho introduced Elizabeth and Nicky to some of the Club’s most prominent patrons, including a few daring test pilots and fellow actors. The couple found themselves enthralled with the stories that were shared, from thrilling tales of breaking the sound barrier to gossip from the latest movie sets. The atmosphere was electric, and the laughter was contagious. The newlyweds couldn’t help but be swept up in the excitement.

In between conversations, the couple enjoyed the lively entertainment the Club had to offer. They danced together to the sounds of a live country-swing band, their bodies swaying in perfect harmony as they twirled around the dance floor. Later, Nicky slipped out to a special room that had been set up inside the dairy barn for an ‘invitation-only’ poker game at the Club while Pancho and Elizabeth continued their conversations that were often punctuated with laughter. The night was filled with camaraderie and joy, as it was evident to all that Elizabeth and Nicky truly embraced the spirit of the Happy Bottom Riding Club.

After an unforgettable evening, the couple decided to spend the night at Pancho’s hotel, which was part of the Club’s property. The cozy room, adorned with rustic Western and aviation decor, provided the perfect setting for the lovebirds to reflect on the memories they had made that night. They reportedly stayed up late, talking and laughing about their favorite moments from the day and evening, while outside their window, the desert stars twinkled brightly.

The following morning, after a breakfast of eggs, steak, homemade biscuits and fresh coffee, Pancho surprised Elizabeth and Nicky with a gift. She presented them with honorary Club memberships, welcoming them into the exclusive circle of Happy Bottom Riding Club patrons. The couple was overjoyed, knowing that they now shared a special bond with this extraordinary place and its spirited owner.

With fond farewells and promises to return, Elizabeth and Nicky left the Happy Bottom Riding Club, their hearts filled with newfound friendships and unforgettable experiences. As they drove away, the desert horizon seemed to stretch out before them, a symbol of the endless possibilities that lay ahead in their lives together.

And so, the story of that magical night at Pancho Barnes’ Happy Bottom Riding Club lived on, not just in the memories of Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton, but also in the annals of Hollywood history. Their visit became a shining example of the Club’s allure and the lasting impact it had on those who walked through its doors.