Horse Happenings Travel

Twenty-Five Unnatural Wonders of the Western Roadside: Farmer John Mural (Tucson, Arizona)

Leslie Grimes painted three murals for the Farmer John Meats Company in the West, and although the one he did in Vernon, California, is probably the widest known- because it was featured in the background of a scene in Antonioni’s film Zabriskie Point (1970) – the one on Grant Street in Tucson is the one we like most.

It is a wraparound panorama of Western life that includes saguaro cacti, purple mountains, fleecy clouds overhead in an enormous sky, grazing cows, and angry bull- one charging and upending a cowhand. Leslie Grimes dies in 1968 when he fell off scaffold, but Tucsonian Maries Spark has assured us that the mural is regularly touched-up and repainted by Arno Johnson, who maintains its verisimilitude.