The myths surrounding the gunfight at the O


BRUCE DESILVA Connected Press

April 20, 2020, 3: 40 PM

3 min read

“Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Roam From Hell,” by Tom Clavin (St. Martin’s Press)

In 1881, five Earp brothers gathered in hopes of discovering their fortunes in Tombstone, Arizona, the last boomtown in what was aloof left of the untamed American West. They were pretty young males—Wyatt, the middle brother, perfect 31—when they joined a rising community of shopkeepers, prospectors, gamblers, prostitutes, and rustlers drawn by a silver strike in the nearby Dragoon Mountains.

As some favorite accounts, including “Tombstone,” the 1993 movie starring Kurt Russell, would hang it, Wyatt and his older brother Virgil had forsaken their outdated profession as lawmen, however that’s not exactly staunch. Virgil was aloof a deputy U.S. Marshal, and he remained a lawman for nearly all of his time in Arizona.

Myths surrounding the Earps, Wyatt’s friend Doc Holliday (who was removed from the deadeye shot he’s been made out to be), and the gunfight at the O.Okay. Corral are seemingly to be not the most efficient barriers facing a author intent on telling the staunch story of Tombstone. Major sources, including watch testimony in court docket complaints and stories in the boomtown’s two rival newspapers, are contradictory and laced with lies. And other accounts by observers and contributors, including several books, are largely self-serving.

Nonetheless in researching “Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Roam to Hell,” western historian and ragged newspaperman Tom Clavin had quite loads of extra subject topic to design on including outdated histories of the town and well-researched biographies of plenty of the contributors.

Readers who hang a passing familiarity with the story will look the names of the main gamers including Billy and Ike Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, Johnny Ringo, Frank Stilwell, Curly Invoice Brocius, Texas Jack Vermillion, Sherman McMasters, Henry Hooker, Bat Masterson, Fred White, John Clum, Immense Nostril Kate Elder, and John Behan. Clavin explores the assign they, and quite loads of others, came from and what they were doing earlier than they arrived in Tombstone. He additionally describes the cultural and political local weather of Arizona that contributed to the town’s troubles.

With a ragged newsman’s nostril for the truth, Clavin has sifted the info, myths, and lies to produce what also can possibly be as factual an myth as we can ever decide up of the aged West’s most renowned feud.


Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of The US’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Worry Line.”

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