Facts, information and articles about the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a famous event from the Wild West O.K. Corral Facts Date October 26, 1881 Place Tombstone in the Arizona Territory Outlaws Tom Mclaury Frank Mclaury Ike Clanton Billy Clanton Billy Clairborne Lawmen Wyat Earp Virgil Earp Morgan Earp Doc Holliday Ok Corral Articles Explore articles from the History Net archives about O.K. Corral » See all Ok Corral Articles Gunfight at the OK Corral 2 O.K. Corral summary: The O.K. Corral is a term used to refer to an infamous shootout in the American West during the late 1800s between some historical icons. It happened at 3:00pm, October 26,1881 on a Wednesday afternoon in the famous Arizona Territory town of Tombstone. Most regard it as the most famous gunfight that occurred in the American Old West. It was thought to have lasted about thirty seconds and was between the outlaw Tom Mclaury and brother Frank as well as Ike Clanton. The opposition was the famous brothers Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday. Holliday was acting as Virgil’s temporary deputy at the time. Billy Clanton was one of the cowboys that was shot and killed, his brother Ike ran off with Billy Clairborne before they could be wounded. The lawmen Virgil, Doc and Morgan were all wounded and hurt leaving only Wyatt stepping away clean. Over the course of time the fight has come to symbolize the spirit that the vast western territory placed on those living there-you don’t have to obey the law. Though it’s a famous piece of history now, the fight was pretty unknown among the American people. It wasn’t until author Stuart Lake came along and published a biography on Wyatt that was largely fictionalized. Two years after Earp died his story was retold in a book that would later inspire Ford into making the film, My Darling Clementine. From here on out it became a sensationalized event moving those involved into a permanent place in history. Articles Featuring O.K. Corral From History Net Magazines Article 1 O.K. Corral: A Gunfight Shrouded in Mystery By Casey Tefertiller and Jeff Morey Cowboy Billy Clanton still lay dying, his face contorted with pain, when the press began the difficult task of piecing together the details of an October 1881 street battle in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. In later years it would become known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Richard Rule, veteran city editor of the Tombstone Nugget, helped carry Clanton into the house where the young man would pass into history, then returned to the streets to go to work. With the canny eye of an experienced newsman, Rule began collecting the details of the gunfight, interviewing witnesses and trying to get a handle on what transpired during that fateful half minute and what led up to the battle. It would be a model of frontier journalism and vital to future understanding of perhaps the most debated event of the American frontier. The saga of the O.K. Corral has been told repeatedly and from many perspectives, often with fictional intrusions and biased analysis. Now, for the first time in 120 years, we may have an authentic understanding of the events that led to the gunfight and what actually occurred in the streets of Tombstone — with a great deal of help from Richard Rule. Read More in Wild West Magazine Subscribe online and save nearly 40%!!! Through the tense summer of 1881, emotions had grown explosive. Bands of rustlers roamed the backcountry, stealing cattle mostly in Mexico or from Mexican ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico territories and then selling them to apparently legitimate ranchers for resale. The Clanton and McLaury families owned ranches reputed to be headquarters for receiving stolen cattle. This great cattle scam drew little ire from an American population more interested in acquiring wealth in the rich new mining areas than investigating international relations. In addition, Mexico had assessed high taxes on alcohol and tobacco, and smugglers came to southern Arizona Territory to purchase the goods cheaply for resale south of the border. The cash- and jewel-laden smugglers provided an easy target for American bandits. As that fateful year of 1881 progressed, the situation changed. The Mexican government dropped taxes on alcohol and tobacco and then lodged numerous protests with federal and territorial officials to try to stop the outlawry against Mexican citizens. Territorial Governor John C. Frémont, the old pathfinder and the first Republican presidential candidate in 1856, suggested in February that the territorial Legislature fund a state militia to ride against the outlaws and stop the rustling. Legislators hooted down the visionary plan. The Mexican government built a series of forts along the border and began to fight back against the American outlaws. American rustlers George Turner and Alfred McAllister were killed in Mexico during a raid on May 13. Back on the U.S. side of the border, citizens also began to grow agitated over outlawry, particularly because of what happened on March 15. Three robbers that day attempted to intercept a stagecoach traveling from Tombstone to Benson, Arizona Territory. Driver Eli ‘Budd’ Philpot and passenger Peter Roerig were killed. Jim Crane, William Leonard and Harry Head were identified as the robbers. With Frémont’s militia plan discarded, there was little to counter the rustling and other crimes that gripped southern Arizona Territory. Cochise County Sheriff John Behan and his deputies were charged with battling the rustlers, who became known as the ‘Cowboys.’ But Behan was at best ineffective and at worst crooked. His deputy Billy Breakenridge would tell how he deputized Cowboy leader ‘Curly Bill’ Brocius (or ‘Curley Bill’ Brocious) and used him to help collect taxes. And Wells, Fargo detective James Hume was quoted as saying, ‘Even the sheriff of the county?is in with the cowboys and he has got to be or his life would not be worth a farthing.’ The federal government was represented by U.S. Deputy Marshals Virgil Earp and Leslie Blackburn, with Earp in charge of most of the fieldwork, backed by his brother and deputy Wyatt Earp. Virgil also served as city marshal of Tombstone, which left Wyatt with most of the federal work. Wyatt Earp coveted Behan’s well-paid job as sheriff, and the election would be coming up in the fall of 1882. According to Wyatt, he tried to make a deal with Frank McLaury and Ike Clanton, the most visible of the Clanton brothers and a known friend of the rustling crowd, to tell him the whereabouts of the three stage robbers. This would bolster Earp’s chances in the election, and Ike would receive the reward. Before the deal could be completed, two bartender brothers killed Leonard and Head in a remote New Mexico Territory mining village. An army of Cowboys rode down and killed the brothers in retribution. In August, another cattle raid in Mexico caused Commandant Felipe Neri to dispatch troops to the border, where they found a group of Americans bedded down on the U.S. side of the crossing at Guadalupe Canyon. The Mexicans crept the few feet across the border and opened fire, killing five, among them stage robber Jim Crane and Newman Clanton, scion of the Clanton clan, who left behind sons Ike, Fin and Billy. With no deal left for him, Ike Clanton grew increasingly worried. Wyatt Earp knew Ike had made a deal to turn on his Cowboy buddies, information that could have ruined Ike’s standing in the rustling community. With the borders closed, outlawry against Americans grew more commonplace in the backcountry. The Earps emerged as the leading law officers, taking an aggressive stand against the region’s criminal elements. The Cowboys resented their actions. ‘They met at Charleston and took an oath over blood drawn from the arm of John Ring[o], the leader, that they would kill us,’ Virgil Earp said. With emotion running stronger than the best saloon whiskey, Ike Clanton came to Tombstone to confront Wyatt Earp and learn whether Earp had been leaking the secret. According to Earp, Ike accused him of telling the secret to his friend John Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday, a heavy-drinking dentist with a quirky sense of humor. Earp denied the accusation and sent for Holliday, who was in Tucson. Holliday met with Clanton on the night of October 25 in the Occidental Saloon. By the Earp account, Holliday was angry that Clanton had made a false accusation against him. As Ike told it, Holliday called him a ‘damned liar [who] had threatened the Earps….He told me to pull out my gun and if there was any grit in me, to go to fighting.’ Clanton, who was unarmed, said that Holliday ordered him to retrieve his gun. Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp appeared to break up the fight, with Wyatt walking Holliday back to his room at Fly’s lodging house. Then came perhaps the most improbable event of the day. Ike Clanton, after retrieving his six-shooter, sat down to a poker game with Virgil Earp, Tom McLaury, John Behan and one other player. It would be like ‘Ike’ Eisenhower pitching pennies with Adolf Hitler before the Battle of the Bulge. The game broke up around 7 a.m., with Ike Clanton requesting that Virgil deliver a message to Holliday: ‘The damned son of a bitch has got to fight,’ Ike supposedly told Virgil. Virgil said he responded: ‘Ike, I am an officer, and I don?t want to hear you talking that way at all. I am going down home now to go to bed, and I don?t want you to raise any disturbance when I am in bed.”You won?t carry a message?’ Ike asked. Virgil said he would not. ‘You may have to fight before you know it,’ Ike said as Virgil walked away. Through the rest of the morning, Ike fueled his anger with whiskey, lurching from saloon to saloon to talk tough and make threats against the Earps. ‘He said that as soon as the Earps and Doc Holliday showed themselves on the street, the ball would open and that they would have to fight,’ said Ned Boyle, bartender at the Oriental Saloon, who went to awaken Wyatt and tell him of the threat. Deputy Marshal Andy Bronk also heard of the threats and woke Virgil. Injudiciously, both Wyatt and Virgil went back to sleep and ignored Ike’s ire. About noon on the 26th, Virgil and Morgan Earp spotted Ike carrying a six-shooter and a rifle. Virgil crashed his revolver into Ike’s head, then led the bloodied Cowboy to Judge Albert O. Wallace’s courtroom. Wyatt Earp entered the room and said: ‘You damn dirty cow thief. You have been threatening our lives, and I know it. I think I would be justified in shooting you down any place I would meet you. But if you are anxious to make a fight, I will go anywhere on earth to make a fight with you — even over to San Simon among your crowd.’ ‘Fight is my racket, and all I want is 4 feet of ground,’ Clanton responded. ‘If you fellows had been a second later, I would have furnished a Coroner’s Inquest for this town.’ Morgan Earp held up Ike’s gun and taunted him, saying he would pay the fine if Ike would make a fight. Ike refused, saying he did not like the odds. Wallace fined Ike $25 for carrying firearms in the city limits. As Wyatt stepped out of the courtroom, he encountered Tom McLaury and engaged in an argument that led to Earp slapping the cowboy with his left hand, then beating him over the head with a six-shooter. Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton rode into town and stopped at the saloon in the Grand Hotel. Cowboy pal Billy Claiborne told them of the beatings delivered to their brothers, and Frank dropped his whiskey glass without taking a sip. As the afternoon continued, the town grew more and more agitated, buzzing with trepidation that a conflict was brewing. The Earps congregated at the corner of Fourth and Allen, in front of Hafford’s Corner Saloon, and watched as Ike and Billy Clanton, along with Frank McLaury, entered Spangenberg’s gun shop. Frank and Billy purchased ammunition, but the proprietor refused to sell a gun to Ike. The Clantons and McLaurys left the gun shop and split up. The McLaurys went off to make collections for cattle they had sold, while Claiborne and Billy Clanton went to retrieve Billy’s horse. They would meet up again a few minutes later, at the O.K. Corral, where witnesses would overhear them making threats against the Earps. Back at Hafford’s, townsmen came to the Earps offering assistance and telling of the cowboy threats. City Marshal Virgil Earp said he asked Sheriff Behan to assist him in disarming the Cowboys. Instead, Behan offered to go down and talk to the Clantons and McLaurys to see if he could peaceably disarm them by himself. After Virgil had waited nearly 20 minutes for Behan to make his talk, local businessman John Fonck came to tell the marshal of the Cowboys? actions. Virgil said he would not interfere if they were getting their horses and leaving town, but if they were armed and walking the streets he would have to arrest them. ‘Why,’ Fonck responded, ‘they are all down on Fremont Street now.’ Read More in Wild West Magazine Subscribe online and save nearly 40%!!! Virgil Earp turned to his two brothers, and to Holliday. He handed a short-barreled shotgun to Holliday to conceal under his long gray coat. Holliday then gave his walking stick to the marshal, and the four began the fateful walk that would become part of history. As they strode down Fremont Street, Behan rushed up to them and, according to the Earp brothers, said, ‘For God’s sake, don?t go down there or you will get yourself murdered.’ Virgil replied that he was going to disarm them. What the sheriff said next is uncertain. Behan would say that he told the Earps, ‘I was there for the purpose of arresting and disarming them.’ The Earps believed the sheriff said he had already disarmed them, and they then — apparently disregarding the warning that they would get murdered — made the mistake of relaxing a little. Wyatt Earp put his six-shooter back in his coat pocket; Virgil shifted his six-shooter off his hip into a more difficult position to draw and held the walking stick in his right hand. When they arrived at the 15-foot-wide vacant lot on Fremont Street where the Cowboys had congregated, the Earps were surprised to see that at least two of the opposition — Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton — still carried revolvers, and rifles were visible on the horses. Virgil raised his walking stick and growled, ‘Throw up your hands, boys, I intend to disarm you.’ The shooting began quickly. Two shots, a pause, then the gunfight burst out on different fronts. Holliday surged forward to stalk Tom McLaury, partially hidden by a horse, then fired a shotgun charge into McLaury’s chest. At about the same moment, Ike lurched forward to grab Wyatt Earp. Clanton said he heroically tried to push him out of the way. Earp said he told Ike, ‘The fight has commenced, get to fighting or get away.’ Ike, whose mouth had aroused the town and inflamed the Earps, then dashed from the scene. Virgil took a shot through the calf, most likely from Frank McLaury’s six-shooter. Billy Clanton took a bullet in the chest, probably from Morgan, then a shot in the right wrist. He switched gun hands, leaned back against a building and slowly crumpled to the ground as he continued firing. Morgan stumbled and fell, yelling, ‘I am hit,’ as a bullet entered one shoulder blade and passed out through the other. He rose, but soon fell again, probably tripping on a mound on Fremont Street where the town was putting in new water pipes. Badly wounded, Frank McLaury tried to use his horse for cover as he lurched into the street. He fired at Morgan, causing his horse to bolt. Unprotected and exhausted, Frank squatted in the street, but when Holliday pursued him, Frank stood, aimed and said, ‘I?ve got you now.’ ‘Blaze away. You?re a daisy if you have,’ Holliday responded, according to the Nugget. McLaury fired, grazing Holliday’s side. ‘I?m shot right through,’ Holliday yelled. Frank McLaury staggered farther into the street as Morgan Earp and Doc both fired, Morgan’s shot crashing into the right side of McLaury’s head, Holliday’s into the Cowboy’s chest. McLaury continued to breathe as Holliday ran up and shouted, ‘The son of a bitch has shot me, and I mean to kill him!’ But it was too late. The fight had been shot out of Frank McLaury. His brother Tom had made it to the corner of Third and Fremont, where he lay dying at the base of a telegraph pole. Frank died in the street. Tom and Billy were carried into a nearby house, where they would survive for only minutes. With Morgan and Virgil Earp both wounded and Holliday grazed across the side, Wyatt Earp remained the only participant standing, untouched by lead. Behan strode over to Wyatt and said, ‘I will have to arrest you.’ A witness recalled Earp’s reply: ‘I won?t be arrested. You deceived me, Johnny, you told me they were not armed. I won?t be arrested, but I am here to answer what I have done. I am not going to leave town.’ And Earp was not arrested — not then, at least. Almost immediately, journalist Richard Rule and his rivals at the Epitaph began scurrying to collect the news. Both stories were dramatic, colorful and tinged with blood. In the style of the day, they did not present many direct quotes, instead making journalists? assessments of the material. By the Epitaph report, the battle began when two Cowboys pulled their guns and fired the first two shots. The Nugget had it different, saying Frank McLaury made a motion for his gun, which prompted Wyatt Earp to quickly draw and shoot McLaury. Both stories led to a belief that the law officers had been in the right. Within 48 hours, the situation would change dramatically. As the coroner’s inquest began, well-liked Sheriff Behan, along with Ike Clanton, Claiborne and several Cowboy friends, testified to a much different beginning to the gunfight. They would report that the Earp party fired the first several shots of the conflict. Clanton filed murder charges against the Earps, and a month-long preliminary hearing began at which both sides would air their versions of the events. By the Earp version, it was self-defense; by the Cowboy account, it was murder. Behan would serve as the most significant witness for the prosecution, which tried to have the Earps bound over for a murder trial. Key witnesses at the hearing in advancing the Cowboy version were Wesley Fuller, Billy Allen, Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, who was under a murder indictment himself for an unrelated incident. They laid out a dramatic story of how at Virgil’s command the two Clantons and Frank McLaury thrust their arms in the air to comply, while Tom McLaury threw open his vest to show he was unarmed. Immediately someone from the Earp party screamed, ‘You sons of bitches have been looking for a fight, and now you can have one!’ Barely had those words sounded when two shots were fired, the first from Doc Holliday’s nickel-plated revolver and the other from another member of the Earp party, probably Morgan. After a pause, the Earps got off several shots before Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton could pull their six-shooters and return fire. Tom McLaury was never armed and never fired. This image of men shot down in the act of surrendering would shock the community as reports appeared in the local press. Wyatt and Virgil Earp would present a much different story. Wyatt would say the fight began after Virgil’s call to disarm: ‘Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury laid their hands on their six-shooters. Virgil said, ?Hold, I don?t mean that. I have come to disarm you.? They — Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury — commenced to draw their pistols. At that moment Tom McLaury threw his hand to his right hip and jumped behind a horse. I had my pistol in my overcoat pocket where I had put it when Behan told us he had disarmed the other party. When I saw Billy and Frank draw their pistols, I drew my pistol. Billy Clanton leveled his pistol at me but I didn?t aim at him. I knew that Frank McLaury had the reputation of being a good shot and a dangerous man, and I aimed at Frank McLaury. The two first shots which were fired were fired by Billy Clanton and myself; he shot at me, and I shot at Frank McLaury. I do not know which shot was first. We fired almost together.’ Neither Wyatt nor Virgil Earp mentioned the statement about the SOBs looking for a fight and getting one. By the Earp version, the fight began in self-defense when the Cowboys, armed in violation of law, made an aggressive move in defiance of a legal order. The Earp version closely reflected the Nugget‘s report of the gunfight, while the Cowboy story was in stark contrast to the immediate reporting after the event.When the preliminary hearing ended on December 1, Justice Wells Spicer ruled the case not be bound over for trial. This was decision without exoneration, as most of the key questions were left undetermined. Spicer ruled that there was not enough evidence to assure a likelihood of conviction. The Cochise County Grand Jury would later reopen the issue and concur with Spicer. The debate has raged on for 120 years as to who fired first. The quest for a true understanding of events has been confused by a series of later writers advancing inaccurate or simply false information from supposed secret sources. Stuart Lake, in his classic Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, stated flatly that the Cowboys drew and fired on the Earps, which is contradictory to the Earps? own version in the Spicer hearing. Frank Waters, in The Earp Brothers of Tombstone, quoted alleged eyewitnesses who were never called to testify in saying the Earps fired first at surrendering Cowboys. It has since been discovered that Waters tampered with material in the book, diminishing its credibility. The issue seemed resolved in 1976 when Glenn G. Boyer’s I Married Wyatt Earp appeared, asserting that Josephine Earp, Wyatt’s third wife, had secret information that Doc Holliday had actually fired the first shot and that Earp lied in the Spicer hearing to cover for his friend. However, Boyer has since admitted that this book is not actually Mrs. Earp’s memoir but rather a creative exercise. Boyer further confused the issue with his 1993 Wyatt Earp’s Tombstone Vendetta, in which he now claimed Holliday told a confidant that Earp himself fired the first two shots so quickly they sounded as one. Four years later, Boyer acknowledged that this was also novelistic.The fictional and fantastic later writings must be discarded in order to gain an understanding of what actually occurred on that dusty street on October 26, 1881. By returning to the original sources, we can finally gain a grasp of what started the gunfight that refuses to die. The Behan/Cowboy version of the initial gunfire is based on the first shot being fired from Holliday’s revolver at the surrendering Clantons and McLaurys. For this to be accurate, Holliday would have needed to stage a sort of juggling act, firing the revolver, then going to the shotgun to shoot Tom McLaury, discarding the shotgun and returning to the revolver as he chased Frank McLaury into Fremont Street. And he would need to have done it without either the witnesses or survivors seeing it. Behan claimed to have his eyes fixed on the Earp party, and the other pro-Cowboy witnesses testified that the Clantons and McLaurys were lifting their hands to surrender. However, Addie Bourland, a dressmaker watching from her shop across the street, testified that she clearly saw that none of the Cowboys had their hands in the air.Behan’s credibility would emerge as an issue late in the Spicer hearing. Deputy district attorney Winfield Scott Williams testified that the sheriff had inaccurately depicted a conversation with Virgil Earp after the gunfight in which, according to Williams, Behan told Virgil that one of the Cowboys had drawn his gun to start the fight. Equally important, documents were located in 1997 showing that Behan served as guarantor of a loan to Ike Clanton during the Spicer hearing. With Wyatt Earp seeking Behan’s job in the next election, the sheriff had much to gain from seeing his rival face a murder charge. And then there is Richard Rule. It is one of those flukes of history that the Nugget story ever appeared as it did. Publisher Harry Woods also served as Behan’s undersheriff, but he was off in El Paso fetching a prisoner at the time of the gunfight. This left the talented and experienced Rule to oversee the newsgathering and writing of a story that would be essentially pro-Earp. With the Nugget‘s connections to the sheriff’s office, it would be logical to seek out Behan as a source for the story. What makes this even more probable is that the Nugget story, without attribution, states, ‘The Sheriff stepped out and said: ?Hold up boys, don?t go down there or there will be trouble; I have been down there to disarm them.?’ Behan would repeatedly insist he told the Earps that he had been down to disarm the cowboys, not that he had actually done the disarming. The article relates details of the conversation Behan had had with the Cowboys. The story further states that Behan ‘was standing near by commanding the contestants to cease firing but was powerless to prevent it’ — a claim that sounds as if it came from Behan’s own mouth. It is hard to imagine the Nugget not interviewing Behan for this story. By Williams? account, immediately after the gunfight, Behan told Virgil Earp a story similar to the Nugget report before changing his story at the coroner’s inquest. For the Behan/Cowboy version of the first shots to be true, Doc Holliday would have had to orchestrate an incredible revolver-shotgun-revolver shuffle, an officer of the court would have had to lie under oath and both the Nugget and Epitaph would have had to have missed the biggest story of their existences. This remarkable chain of events is so unlikely as to render it unbelievable. Read More in Wild West Magazine Subscribe online and save nearly 40%!!! After generations of lies, deception and confusion, it appears that we finally have a true understanding of how the firing began. When all the evidence is weighed, there can be little doubt that the frontier’s most storied gunfight began just as the Earps testified, with Wyatt Earp firing in response to Frank McLaury’s motion for his gun. This article was written by Casey Tefertiller and Jeff Morey and originally appeared in the October 2001 issue of Wild West magazine. Tefertiller wrote Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1997). Morey served as historical adviser for the movie Tombstone. For further reading, the authors recommend: Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend, and for a pro-Behan view, Steve Gatto’s The Real Wyatt Earp (High-Lonesome, Silver City, N.M., 2000). For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Wild West magazine today! Article 2 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Did Tom McLaury Have a Gun By Lee A. Silva One of the most candidly understated descriptions of a funeral in the history of the Old West was written by Arizona historian Opie Rundle Burgess in her 1967 book Bisbee, Not So Long Ago, when she recorded her mother’s memories of her first day in the booming town of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, on March 20, 1882. Florence Robinson Rundle and her mother (Opie’s grandmother) had just arrived in Tombstone by stage, and Florence’s father, who had been mining in the area, rented a buggy to drive them to their boarding house. When they heard horses coming up behind them, her father pulled their carriage off to the side of the street, explaining that he was giving way to a funeral procession taking Morgan Earp’s body to Contention to be placed on a train. James Earp would accompany his brother’s remains to their father’s home in Colton, Calif. Silently the Robinsons waited until the funeral procession passed. Four men rode in front with sawed-off shotguns across their laps; then came a wagon bearing the casket. Following it came a buggy with two women dressed in deep mourning. Back of their carriage rode two more men with guns across their laps. The men nodded as they passed the Robinsons. [Mr. Robinson said:] ‘Morgan Earp was a fine man. He was murdered by a sympathizer of the Clanton gang.’ [Mrs. Robinson replied:] ‘Yes, I know. The driver of the stagecoach told us about the shooting. I never before saw guns take the place of flowers at a funeral.’ Morgan Earp was the most luckless of the six Earp brothers. He had almost died after being shot through the shoulders during the shootout near the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881, allegedly by rustler Tom McLaury. Then, on the night of March 18-19 (Wyatt turned 33 on the 19th), Morgan was killed by a shot in the back while playing pool. Mrs. Robinson’s ‘guns instead of flowers’ words sum up the tales of violence that occurred regularly in the lush grazing lands of the San Pedro River and the Sulfur Spring Valley, where cowboys and rustlers had settled even before silver was discovered in 1877. There, the words ‘cowboy’ and ‘rustler’ had become synonymous, and Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan was in cahoots with the Cowboys. Many people in Tombstone didn’t want the rustling to stop, because they liked the cheap price of rustled beef and the business the Cowboys brought to local saloons. The Earp brothers — Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan — had become the only real law in Tombstone. In October 1881, Virgil Earp was both a deputy U.S. marshal and Tombstone’s chief of police. (The official title of the town marshal’s office had been changed to police department by the city fathers in April 1881.) Wyatt Earp was operating covertly as a detective for Wells, Fargo & Co. and on occasion served a policeman or a temporary field-commissioned deputy U.S. marshal for Virgil. Morgan Earp, too, was temporarily commissioned as a policeman. Half the town wanted the Cowboys to go. Half the town wanted the Earps to go. Something had to give, and the showdown came on October 26, 1881, at about 2:45 p.m. Five of the Cowboys (Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Claiborne), Cowboy sympathizer Wes Fuller and Billy Clanton’s and Frank’s horses had ended up in a 15-foot-wide vacant lot on the south side of Fremont Street behind the O.K. Corral. Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton openly wore holstered revolvers in violation of a town ordinance that prohibited the carrying of guns within city limits unless the carrier was entering town, leaving town or in a corral. None of those exceptions applied to Frank and Billy. Virgil Earp wanted to arrest the Cowboys for breaking the gun law, but the Cowboys held their ground, or at least some of them did. Billy Claiborne left the lot before the confrontation, as did Fuller. When Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp and their hastily commissioned policeman friend Doc Holliday stepped into the front of the lot, somebody pulled a gun. Ike Clanton ran. About 30 seconds and 30 shots later, Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton lay dying on the ground, and Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were wounded. At first the Earps and Holliday were hailed as heroes. But then they were accused of shooting down unarmed men who were trying to surrender. The ‘unarmed’ claim was bolstered by the fact that Tom McLaury’s gun couldn’t be found. After a two-day coroner’s inquest and a month-long hearing to determine whether the Earps and Holliday should be indicted for murder, Judge Wells Spicer decided that they had acted in their official capacity as lawmen. So the they were never actually tried for murder. The vacant lot where the Old West’s most famous shootout began faced the south side of Fremont Street — with the Harwood house on the west side of the lot, and Fly’s photographic studio and boarding house on the east side. There were eight people and two horses in the front of the crowded lot, and the black powder gun smoke added to the confusion and bedlam of the gunfight. Figuring out who shot whom was difficult because the Cowboy faction told lies in an attempt to get the Earps and Holliday hanged for murder, and the Earps stretched the truth to keep their necks out of nooses. When Wyatt Earp biographer Stuart Lake questioned him about the’street fight,’ as Wyatt called it, Wyatt answered in a September 13, 1928, letter: ‘In that affair, Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry had four or five bullet holes in their bodies, and of course it would be impossible to declare who was responsible for the shots.’ That is one of the most honest appraisals ever made in the who-shot-whom controversy, which often includes the question of whether Tom McLaury used a gun during the shootout. When the gun smoke cleared on October 26, Billy Clanton had never gotten near his horse, and he lay with his back against the Harwood house just inside the lot on Fremont Street; Frank McLaury had never gotten behind his horse, but he had led it partway into the street before it bolted and ran, and Frank lay on the north side of Fremont Street across from the vacant lot; Tom McLaury had gotten behind Billy Clanton’s horse before it ran, and Tom lay near the southeast corner of Fremont and Third streets next to a corner house that was adjacent to the Harwood house. The coroner, Dr. Henry Martyn Matthews, later dutifully recorded the serial numbers of the Colt revolvers used by Frank McLaury (No. 46338) and Billy Clanton (No. 52196) in the shootout. But Tom McLaury’s gun was still missing. In 1929, after Lake inspected the original handwritten documents from the coroner’s inquest and the murder hearing that historians now call the Spicer hearing, the documents were put back into storage. An anti-Earp historian, Howell ‘Pat’ Hayhurst, was commissioned to put the documents into typescript for a federal Works Progress Association (WPA) project in the 1930s. Hayhurst not only failed to decipher some of the handwriting but also arbitrarily edited out wording that he decided was not relevant. As Lake later put it, Hayhurst ‘mutilated’ the text and context. Furthermore, the original documents were never returned after Hayhurst transcribed them. They have never been found. Fortunately, reporters from Tombstone’s two newspapers — the pro-Earp Epitaph and the pro-Cowboy Nugget — also recorded the testimony at the coroner’s inquest and the Spicer hearing. But only the reporter from the Nugget knew shorthand. Thus, the wording of the testimony that the court recorder and the two newspaper reporters put on paper varied greatly. It takes months examining all three versions of the testimony word by word to fully understand how much of it was altered by Hayhurst in what historians now call the Hayhurst transcript. Most of the pro-Cowboy witnesses who testified during the murder hearing fudged their answers by saying things like, ‘I didn’t see Tom McLaury with a gun’ or by agreeing that Tom McLaury had yelled to Virgil Earp words like, ‘I am disarmed,’ just before the shooting started. And the few objective newspaper articles that were written in the first days following the shootout could only report on hearsay. In its October 29 dispatch that appeared in the November 3 San Diego Union newspaper, stringer Clara S. Brown wrote, ‘At the inquest yesterday, the damaging fact was ascertained that only two of the cowboys were armed, it thus being a most unequal fight.’ On November 7, bartender Andrew Mehan testified at the murder hearing that Tom McLaury had checked his six-gun with him at Mehan’s saloon between 1 and 2 p.m. on the 26th, only an hour before the gunfight, and that the gun was still in Mehan’s safe. But Cosmopolitan Hotel owner Albert Billicke and U.S. Army surgeon J.B.W. Gardner offered testimony that suggested Tom McLaury had picked up another revolver while visiting Everhardy’s butcher shop. Virgil Earp testified that when the shooting started, Tom McLaury was beside a horse and that McLaury, ‘followed the movement of the horse around, making [it] a kind of breastwork, and fired once if not twice over the horse’s back.’ Wyatt testified, ‘If Tom McLaury was unarmed, I did not know it, I believe he was armed and fired two shots at our party before Holliday, who had the shotgun, fired and killed him.’ In his 1896 San Francisco Examiner biographical interviews, Wyatt was quoted as saying that after the first three shots had been fired, ‘just then Tom McLowry, who got behind his horse, fired under the animal’s neck and bored a hole right through Morgan sideways.’ During the last 10 years of his life, Wyatt collaborated three times with biographers. In 1919 Forrestine Hooker, the daughter-in-law of Wyatt’s cattle baron friend Henry Hooker, wrote in her unpublished 85-page manuscript ‘An Arizona Vendetta’ that Tom McLaury used a gun at the street fight and ‘ducked under the neck of a horse and fired at Morgan Earp’ — a shot that Hooker also called the ‘first shot of the gunfight’ and that went crossways through Morgan Earp’s shoulders. Wyatt’s second attempt at recording his memoirs was written by his long-time confidant John Flood Jr. in the 1920s. Flood’s 350-page tome obliquely describes Tom McLaury with a gun with the words, ‘And a ring of smoke drifted into the lot from beneath the neck of Tom McLowery’s horse, the first shot of the day.’ And a map that Wyatt and Flood drew marks a spot near the corner of Third and Fremont streets with the handwritten notation: ‘Wesley Fuller picked up Tom McLowery’s gun from body at 3rd and Fremont Street.’ So two of Wyatt’s biographers wrote that Tom McLaury not only had a gun but also fired the first shot of the gunfight. While collaborating with Wyatt in 1928, Stuart Lake took ponderous notes that historians now call the ‘Earp/Lake Notes.’ In them, Lake wrote: ‘Tom jumped to get back of brother’s horse….Tom shot under horses neck 2 [shots] hitting Morg….Say Tom unarmed. When fell, gun in hand. Wes Fuller picked up gun, put in his pocket. [illegible; Fuller’s?] father told Wyatt, had Tom’s gun.’ When Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, Lake’s biography of Wyatt, was published in 1931, however, Lake merely wrote that after the first shots were fired by Wyatt, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton, ‘Tom McLowery jumped behind Frank’s horse [it was actually Billy Clanton’s horse], drawing his gun and shooting under the animal’s neck at Morgan Earp.’ Lake added, ‘Sensing that Tom McLowery was now the most dangerous adversary, Wyatt ignored Billy Clanton’s fire as Tom again shot underneath the pony’s neck and hit Morg.’ And Lake ended with, ‘Tom McLowery was firing his third shot.’ The trouble is, some historians don’t believe that Wyatt Earp ever told the truth in his life. So that leaves us with four largely forgotten witnesses: The first person to state in print that Tom McLaury had a gun was miner Ruben F. Coleman, who was quoted in the October 27 issue of the Epitaph. He said that on the day of the gunfight ‘Tom McLaury fell first, but raised and fired again before he died.’ But by the time he testified in the coroner’s inquest a day later, Coleman was quoted in the Hayhurst transcription as saying, ‘Tom McLaury, after the first two shots were fired, ran down Fremont Street and fell….’ Coleman added, ‘I think that the report I gave to the Epitaph was pretty near correct as published,’ but he still said nothing about McLaury raising up and firing again, as he had in the Epitaph article. And Coleman closed his testimony by flatly saying: ‘I did not see Tom McLaury with a pistol,’ adding, ‘My mind is a little confused about that part of it.’ Ruben Coleman’s son, Walter R. Coleman, owned a restaurant in Tombstone and might have been buying rustled beef. If so, Ruben, like his son, would have favored the Cowboys over the Earps. Ruben Coleman’s waffling in his coroner’s inquest statements suggests that the Cowboy faction might have ‘refreshed’ his memory in its zeal to get the Earps and Doc hanged for murder. Therefore, the logical conclusion is to believe that Coleman’s initial knee-jerk statement in the Epitaph that Tom McLaury did have a gun is the truth. A second ‘forgotten’ witness was Mrs. J.C. Colyer of Kansas City, who was visiting with her sister in Tombstone that day. When the shooting erupted, Mrs. Colyer was sitting in a buggy in front of the post office on the southeast corner of Fremont and Fourth streets, less than a block away from the vacant lot. She returned to Kansas City, and her belated account of the gunfight was published in the December 30, 1881, issue of the Tombstone Epitaph: ‘The cowboys opened fire on them. And you never saw such shooting. One of the cowboys, after he had been shot three times, raised himself on his elbow and shot one of the officers and fell back dead….[A]nother used his horse as a barricade and shot under his neck.’ And since other testimony confirms that neither Billy Clanton nor Frank McLaury ever got behind a horse to use it as a barricade, then it could only have been Tom McLaury that Mrs. Colyer saw shooting under the horse’s neck. The biggest key to the question of whether Tom McLaury had a gun is the testimony of another impartial witness, laundryman Peter H. Fellehy. According to the wording of the Hayhurst transcript of the coroner’s inquest, Fellehy testified: After the shooting commenced…,[t]he younger one of the Earps was firing at a man behind the horse. Holliday was also firing at the same man behind the horse, and firing at a man who had run by him to the opposite side of the street. Then I see the man who had the horse let go the reins of the bridle and kept staggering all the time, until he fell on his back near a horse [emphasis added]. He still held his pistol in his hand, but [I] did not see it go off after he had fell. I then went to the young man who was lying on the sidewalk and offered to pick him up….I picked up a revolver that was lying five feet from him and laid it at his side. This was the man that lay on the north side of Fremont Street. Fellehy’s words make it clear that the ‘man behind the horse’ that Doc and Morgan were shooting at was a different man than the one that Doc shot at who ran ‘to the opposite side of the street’ and collapsed on the sidewalk on the north side of Fremont Street. Based on other testimony in the Spicer hearing, we know that this second man, who led his horse out of the vacant lot but was never behind the horse, and who then fell on the north side of Fremont Street, was Frank McLaury. So Fellehy’s ‘man behind the horse’ has to be either Billy Clanton or Tom McLaury. And we also know from other testimony that Billy Clanton never got near his horse. Therefore, Fellehy’s ‘man behind the horse’ who ‘fell on his back near a horse ‘ and’still held his pistol in his hand’ could only have been Tom McLaury. But this basic Fellehy evidence doesn’t stop there. I emphasized the word ‘horse’ in Fellehy’s testimony, because the wording in the versions of his testimony that appeared in the Nugget and the Epitaph contains two startling exceptions to the wording in the Hayhurst transcript: The Nugget states that the ‘man with the horse…was staggering all the time until he fell; he had his pistol still when he fell.’ And the Epitaph version quotes Fellehy as saying, ‘Then I saw the man who held the horse let go the bridle and keep staggering until he fell, his back within a few feet of a house [emphasis added]; had a pistol in his hand, but I did not see it go off.’ And so, we see that the Hayhurst transcript version of Fellehy’s testimony states that the ‘man behind the horse’ with a pistol fell on his back near a ‘horse,’ while the Epitaph version states that he fell with his back within a few feet of a ‘house.’ That difference in one letter in one word of Fellehy’s testimony brings us to another ‘forgotten’ witness in the coroner’s inquest, ‘mining man’ Charles Hamilton ‘Ham’ Light, who was in his room at the Aztec House on the corner of Third and Fremont streets when he heard two shots and ‘jumped’ to his side window on Third Street looking up Fremont Street. According to the October 29 Nugget, Light testified, ‘I saw a man reel and fall on the corner of Fremont and Third streets on the south side, right directly on the corner of the house [emphasis added]….I saw another man standing, leaning, against a building joining the vacant lot….The man never stirred after he fell at the corner of the street….I did not see that man fire any shot.’ Because Light didn’t see the beginning of the gunfight, he also couldn’t have seen the man who fell on the corner fire any shots. But Light’s testimony clearly identifies two different men being shot on the south side of Fremont street — Billy Clanton leaning against the Harwood house in the vacant lot, and Tom McLaury falling on the southeast corner of Fremont and Third. Therefore, Light’s man beside the ‘house’ confirms that Fellehy’s man with a ‘pistol’ beside the ‘house’ — not Hayhurst’s ‘horse’ — could only have been the same man, Tom McLaury. There is other fodder to add to the stewpot of controversy about whether or not Tom McLaury had a gun, the most notable being the surprising fact that Fellehy, Light and Coleman were never called to testify in the murder hearing. The reason the Earps didn’t call Fellehy was probably because in the coroner’s inquest Fellehy had also offered the damaging testimony that before the Earps and Holliday had started their walk toward the vacant lot, Fellehy had heard Virgil Earp say: ‘Those men have made their threats. I will not arrest them, but I will kill them on sight.’ And that kind of hearsay evidence could have upped the ante of potential ‘murder’ charges against the Earps and Doc to ‘premeditated murder,’ which really could have been a hanging offense! And the reason the Cowboy faction didn’t call Coleman was probably because at the coroner’s inquest he had altered his initial testimony in the October 27 Epitaph so dramatically that it was obvious that the Cowboys had influenced his ‘memory.’ And with the Cowboy strategy based on the accusation that the Earps and Doc had fired first and had also shot down the ‘unarmed’ Tom McLaury, they didn’t want Coleman reverting to his original Epitaph story that Tom McLaury did have a gun. Thus, we have three witnesses besides the Earps — Coleman, Mrs. Colyer and Fellehy — all verifying that Tom McLaury did have, and use, a gun during the gunfight. And simple logic backs them up. One of the few things that is known for certain about the gunfight is that Doc Holliday killed Tom McLaury with a blast from a double-barreled shotgun. And in the Spicer murder hearing, Wyatt testified that he fired first at Frank McLaury and next at Tom McLaury. So the obvious question is, when Wyatt and Doc had Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury shooting at them from 15 feet away, would they have risked their lives and wasted a shot or shots firing at Tom McLaury if he didn’t have a gun? This article was written by Old West historian, author and gun authority Lee A. Silva and originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Wild West magazine. Lee A. Silva of Sunset Beach, Calif., is a frequent contributor to Wild West Magazine. His Wyatt Earp: A Biography of the Legend, Volume I: The Cowtown Years was published in 2002. Next up in the four-volume series is Volume II: Tombstone, the Legend Making Years. His Web site is www.wyattearpbook.com. Also suggested for further reading: Murder in Tombstone: The Forgotten Trial of Wyatt Earp, by Steven Lubet; The O.K. Corral Inquest, by Al Turner; and Wyatt Earp Speaks, by John Richard Stephens. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Wild West magazine today! Links Did Wyatt Earp carry a Buntline Special?I’ve been watching the old western, "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" on TV. There was recently an episode where Ned Buntline gave Wyatt the famous Buntline Special. Did Wyatt really carry the pistol, and before receiving it did he carry two regular sized Colts? Thank you. ? ? ? The Life and Legend […] Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp, by Ann Kirschner“The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a love story, fought over Josephine Marcus, a woman of beauty and spunk barely out of her teens..." says author Ann Kuschner. Wild West – June 2013 – Letters From ReadersIn the June issue of Wild West, readers share dispatches about the history of Wild West magazine, old-time baseball in Colorado, the dragoon period of the American West and prolific Western author James D. Horan. Gunfights of the Arizona RangersOvershadowed by the famed Texas Rangers, this small band of lawmen roamed Arizona Territory in the early 1900s administering justice, sometimes in deadly frontier fashion Daily Quiz for March 30, 2013"Nothing’s So Sacred As Honor And Nothing’s So Loyal As Love" is the epitaph on this man’s tombstone. Cover Story at 25Wild West celebrates 25 years in publishing with a collection of all of the covers that have appeared since our premier issue in June 1988 Interview With Editor-Author Roy YoungRoy Young is editor of the Wild West History Association Journal and researches the West, including the tales of three Stil(l)wells. Wild West – April 2013 – Letters From ReadersIn the April issue of Wild West, readers share dispatches about Arizona Territory Sheriff Glenn Reynolds, as well as Wyatt Earp's gun-handling skills and the gun he used in that 1881 fight on Tombstone's Fremont Street. Book Review: When Law Was in the Holster, by John BoesseneckerIn this well-researched, lively biography John Boessenecker gives oft-overlooked Western lawman Bob Paul his due. Book Review: The McLaurys in Tombstone, Arizona, by Paul Lee JohnsonPaul Lee Johnson delves into the background of the McLaury brothers, best known for dying at the hands of the Earps and Doc Holliday during that infamous 1881 Tombstone gunfight. Murder Most Midsomer: How Life and Art Flow Together in the Market Town of WallingfordWallingford is a quiet riverside town on the Thames, with its violent history remembered as part of the distant past. It’s a picturesque backdrop for good old-fashioned murder Sitting on the south side of the River Thames a dozen miles below Oxford, Wallingford is a quiet, almost sleepy, market town of 7,000. Baskets of flowers […] Wild West – February 2013 – Letters From ReadersIn the February issue of Wild West, readers share dispatches about the Wells, Fargo & Co. ledgers, Tombstone (Ariz.) Judge Wells Spicer, the Little Bighorn battlefield and Australia's ties to Texas. Wild West – December 2012 – Table of ContentsThe December 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about the frontier friendship of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, a run-in between the U.S. Cavalry and Texian raiders near the Santa Fe Trail, Sheriff Glenn Reynolds fatal encounter with the notorious Apache Kid, Wild Bill Hickok's fatal encounter with a pair of drunken 7th Cavalry troopers, and latter-day train robber Buffalo Tom Vernon. Interview With Author-Comedienne Chris EnssProlific Western writer Chris Enss has delved into the lives of ordinary Westerners, though the extraordinary Custers have also drawn her interest. DVD Review: Frontier Marshal, by 20th Century FoxIn this new release of the fanciful 1939 version of Frontier Marshal, Randolph Scott portrays Wyatt Earp, Cesar Romero his friend Doc "Halliday." Letter From Wild West – December 2012Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday had a friendship as famed as their 1881 fight with the Cowboys in Tombstone. Wild West – October 2012 – Table of ContentsThe October 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about the reluctant participants of that October 1881 gunfight in Tombstone, a fight between Winchester-toting Rangers and a band of surprised Comanches and Kiowas, the lynching of hired gun Jim Miller, tombstones of the Western and famous, and the struggle between Spain and Russia for the California coast. Maurice Turetsky – Art of the WestMaurice Turetsky moved to Santa Fe at middle age with no notion of Billy the Kid - the figure he found has become highly personal in his artwork. Wild West – August 2012 – Table of ContentsThe August 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about the one and only photo of Billy the Kid, the 1857 Utah Expedition, the myth of smallpox being spread to Indians in blankets, Arizona Territory lawman Bob Paul's gunfight in Mexico's Sierra Madre, and Northern Cheyenne Chief Little Wolf. Gunfight of the Sierra MadreAlready famous for his daring deeds in California and Arizona Territory, lawman Bob Paul outdid himself in Chihuahau, Mexico, in a showdown with a trio of desperate armed train robbers DVD Review: Wyatt Earp’s RevengeDirector Michael Feifer had plenty of good material in the real-life killing of Dodge City prostitute Dora Hand, but he fails to deliver the goods in this straight-to-DVD film. Links 2 Wild West – August 2012 – Letters From ReadersIn the August issue of Wild West, readers share dispatches about the Doorkeeper to the President, the Newell (S.D.) Museum, screen legend and artist Buck Taylor, Cowtown memories from Fort Worth, Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker, tall-riding Alan Ladd and buffalo soldiers. Wild West – June 2012 – Table of ContentsThe June 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about Libbie Custer's enduring love for her "Boy General," the "Arapaho Five" at the Little Bighorn, plural marriage among the Plains Indians, Kansas' lethal innkeepers the Bloody Benders, and the long-gone California grizzlies. Book Review: Deep Trails in the Old West, by Frank CliffordThe memoir Deep Trails in the Old West highlights Welsh-born ranch hand Frank Clifford, a peripheral player in the dramatic events that rocked frontier New Mexico. Book Review: Judge William H. Stilwell, by Roy B. YoungRoy Young highlights Arizona Territory Judge William H. Stilwell in this biography, the first volume of a trilogy about the Stilwell family in the Wild West. A Killer’s MetamorphosisFrank James, Jesse James' older brother, renounced the outlaw life after Jesse's death and slipped quietly into old age. 2012 Spur Award Finalist: Walter Noble Burns – The Wild West’s Premier MythmakerWalter Noble Burns wrote a trilogy that made household names of Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Joaquín Murrieta. But the author’s own story is little known. Book Review: Wyatt Earp in San Diego, by Garner A. PalenskeGarner Palenske relates the little-known story of Wyatt and Josie Earp's post-Tombstone life in San Diego. Wild West – February 2012 – Table of ContentsThe February 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about the Homestead Act of 1862, Prohibition cowboy Richard "Two-Gun" Hart, Arizona's and New Mexico's respective statehood centennials, the conflicting stories of a Fort Laramie hanging, and the Battle of the Hot Springs (Ark.) Gamblers. Buck Taylor – Art of the WestBuck Taylor, former cast member of the TV series Gunsmoke, now creates historically themed paintings and posters for various rodeos. Interview With Author Lee SilvaCalifornia-based author Lee Silva has earned his reputation as a Western historian, Old West firearms expert and Wyatt Earp authority. Wild West – February 2012 – Letters from ReadersIn the February issue of Wild West, readers bend our ears about Old West writer Eugene Field, big-screen look-alikes, Smith & Wesson No. 3s, Arizona gun laws, and a long-forgotten gunfight in Bodie, Calif. Letter from Wild West – February 2012In 2012 Americans will mark the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act, while New Mexicans and Arizonans throw their respective 100th birthday parties. Daily Quiz for October 26, 2011Known for his field-preaching, this evangelist sometimes used his father’s tombstone as a pulpit. Wild West – October 2011 – Table of ContentsThe October 2011 issue of Wild West features stories about the Cheyenne-crushing 1876 Battle of Red Fork, haunted hotels of the West, the legacy of Texas gunfighters, Western mythmaker Walter Noble Burns, and Phoenix marshal and Mexican-American advocate Enrique Garfias. Tim Trask – Art of the WestSculptor Tim Trask gives Tombstone founder Ed Schieffelin another marker. Interview With Author Jeff GuinnIn an early Christmas present for Earp enthusiasts, Santa Claus author Jeff Guinn tackles the O.K. Corral. Letter from Wild West – October 2011Texas produced more than its fair share of Old West gunslingers. Daily Quiz for June 15, 2011Before they opened their bicycle shop, the Wright brothers ran this business. Interview With Outlaw-Lawman Biographer John BoesseneckerIn his latest book the attorney tracks bandido Tiburcio Vásquez. The Gila Monster Had a Killer ReputationFacts and myths about the most notorious lizard ever to spread its venom in the Southwest. Wild West – August 2011 – Letters from ReadersIn the August issue of Wild West, readers bend our ears about Curly Bill Brocius, the Alamo and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Links 3 Interview with Joe Galloway: Soldier’s Reporter Speaks His MindHis unyielding commitment to truth, and to Vietnam vets, is as solid as ever Baseball in the WestNew Yorker Alexander Cartwright brought the game to the frontier during the California Gold Rush, making it truly the national pastime. Combat! Arrives on DVDRelive the longest-running World War II television series. Wild West – February 2011 – Table of ContentsThe February 2011 issue of Wild West features stories about the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo (with an aerial photo-illustration of how the mission-turned-fort looked in March 1836), persisting myths about the Alamo, "Curly Bill" Brocius' pre-Tombstone brushes with the law, a Texas cattleman's tryst with a Comanche girl, and the hard last years of Calamity Jane. New West Showgirls Show Old West GravesBob Stinson likes to photograph modern Las Vegas showgirls at the graves of Old West characters like Doc Holliday, a unusual tribute to the dancehall girls who filled the dreams of cowboys on the trail. Gib Singleton – Art of the WestGib Singleton's bronze "Tombstone" captures the emotional charge of that fateful day at the O.K. Corral in October 1881. Wild West – February 2011 – Letters from Readers‘The gunfight made Tombstone the major tourist and history buff destination it is today. Since it is the pivotal town attraction, why not render the site to be historically accurate?’ Benefit of the Doubt I am always amazed by Earp apologists. Lee Silva writes in his October 2010 article [“The Mysterious Morgan Earp”], “In those […] Letter from Wild West – February 2011Few frontier women remain in Americans' memories these decades later, but Calamity was a hard-drinking, big-talking exception even in her day. Dark Days in Paris, the City of LightWorld War II left a winding trail through the city best known for its art and culture. Learning the Ropes of Combat CoverageOn a slow boat to Saigon in 1965, an aspiring war reporter learns valuable lessons that would serve him well in his tumultuous first weeks as a stringer in Vietnam, when he assigns himself each morning to be where the action is, chasing rumors of war Wild West – October 2010 – Table of ContentsThe October 2010 issue of Wild West features stories about Morgan Earp, death in the West, a March 1866 ambush of an Army escort wagon at Cottonwood Wash in Arizona Territory, Old West towns that fought back against outlaws and a May 1898 gunfight at the Tunnel Saloon in Florence, Arizona Territory. Letter from Wild West – October 2010Such famous (and infamous) brothers as the Earps, Mastersons, Chisums, Daltons, Youngers and Jameses made their mark on the Western frontier. Morgan Earp is the cover subject of the October Wild West. The Spy Who Saved the SovietsThe seductive spy Richard Sorge, a German in Japan, paved Stalin's path to victory Wild West – August 2010 – Table of ContentsThe August 2010 issue of Wild West features stories about Cheyenne warrior Roman Nose, Indian captive Cynthia Ann Parker and her Comanche husband Peta Nocona, bandido Tiburcio Vàsquez, frontier Fort Gibson and Wyatt Earp's turn in the ring as a boxing referee. Wild West – August 2010 – Letters from Readers‘There’s a very important element of classical drama involved with Wyatt that we don’t have with Virgil—Wyatt’s good guy/bad guy friendship with Doc Holliday’ Pony Express Rider I just perused the April 2010 edition of your magazine. On P. 31 the caption identifies the photo as an 1861 photo of a Pony Express rider. This […] Wild West – April 2010 – Letters from Readers‘I was rather shocked to read the interview with Boyer and not see a single mention of the fact that the University of Arizona Press dropped I Married Wyatt Earp from publication’ Walker Look-Alike If you shaved off the beard, cut the hair and trimmed the eyebrows, Western trailblazer/explorer Joseph Rutherford Walker would pass for […] ‘American Experience’ Explores Wyatt EarpThe life of controversial lawman Wyatt Earp is the subject of an episode of American Experience on PBS. This History Net article includes an interview with the show's writer, producer and director, Rob Rapley. Wild West – February 2010 – Table of ContentsThe February 2010 issue of Wild West features stories about horse trading in the early West, bear-tamer extraordinaire Grizzly Adams, a Valentine's Day shootout at the Montana Territory hamlet of Stoneville, the lawyer who stood up to Jesse James, and a case of soldier justice at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. Interview with Author Wm. B. ShillingbergAfter tackling tough Tombstone in print, author Wm. B. Shillingberg gets the hell into Dodge. Glenn Boyer Answers Six Questions About Wyatt EarpAuthor Glenn Boyer answers some of the oft-asked questions posed by Wyatt Earp fans. Scott Dyke on Glenn Boyer and the Boyer CollectionScott Dyke, a former Wall Street broker, banker, businessman and investigator talks with Wild West magazine about the extensive Glenn Boyer collection relating to Wyatt Earp, his family and his contemporaries. Links 4 Wild West – December 2009 – Table of ContentsThe December 2009 issue of Wild West features stories about Tombstone lawman Virgil Earp, the 1841 fight between Texas Rangers and Comanches at Pinta Trail Crossing, the tragic killing of Dodge City doyenne Dora Hand, Cornelia Adair's rise to ranch baroness and a gruesome 1891 lynching in Bridgeport, Calif. Letter from Wild West – December 2009Virgil Earp was the man with the star at O.K. Corral, but younger brother Wyatt stole his thunder in the history books. The Killing of Dora HandIn October 1878, Texas cowboy Spike Kenedy went gunning for Dodge City Mayor Dog Kelley, his rival for the affections of stage performer Dora Hand. In a tragic twist of fate, Kenedy instead shot Hand, sparking a determined manhunt. Not Married to Wyatt Earp – Glenn Boyer InterviewControversial writer Glenn Boyer talks to Wild West magazine about his career, his controversies and his main man - Wyatt Earp. Wild West – October 2009 – Table of ContentsThe October 2009 issue of Wild West features stories about Teddy Roosevelt's Dakota days and the cowboys that rode in his inaugural parade three decades later, as well as classic Western quotes, poet bandit Red McNeil, Wyatt Earp biographer Glenn Boyer and massive Lewis freight wagons. Boyer vs. Tefertiller: Penslingers Face off over Wyatt EarpWyatt Earp biographers Glenn Boyer and Casey Tefertiller square off about Earp, their respective research and claims made about one another's scholarship. Interview with Author-Playwright Louis KraftAuthor/Playwright Louis Kraft turns his attention to Indian agent Ned Wynkoop, portraying him onstage. Wild West – August 2009 – Letters from Readers‘The historical record documents rather conclusively that cannibalism did occur at the Donner Lake campsite, as well as at Alder Creek’ Charlie Russell’s Mountains Those are not the Bitterroot Mountains in Charles M. Russell’s 1912 painting Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross’ Hole (above), featured in the April 2009 “Art of the West.” Russell […] Wild West – June 2009 – Table of ContentsGeorge and Libbie Custer, the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition, scout Medicine Bill Comstock, Doc Holliday's nemesis Perry Mallon, and Monument Valley are all featured in the June 2009 issue of Wild West magazine. Wild West – June 2009 – Letters from Readers‘Nebo’s story would make a great movie, as would Eugene Blair, the Wells Fargo stagecoach shotgun guard. But what we really need is an accurate film on the life of William F. Cody’ Buffalo Bill Lover Your February 2009 issue of Wild West is the best yet. Not only for the excellent cover story on […] Daily Quiz for January 19, 2009Wyatt Earp died this year: 100 Greatest Western MoviesA panel of experts selected the 100 greatest Western movies of all time. History Net offers you a chance to vote for your top choice and asks what movies were overlooked, which ones don't belong, and what is the most historically accurate Western. What Movies Most Accurately Reflect the Historic Old West?Which movies have done the best job of reflecting the historic Old West, as opposed to the sensationalized view many have adopted? Daily Quiz for November 27, 2008“Wild Bill” Hickok was gunned down while playing poker in this town in the Dakotas. Wells Fargo Guard Eugene Blair – Service with a ShotgunWells Fargo stagecoach guard Eugene Blair was ‘quick of motion, ready and perfectly brave.' He struck fear into many a road agent in the Wild West. Nicholas Biddle:The Civil War’s First BloodJust days after Fort Sumter, a pro-Confederate mob in Maryland turned ex-slave Nicholas Biddle into the war's first casualty. 100 Greatest Westerns – Time’s a-wastingTime’s running out to cast your vote in the 100 Greatest Westerns preliminary rounds. Voting in that portion of the tournament ends at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (high noon in Tombstone) on Friday, December 12. The elimination rounds to choose the top Western of them all starts next week. Cast your vote now. Table of Contents – October 2008 Wild WestSubscribe to Wild West magazine today! FEATURES Cover Story War and Peace Section Peace on Paper, War on the Plains By Robert M. Utley Although many well-intentioned people strived for a fair and humane Indian policy, treaties, reservations and attempts at assimilation did not end native resentment or the bloodshed out West. Mapping the Indian […] Letters from Readers – October 2008 Wild WestReaders express their opinions on Bill Tilghman, what the "wild" in Wild West means, and Western movies from 1908's "A Bank Robbery" to 1976's Western comedy "Hawmps!" Letters from Readers – August 2008 Wild WestReaders' comments on Wyatt Earp, Bill Tilghman, and camel drivers of the Old West. Letters From Readers – June 2008 – Wild West Cold-blooded Custer After reading in your magazine about the battles led by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, I found him arrogant and bloodthirsty, ever eager to take more and more innocent lives. I found him only as noble or heroic as his historic equals—the slave traders, Adolph Hitler or more recently Ted Bundy and Jeffrey […] Links 5 Daily Quiz for February 14, 2008"Wild Bill" Hickok was gunned down while playing poker in this town in the Dakotas: Table of Contents – April 2008 – Wild WestSubscribe to Wild West magazine today! FEATURES The Making of Wyatt Earp’s Legend by Eric Weider and John Rose After Wyatt Earp died in January 1929, biographer Stuart Lake had to stand his ground against widow Josephine, who wrote, “Thus far, what I have read of the story impresses me more as that of the […] John Flood and Wyatt EarpSurely you’ve heard authors bemoan getting enough rejection slips from publishers to paper a room. But what if the author were the famed frontier lawman Wyatt Earp, and the man sending his book-length autobiography around was Western silent film idol William S. Hart? From about 1925 until Earp’s death in 1929, that pair of American […] Table of Contents – February 2008 – Wild WestSubscribe toWild Westmagazine today! FEATURES The Tigers of the Southwest By John Rose Religiously, medicinally and militarily attuned to their often harsh environment, well-trained Apache warriors were part of one of the greatest light cavalry and guerrilla fighting forces in the world. Apache Country See the places in Arizona Territory, New Mexico Territory and northern […] Letter From Wild West – February 2008No Dodging the Question: Dodge City, Kan., is Tops No other town better defines the Wild West. The West has always been more than just wide-open spaces. Think back to the Anasazis and their pueblos and then to Santa Fe (founded in 1609) and the other planned towns of the Spanish empire. Now jump ahead […] The Roman Navy: Masters of the MediterraneanMarcus Vipsanius Aggripa's innovative tactics gave Octavian's Roman fleet a victory over Marc Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. Rome was the dominant naval power in the Mediterranean for four centuries. Civil War Veterans Get New Tombstones, RecognitionHickory Daily Record (NC) | 2007-11-05 Daily Quiz for September 27, 2007Wyatt Earp died this year: Table of Contents – October 2007 – Wild WestSubscribe toWild Westmagazine today! FEATURES Oklahoma: The Sooner the Better By Robert Barr Smith These Boomers had nothing to do with babies or birth rates; these Sooners had nothing to do with college football. But with their futures at stake, these bold pioneers appeared in the territory in baby-boomerlike numbers and rushed like Jim Thorpe […] Wyatt Earp in SeattleGambling was illegal in Seattle in 1899, but three gambling houses existed in a combine run by gambling kingpin John Considine. The established gamblers paid their fines to the city and county and were prepared to crush anyone who dared enter their territory and open up a gambling house. No one opposed the combine until […] Table of Contents – August 2007 – Wild WestSubscribe toWild Westmagazine today! FEATURES Geronimo and Chatto: Alternative Apache Ways By Edwin R. SweeneyBy the middle of May 1885, Chatto had two compelling reasons to want to capture or kill his old Chiricahua Apache friend Geronimo—revenge and his desire to see his family again. The Silver King of Leadville and Baby DoeBy Bill HarrisMoney […] Letter From May 2007 America’s Civil War MagazineWhen pursuing the truth about history, few would be able to use, and few would likely approve of, the methods of Major General Smedley D. Butler. In 1921, when he doubted that “Stonewall” Jackson’s amputated left arm had been buried in a small cemetery on a tranquil Virginia farm, he ordered some of his Marines […] Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta PosseAt about 11:30 p.m. on December 28, 1881, some two months after the so-called Gunfight at the O.K. Corral had rocked Tombstone, assassins opened fire on City Police Chief Virgil Earp outside the Oriental Saloon in that same divided community. At least three men fired double-barrel shotguns from their dark hiding place across the street. […] Letters from Readers — April 2007 Wild West MagazineIKE STORY LIKEDI am writing you after reading John Rose’s excellent article “Twenty-Four Hours with Ike Clanton” in the October 2006 issue of Wild West Magazine. The article is one of the best simple synopses I’ve ever seen of what went on in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, on October 26, 1881. A personal hobby of mine […] The Hunting of Billy the KidA rugged bunch of Texas cowboys pursued the stock-stealing Kid; some of them helped Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett capture him.By Frederick Nolan Letters from Readers — November/December 2006 Civil War TimesSearching for a Hero I’d like to posthumously repay a debt to an old friend, who was always interested in the history of our town. When I was a young boy 6 or 7 years old I used to hang around the sporting goods store and listen to the old-timers talk. Many were the grandsons […] Charlie Russell’s Last LegacyBefore his heart gave out in 1926, famed Western artist Charles Marion Russell completed two incredible murals that provide a panoramic vision of the West. Spitting Lead in Leadville: Doc Holliday’s Last StandAlthough his glory years in Tombstone were behind him, down-on-his-luck Doc Holliday delivered a parting shot or two in Colorado.By Roger Jay Letters from Readers — October 2006 Wild West MagazinePONY EXPRESS — RIDE, CODY, RIDE Reading about the Pony Express in the April 2006 issue reminded me of the vicissitudes of history. No doubt our understanding changes through time, but this never guarantees more accuracy. While in the past few doubted that Buffalo Bill Cody rode for the Pony, today it seems the pendulum […] Twenty-Four Hours With Ike ClantonAll-night card games were hardly unusual at the Occidental Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. But the game that broke up at 7 o’clock on the morning of October 26, 1881, was one the players would never forget — nor would America, because four of the five participants had roles later that day in the most […] Peter Francisco: American Revolutionary War HeroYoung 'giant' Peter Francisco was the most renowned common soldier in the Continental Army -- and possibly in the entire history of the U.S. Army.By Michael D. Hull Links 6 The Real Men of DeadwoodThe 1870s Western mining town was chock-full of rough-and-tumble characters, many of whom -- like Wild Bill Hickok and Al Swearengen -- reappear in fine fettle on the hit HBO television series Deadwood.By Mary Franz Soldiers vs. Apaches: One Last Time at Guadalupe CanyonNearly 10 years after Geronimo called it quits following a massive manhunt, the U.S. Army began a smaller campaign against renegade Apaches. Bone Mizell: Cracker Cowboy of the Palmetto PrairiesBone Mizell was a hard-drinking cow hunter who, with an assist from artist Frederic Remington, became a legend in his own time in Florida's cattle country. Lew Wallace’s American Civil War CareerLong before he published Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace rose from a career as an obscure small-town Indiana lawyer to take a prominent role in the Civil War. World War II: Interview with Doolittle Raider James MaciaMajor James H. Doolittle was already a legend before 1st Lt. James H. Macia was assigned to serve under him. 'One thing was clear, Macia decided. This mission was very important if he was involved in it. America’s Civil War: Guerrilla Leader William Clarke Quantrill’s Last Raid in KentuckyWhen Confederate fortunes plummeted in Missouri, fearsome guerrilla leader William Clarke Quantrill and his band of hardened killers headed east to terrorize Union soldiers and civilians in Kentucky. It would be Quantrill's last hurrah. Mason County WarThe 1875 blood feud, also known as the Hoodoo War and featuring the likes of former Texas Ranger Scott Cooley and up-and-coming legend John Ringo, pitted German settlers against American-born cowboys. First Jewish-Roman War: Siege of JerusalemThe prosecution of one of the greatest sieges in ancient history offers a chance to assess the nature of Rome's military discipline and its importance to the success of the imperial army. Murder in Tombstone: The Forgotten Trial of Wyatt Earp (Book Review)Reviewed by Johnny D. Boggs By Steven LubetYale Univ. Press, New Haven, Conn., 2004 Is there anything left to say about the October 26, 1881, fight in which three Earp brothers and Doc Holliday killed Billy Clanton and brothers Tom and Frank McLaury in Tombstone, Arizona Territory? After all, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral […] Why Doc Holliday Left Georgia (Book Review)Reviewed by Louis Hart By Gene CarlisleCarl Isle Publishing, Macon, Ga. 2004 Doc Holliday was once a dentist in the East and later became a gambler and gunfighter in the West, most notably standing side by side with three Earp brothers in deadly Tombstone. People know that, and they no doubt believe they have a […] Gambling in the Old WestRecreation in the Old West oftentimes meant betting on the turn of a deck of cards. But for many colorful Westerners, gambling was a serious, sometimes deadly, business. Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Aspern-EsslingAt the twin villages of Aspern and Essling in the spring of 1809, Napoleon was prepared for battle with Austrian Archduke Charles. He was halfway across the Danube... and then came the flood tide! Faro: Favorite Gambling Game of the FrontierDid Hickok 'Buck the Tiger'? Did Holliday 'Twist the Tiger's Tail'? You bet. While the west was being won, many westerners were losing at Faro. Harry Potter’s ScotlandExploring the storied mountains and glens of the western Highlands with a 6-year-old would-be wizard. Picture of the Day: January 12Wyatt Earp Dies Frontiersman Wyatt Earp died on January 13, 1929, after an illustrious life in the West. Born in Illinois in 1848, he served as a lawman in Wichita and Dodge City, Kansas, as well as Tombstone, Arizona Territory, where Wyatt and his brothers Morgan and Virgil were notorious for violent clashes with outlaws. […] Captain Eddie Rickenbacker: America’s World War I Ace of AcesWhen America's WWI Ace of Aces Edward Rickenbacker became president of Eastern Air Lines, he said: 'I will always keep in mind that I am in the greatest business in the world ... and I can serve humanity more completely in my line of endeavor than in any other.' Gem Saloon ShootoutWilliam Rayner fashioned himself a Southern gentleman, but the citizens of El Paso usually gave him a wide berth. It took a stranger in town to cut him down to size. The Dodge City WarWhen saloon owner Luke Short was told to get out of Dodge in 1883, he went. But he soon came back, and he was joined by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday. Nellie Cashman: Female Miner, Prospector and PhilanthropistAlthough known for her charity, Nellie Cashman was a dedicated and knowledgeable miner who searched the west for the 'Big Bonanza.' Napoleonic Wars: Women at WaterlooAs was the case throughout the Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo saw its share of female participants -- and casualties. Warren Earp: The Little BrotherOvershadowed by his older brothers, Warren Earp struggled to live up to the Earp name.