The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West
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A New York Times bestseller, Jeff Guinn’s definitive, myth-busting account of the most famous gunfight in American history reveals who Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons and McLaurys really were and what the shootout was all about.
On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral would shape how future generations came to view the Old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons became the stuff of legends, symbolic of a frontier populated by good guys in white hats and villains in black ones. It’s a colorful story—but the truth is even better.
Drawing on new material from private collections—including diaries, letters, and Wyatt Earp’s own hand-drawn sketch of the shootout’s conclusion—as well as archival research, Jeff Guinn gives us a startlingly different and far more fascinating picture of what actually happened that day in Tombstone and why.
Behan graciously accepted two diamond studs and a quartz scarf pin as holiday gifts from his deputies and left for a few days to race his horse Little Nell in Tucson. Will McLaury finished disposing of his late brothers’ affairs and prepared to leave the next day for his home in Fort Worth. Josephine Marcus began her own preparations to return to her family in San Francisco—she left Tombstone either around Christmas or early in the new year, undoubtedly with Wyatt’s blessing and promise that they
manuscript contributed exactly nothing to my job.… Wyatt never dictated anything of his career to him, [Wyatt] told me.” My guess is that Lake saw the Flood manuscript, but never the interview notes on which Flood based it. Lake is correct that the manuscript is poorly written, but the notes themselves are fascinating and in many cases contradict versions of events as Lake wrote about them. Historian Anne E. Collier suggests that, over time, Wyatt honed the stories he told about his career,
coverage of, 183, 187, 240, 260, 281–82 notoriety of, 3 politics in, 4–5, 107, 111–13, 130, 131–32, 136, 143, 261, 264, 267, 269 ranching around, 68–69, 93–94 rat infestation in, 77–78 religion in, 146 revival of, 297, 298, 316–17 second fire in, 293–94 smallpox epidemic in, 273 social hierarchy in, 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 104, 105, 112, 113–14, 117–18, 145 sophistication of, 3, 76, 145, 166 vigilantism in, 5, 134, 135–36, 149, 154, 183, 186–87, 188–89, 190, 218, 223,
hadn’t stopped wanting to be the boss giving orders, instead of the hired hand carrying them out. In Dodge, that didn’t seem likely to happen, despite the fine work he’d done there. He’d shot it out successfully with a gun-waving Texan (George Hoy, probably) and faced down one of the most famous gunfighters on the frontier (Clay Allison, possibly). Even if the culprit hadn’t been convicted, he’d tracked and helped capture James Kenedy, who’d attempted to assassinate the mayor and did kill a
in law enforcement. Billy Breakenridge had been a freighter and served as an army scout. William Bell sold liquor in Charleston. Frank Stilwell previously owned and operated a saloon with Pete Spencer, whom Wyatt had arrested for selling stolen mules just a few months earlier. Stilwell was known locally for his habit of referring to money as “sugar.” He was also rumored to have been involved in a murder at the old Brunckow Mine in November 1879. Given the political realities, Johnny couldn’t hire