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Tuesday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | October 26, 2010

Yeah, it’s a day early, but today is an important anniversary here. The Gunfight at the OK Corral occurred 129 years ago today. We all know the story, so here are a few facts you may not know:

1. The Gunfight at the OK Corral did not occur at the OK Corral. It occurred in a vacant lot between Fly’s Photograph Gallery and Harwood’s lumber yard on Fremont Street. The OK Corral is just down the street from the site.

2. The entire gunfight, start to finish, lasted about 30 seconds. Most believe there were less than 30 shots fired, and contrary to popular belief, none of the Earp faction carried their firearms in holsters. Their pistols were either in their pockets of their waistbands. Doc Holliday carried a shotgun under his coat.

3. Virgil Earp was the only experienced shooter, due to his service in the Civil War. Billy Claiborne was involved in a prior gunfight, but fled the OK Corral before the shooting, claiming he was unarmed.

Topics: HHH | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Tuesday History Highlight”

  1. Gunnutmegger Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    The only people at the OK Corral who did not keep fighting after being shot were those that Doc Holliday shot with his Greener 10ga double-barrelled shotgun. Everyone else was able to keep shooting after sustaining potentially fatal wounds.

    More info on the shootout:

  2. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Gunnutmegger – You can never go wrong with a shotgun. I always cringed a little when I got a Person with a Weapon call, and the weapon was a shotgun.

  3. John D Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I’ve been to Tombstone 3 times now, but someday I’d like to go on the actual anniversary of the gunfight. Love that town.

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 9:09 am

    John D – I was there in August 2006, the 125th anniversary of the gunfight. And it friggin’ rained most of the day. The re-enactment was canceled.

  5. Bob G. Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I saw this on some History Channel show…they recreated the real deal in detail.
    Sure doesn’t jive w/ the “hollywood” versions…
    Nice to hear the facts for a change.

    Very good post.

    Stay safe out there.

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Bob G. – They were also a lot closer than depicted in the films. Not to take anything away from Tombstone – they got a lot of things right.

  7. richard mcenroe Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Interesting note: There were two newspapers in Tombstone at the time, the Epitaph and the Daily Nugget. The Epitaph was in the pocket of the Clantons faction, and is the source for most revisionist denigrations of the Earps. These allegations went unchallenged for years, until a complete run of the Daily Nugget was found in an attic that countered the Epitaph claims and restored the Earps’ reputation as the peerless ‘Fighting Pimps’ of the West that they were…

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Richard – I just read a great book entitled, “.” It went through the history of the gunfight, Wyatt, Doc, and even Bat Masterson. The author took his material almost entirely from interviews and court documents. It’s pretty fair, and had a lot of information I didn’t previously know.

    The Epitath, Nugget war was featured. I’d highly recommend the book to anyone who is interested.

  9. Andrew Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Gotta love those Single Action Armys!

  10. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Andrew – Agreed. Classic cool.

  11. kaveman Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    If I remember correctly from my Tales of the Gun video series, Doc Holiday and his scatter gun was the only one who scored a hit for every shot fired.

    Movie factoid, in Tombstone, Sam Elliot fires 3 times with his double barrel without reloading.

    Gotta love Hollywood.

  12. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Kaveman – That makes me nuts, when they get the shots wrong. Doc also hit Tom McLaury, who was holding his horse, allegedly going for a rifle in the scabbard.

  13. Merovign Says:
    October 26th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    LEO and gun writer Massad Ayoob hypothesized that Wyatt Earp originated the “escalation of force” doctrine, from verbal orders, physical intimidation, non-lethal force and then lethal force – as policy.

    He also examined descriptions and records and Wyatt may have worn several layers of thin silk under his coat as a primitive “bulletproof vest.” Wyatt had a reputation for great luck in gunfights, it may have been more than just luck.

    I try to think of movies more as a story than as history – otherwise I get too annoyed. :)

  14. Skip Says:
    October 27th, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Wasen’t Wyatt mayor or sherriff of San Diego for awhile?

  15. Wyatt Earp Says:
    October 27th, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Merovign – Ayoob is most likely correct. Stories from the time said Wyatt was a quiet man but had an intimidating presence. People also knew that when it was time to throw down, Wyatt was up to the task.

    Didn’t hear about the silks story, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    Skip – He assisted the LAPD on a few assignments at the turn of the century, including a few “less than overt” fugitive missions south of the border.

  16. richard mcenroe Says:
    October 27th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Kaveman,Wyatt — it’s Sam Elliot. He can fire as many shots as he wants.

  17. realwest Says:
    October 27th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Howdy Wyatt! I’ve heard most of what you said before, and it’s mostly correct (e.g., it wasn’t at the OK corral it was in like a 30′ x 50′ alleyway near what is now Allen Street.
    My Dad, rip, graduated from Tombstone High School before WWII and his dad heard lots of stories about that gunfight and the participants.
    The only real bone I have to pick is this: Doc Holliday was indeed a real life man-killer. No less than the real Bat Masterson (who was a constable in a lot of cattle/gold/silver mining towns) moved to NYC where he became a sportswriter for – I think – the New York Mirror
    ultimately working his way up to editor. He described Doc as a skinny, not very tall mean and nasty man and that Doc had killed a lot of men, frequently over seemingly trivial matters, but Bat went on to say that he couldn’t recall Doc killing anyone who didn’t deserve killing though!