July 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 3
Tombstone, Arizona Territory
Doc Holliday, gam-bler, dentist, gunfighter who spent oneyear of his career in JacksboroWyatt Earp, U.S. MarshallVirgil Earp, brother, city marshalMorgan Earp, brotherIke Clanton, cowman, rustler,outlawBilly Clanton, brother, outlawFrank McLowry, rancher-rustlerTom McLowry, brother,rancher-rustlerBilly Clairborne, gunman, outlaw(later known as Billy the Kid)Wes Fuller, gunman, outlaw (maybe friend of Doc’s)John Behan, sheriff
ombstone was a booming sil-ver mining town. Wyatt Earptook a job there as marshal.Ike Clanton, rustler-cowman, was sonof Old Man Clanton who had ruled theterritory and the outlaws until hisrecent death.The outlaws didn’t want Wyattinterfering with their sources of income, which were rustling cattle andhelping themselves to silver bullionwhen it was being shipped from themines. (Wyatt was also an undercoveragent for Wells-Fargo.)Doc came to Tombstone because hewas a friend of Wyatt’s and becausethe boomtown was a rich source of income for gamblers. He bought asaloon there.Wyatt’s brothers came to Tombstoneat his request. Virgil accepted the jobas city marshal.
Date – October, 1881
Ike Clanton and five of his outlawcronies issued a challenge to theEarps.“Come fight us at the OK Corral. If you don’t you’ll be full of holes beforesunset.”Wyatt and his brothers had beenharassed continually by the outlawclan and had stood their ground,upholding the law and guarding thebullion from the mines. But if theyrefused this challenge they would haveto leave town in disgrace. The “Lawof the West” said you couldn’t back down from a direct challenge.The three Earps decided they wouldarrest Clanton and crew.With Sheriff Behan and other inter-ested parties acting as go-betweens,the challenge was issued and met.Behan reported, erroneously, that theoutlaws’ guns had been surrendered tohim. He had long been their friend,aiding them in their endeavors.The Earps decided to try for apeaceful arrest. They concealed alltheir weapons and made ready to walk down Fremont Avenue toward the OKCorral.Doc was eating (he never rosebefore noon) when he heard of thecoming altercation. Hurriedly, hegulped down his breakfast and joinedhis friends. Wyatt told him to stay outof it – it wasn’t his fight. Doc justlooked at him. He had always stood byWyatt and intended to now.Doc was bi-partisan, with friends onboth sides of the law.Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan were alllarge men, dressed in black. Theywore somber, set expressions as theystarted down the street, three of themgoing to arrest six outlaws.Doc, frail and weakly from “con-sumption,” dressed in his usual grayand wearing a topcoat, supported byhis ever-present cane, toddled alongbehind, whistling.Wyatt once said of Doc, “The onlytime he’s not nervous and shaky iswhen playing cards or in a gunfight.”Excited Tombstone citizens, whowere shielding themselves behinddoors and around corners of buildings,shouted, “Here they come!”Sheriff Behan hid in Fly’s Studioadjacent to the OK Corral, where hecould see the altercation. Wes Fullerducked out of the fight, perhapsbecause of his friendship with Doc, orperhaps because he knew how deadlyDoc was with a gun.Five outlaws were lined up along anadobe wall at the west end of theCorral. All wore visible guns. BillyClaiborne wore two guns in holsters.Billy and Ike Clanton and Frank McLowry each had single guns in hol-sters. Tom McLowry had one stuck inhis waistband.There was a rifle in each of thescabbards of the two saddled horsesnearby. Doc stopped in the alley toguard against an attack from thatdirection. The others went on, Virgil toface Claiborne and Ike, Wyatt beforeBilly Clanton and Frank McLowry,and Wyatt opposite Tom McLowry,
Please see page 4
By Wynelle Caitlin