Marshal Earp keeps the law, first in Kansas and later in Arizona, using his over-sized pistols and a variety of sidekicks. Most of the saga is based loosely on fact, with historical badguys... See full summary »
Marshal Earp keeps the law, first in Kansas and later in Arizona, using his over-sized pistols and a variety of sidekicks. Most of the saga is based loosely on fact, with historical badguys and good guys, ending up with the famous shootout at the O.K. corral. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
From 1956 until 1959 the show was set in Dodge City, which was also the setting for Gunsmoke (1955). Marshall Matt Dillon is never mentioned, but in one episode Earp makes a passing reference to the Longbranch Saloon, a setting for much of the action on "Gunsmoke". See more »
"Long Live His Fame And Long Live His Glory And Long May His Story Be Told"
Buried in the credits of The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp is the one that lists Stuart N. Lake as the consultant. That makes it an official Earp project.
Wyatt Earp had the distinct advantage that he lived long enough to have outlived most of his contemporaries and then at the very end of his life in 1929 commissioned his memoirs. Writer Stuart N. Lake did a series of interviews with Wyatt before he died and it was on that basis that a fine biography was published about him. Of course it was strictly from the Earp point of view.
When Earp died, Lake became custodian of the legend. Most of the films subsequently made concerning Earp if you'll look at the credits are based on Lake's book. And of course Wyatt is a cowboy hero. It took the recent films by Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell to kind of put Earp and his accomplishments in perspective.
To deal with towns like the frontier Wichita, Dodge City, and Tombstone you couldn't be a Boy Scout. Wyatt Earp was certainly not that and neither were his brothers Virgil and Morgan. Still this show preserves the legend as it would since it was based on the book of the legend maker.
I don't think any real person has been so blessed as Wyatt Earp to have had the variety of people playing him. Tom Mix, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, James Stewart, James Garner as well as Russell and Costner, I can't think of anyone who's been better preserved for posterity by Hollywood.
Add to the list Hugh O'Brian who got his career role in this series and never was ever really able to shake loose from the casting. He's as good a cowboy hero as they come.
Many of the stories from the series came from Lake's book. I urge you to read it if you can find a copy. There have been a number of attempts to debunk the Earp legend, but his fame and glory will live long, just as the series theme tells us.
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