Tombstone
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John Henry "Doc" Holliday received a Degree of Dental Surgery from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery (now part of the University of Pennsylvania) in 1872 at the age of 20. Doc Holliday had dental offices in Atlanta, Dallas, and often practiced less formally on the side in his travels, most notably in Dodge City where he began his association with Wyatt Earp.

What is Doc's illness?

Doc Holliday suffered from tuberculosis. Historically, Doc is believed to have contracted the illness a decade before succumbing to it. One of the reasons Doc moved west and eventually to Arizona is because of the belief the dry air would ease his symptoms.

Doc is repeatedly referred to as a "lunger" in the film. "Lunger" was a slang term used during the era for someone suffering from tuberculosis, also referred to as consumption.

Wyatt is a faro dealer. Faro is a card game that enjoyed its greatest popularity during the 19th century, particularly in the Old West. It is most similar to the contemporary game of mini-baccarat. Faro had a notorious reputation for cheating among dealers and creating poverty among gamblers. Faro rapidly lost popularity during the first half of the 20th century and today is usually only played by Civil War and Old West re-enactors.

Mattie is addicted to laudanum. Laudanum is an opiate tincture, in other words, opium extracted into alcohol. Laudanum was a common pain reliever and analgesic, widely prescribed for a variety of conditions. Additionally, laudanum, like other opiates, was legal to purchase without prescription in the United States during the 19th century.

Laudanum was often prescribed to patients to induce sleep, which explains why Mattie spends most of her days lying in bed.

Curly Bill visits the local opium den before shooting up a portion of town, ending with the death of Fred White. Opium dens were common and legal in the United States in the 19th century, stereotypically operated by Asian immigrants.

Curly Bill was in a highly altered state of mind when he shot Fred White, and it is difficult to discern his intentions at the time. However, after the shooting, Curly Bill seems noticeably concerned that Fred has been shot, which suggests the shooting was an accidental discharge.

However, any person who is skilled with firearms will tell you a gun won't go off unless you pull the trigger (they also do not go off if you drop them on the ground as depicted in MANY films). And with a single-action revolver as everyone used back then, you have to cock the hammer before it will fire. As you hear Curly Bill doing just as he raised to Fred White's chest. This suggests he fired it on purpose, but as previously stated; Curly Bill showed concern for Fred, so it could be said that because he was highly intoxicated he may have meant to fire the gun just to scare Fred but wound up shooting him. Also when Wyatt was hauling Curly Bill away, Curly Bill was laughing. Perhaps laughing that he got away with shooting Fred, or just because he was high and found everything amusing.

Historically, the incident happened very much as it occurs in the movie. Fred White (though only 31 at the time, much younger than the older man depicted in the film) was accidentally shot while disarming Curly Bill. Curly Bill allegedly regretted the shooting and personally liked Fred White. It was believed that Brocious's pistol had a defective trigger that caused it to fire when half-cocked, and that White himself discharged the pistol (by accident) when trying to disarm Brocious.

Testimony given by White before he died supports the fact that the shooting was accidental. Brocius was eventually acquitted of any any wrong-doing, due partly to White's testimony, with Judge Nuegass commenting that the shooting was "Homicide by Misadventure" or, in other words, an accident.

As depicted in the film, the real Wyatt Earp pistol whipped Curly Bill and helped prevent a possible lynching by escorting Curly Bill out of the county to Tucson the next day. However, in reality, Wyatt Earp testified on behalf of Curly Bill at his trial, stating he too believed the shooting was an accident.

Despite his supposed remorse over killing White, Brocious did not take kindly to Wyatt's having pistol-whipped him, and this incident was arguably the first source of conflict between the Earps and Cowboys.

In the film Wyatt Earp, it was depicted as a deliberate shooting.

Wyatt Earp is shown with other handguns earlier in the film, but after being sworn in by Virgil, he goes back to his room to change his coat and retrieve a boxed revolver from a dresser drawer. The camera scrolls slowly across the weapon (this attention is not given to other firearms in the movie) and the music sounds triumphantly. There is a custom engraved shield with Wyatt Earp's name on the handle of the firearm.

The boxed handgun is a Colt Revolver-Carbine, popularly known as the "Buntline Special." The weapon was first written about by controversial Earp biographer Stuart N. Lake. He described the revolver as a version of the classic Colt's Single Action Army "Peacemaker" with an extra long barrel. In Lake's book, the pistol sported a 12 inch barrel. However, in Stuart Lake's original interview notes, it is indicated that Wyatt's pistol had a 10 inch barrel. The only witness to describe the gun Wyatt Earp used on the day of the O.K. Corral gunfight was a Tombstone butcher who described Earp's weapon as being "fairly large...14 to 16 inches in length". Since a Colt's .45 with a 10 inch barrel measures out to being exactly 15 inches in length, and since Lake's original notes indicate Wyatt's pistol had a 10 inch barrel, screenwriter Kevin Jarre had Kurt Russell carry that specific sized revolver.

Lake attributed the Buntline Special to popular dime novelist Ned Buntline, and wrote that Buntline presented five Buntline Specials to Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, Charlie Bassett and Neal Brown from Dodge City. Researchers have never found any record of an order received by the Colt company, and Ned Buntline's alleged connections to Wyatt Earp has been disputed.

In the film, Wyatt does not regularly carry the Buntline Special until the fight at the O.K. Corral, after which he uses the gun for the entirety of the Earp Vendetta Ride. There is no conclusive proof as to the kind of pistol Wyatt carried on a regular basis. As a gambler, Wyatt Earp favored shorter barreled pistols which were easy to conceal. As a lawman, Earp favored longer barreled pistols which could be used as a club to beat an adversary.

While there is no record that Wyatt Earp was actually presented with any firearm by Ned Buntline. The Buntline Special is still widely associated with Wyatt Earp. In the Hugh O'Brian "Wyatt Earp" TV series, O'Brian carried a pistol with a 12 inch barrel. In the film - GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, actor Burt Lancaster has one scene where he shows his deputy the Buntline Special. In that scene, Lancaster holds a Colt's with a 12 inch barrel. Such revolvers with 16-inch barrels were displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition and over-long barrels were readily available from Colt at one dollar per inch over 7.5 inches. 19th century Colt Single Action Army revolvers are among the most sought after firearms by collectors and command high prices. The extra long barreled pistols are especially valued because they are so very rare. After the "Wyatt Earp" TV series became popular, various Colt revolvers with long (12" or 16") barrels were referred to as "Colt Buntlines". Colt re-introduced the revolvers in the second generation revolvers from 1956 onward. Several companies continue to manufacture revolvers that they market as a collector's edition of the "Wyatt Earp Revolver". Was Wyatt Earp's fabled long barreled pistol a myth or a reality? Historians are still debating that question.

It is not explained how the building caught fire. However, the burning building was likely included in the scene to symbolize a number of devastating fires that took place in Tombstone in June 1881 and May 1882. Wooden construction, combined with lack of water, resulted in considerable fire damage, one factor leading to Tombstone's decline to near-ghost town status.

The fire could also be symbolism for the biblical theme of Death coming, and hell following.

Doc leaves Kate in Tombstone to join Wyatt, Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, Texas Jack Vermillion and Sherman McMasters in what history calls the "Earp Vendetta Ride" against the Cowboys. The film gives no explanation as to why Doc abandons his partner in Tombstone. Historically, there is evidence that Kate was being wooed by Johnny Ringo at the time, but this is not suggested in the film.

However, a deleted scene from the film shows an argument between the couple as Doc is preparing to follow the Earp caravan to the train station. Kate is upset that Doc is leaving to join Wyatt and asks what will happen to her without Doc.

Doc responds, Well I guess it means you are without a meal ticket. After a few more words, Doc rides off, leaving an hysterical Kate behind.

Doc may have been planning to leave Kate, who he met while she was working as a prostitute, well before the attack on Virgil and murder of Morgan. Following his doctors appointment, Doc tells Kate that it may be time to redefine the nature of their association. When Kate says, Ive always been a good woman to you, Doc responds 'True, you are a good woman, then again, you may be the Anti-Christ'. This scene suggests Doc had been thinking about leaving Kate even before the showdown at the O.K. Corral.

Some believe he felt he was going to die on this ride with Wyatt, or shortly after, so he thought it better for her to cut ties now.

In a book on Doc Holliday's life written by a family member of Doc's, whose members are still around today, it is stated that Kate was actually with Doc when he died, in Colorado, not Wyatt. She wrote a letter that was sent with his belongings to his cousin. So he did in fact die with Kate by his side.

The film shows a rider for the Cowboys dragging McMasters' corpse on a rope, leaving him behind as an incentive for Wyatt to accept Ringo's challenge to a duel. No explanation is given as to how the Cowboys got to McMasters.

However, a deleted scene from the film depicts McMasters riding to a gathering of several Cowboys to respond to a request from Ringo that the two talk. Ringo asks McMasters to rejoin the Cowboys, which McMasters refuses. After refusing, Ike Clanton approaches McMasters, places a shotgun on his cheek and asks how McMasters now intends to get back. At this point, the scene ends, followed immediately by the scene in which McMasters body is being dragged. It remains unclear what the Cowboys did to McMasters before killing him, or how they killed him.

While it is ambiguous in a sense, the fact that McMasters' face is intact when they see the body, this suggests that Ike didn't shoot him with the shotgun. And when asking "How are you gonna get back to them?" with a smile on his face, this suggests that they tied him to the back of the horse and dragged him back to the Hooker ranch. That was what killed him.

According to the book based on the screenplay, they actually tied McMasters up and suspended him over a fire, like a barbeque. If you look at the corpse, you see that parts of his body are blackened which might be due to being dragged, but it also could be burn marks. Also, you see Wyatt's reaction of trying to supress being physically ill, suggesting that McMasters died a particularly gruesome death.

History refers to the Earp posse that seeks revenge against the Cowboys following Morgan's death as the "Earp Vendetta Ride". In the film, 27 cowboys are seen being killed. In reality, 4 cowboy deaths were officially recorded, with the actual number likely being between 8-15 total. Since homicides are not something one regularly boasts to the newspapers about, much of the violence was never noted or seen.

Historically, Johnny Ringo was found dead under a large oak tree with a single gunshot wound to the head, and his revolver having a single fired cartridge in the cylinder. The majority opinion today is Ringo committed suicide (Theory 1).

Circumstantial evidence for this theory exists, in the decline of Tombstone's status as a boom town (and thus the loss of Ringo's livelihood and safe haven), the death, arrest or dispersal of many of his friends (Cowboy or otherwise), and a rejection by Ringo's family members when Ringo attempted to relocate to California. It is known that Ringo was in a melancholy mood, especially after his family's rejection, and had been drinking heavily shortly before his death.

Other than suicide, the second most popular theory (Theory 2) is Wyatt Earp killed Ringo, either in a duel or an ambush. A far less credible theory (Theory 3) that is still popular is Doc Holliday killed Ringo. This theory is seemingly disproved given that Ringo's death is given as July 14, 1882, and according to court documents of Pueblo County, Colorado, Doc and his attorney appeared in court on the 11th, 14th, and 18th of July.

The film makes an interesting play on the death of Johnny Ringo and pays homage to all three theories. The film suggests Wyatt was scheduled to duel Ringo, but Doc arrived and killed him first. Thus, the film portrays Theory 3 as being truth, where as Theory 2 (Wyatt kills Ringo) as being the one that will be popularly believed (Wyatt was the one everyone thought was going to duel Ringo). It should also be noted that Doc never says to Wyatt that he killed Ringo, only saying things like "Poor soul, you were just too high strung." and "The pressure was more than he could bear", which is Doc's way of joking and playing with the idea that Ringo actually committed suicide (Theory 1).

It should also be noted that Ringo does fire one bullet from his revolver while stumbling after being shot in the head by Doc, the film's way of explaining the spent cartridge in Ringo's gun.

After Ringo's death, no mention of him is made the rest of the movie. Considering Ringo died with no witnesses other than Doc, and Wyatt shortly afterwards, it can be inferred the legend of Johnny Ringo's death grew rapidly after being discovered, with no real explanation available.

That is totally a matter of opinion. However if you are interested to which film better suits you; If you want to know a bit more of Wyatt Earp's history, i.e. growing up and before he went to Tombstone, then Wyatt Earp may be more for you. If you are looking for more action while still maintaining great character development and an accurate but more condensed story then Tombstone is for you. Or just watch both films.

However, if you want both then you could watch the first half of Wyatt Earp. To the point where they say they are heading for Tombstone, then pop Tombstone in.

Kevin Costner fans will undoubtedly enjoy Wyatt Earp as he is really the only character developed in any depth. However, Tombstone gives more insight to each character. If Earp is viewed after Tombstone, you may find yourself longing for Val Kilmer's Doc Holiday. Doc Holiday in Wyatt Earp only serves as a reminder of Kilmer's perfected southern drawl and his many unforgettable nuances that steal the scene in Tombstone.

Or watch "My Darling Clementine". Another film about Wyatt Earp.

It depends on who you ask, but historical consensus is that Tombstone's version, which has Billy Clanton and Wyatt Earp firing simultaneously, is the most accurate.

The Earp version is much as depicted in the film: the Earps and Holliday went to the OK Corral with the intention of disarming and possibly arresting the cowboys, after a series of confrontations between the two groups and further threats by Ike. Virgil claimed that due to Sheriff Behan's claims that he'd disarmed the gang, they were not expecting a fight, and were surprised when Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton were visibly armed (and they believed, though it has never been proved, that Tom McLaury was carrying a concealed weapon). Virgil tried to calm the situation down, but Billy went for his gun, initiating the gunfight. Wyatt and Billy fired simultaneously, according to this version; Billy fired at Wyatt and missed, but Wyatt fired at Frank McLaury and hit him in the stomach. After a few seconds, the firing became general.

The Cowboy/Behan version is that the Earps went to the scene spoiling for a fight, with Morgan reportedly shouting "You sons of bitches want a fight, well now you've got it!" or words to that effect. According to this version, Holliday fired first, either with his shotgun, or with a "nickel-plated" pistol, and one of the Earps, probably Morgan, fired shortly thereafter. In this scenario, the Clantons were effectively murdered by the Earps, trying to surrender as the Earps opened fire, and only returning fire in self-defense. Indeed, Ike Clanton, along with Behan and relatives of the McLaurys, would attempt to bring murder charges against the Earps, but these were dismissed in a pre-trial hearing, setting the stage for future confrontations between the two groups.

Eyewitnesses gave conflicting accounts of exactly how the shooting started, but the weight of evidence is in favor of the Earp version. For one thing, the sickly, thin-framed Holliday would probably not have been able to fire a pistol while also cradling a shotgun, and the claim of his firing a concealed pistol to start the shootout is unlikely. That Ike Clanton survived the shooting unscathed also cast doubt on the Cowboy depiction, though Ike would claim he physically attempted to prevent Wyatt from firing. Conflicting testimony by pro-Cowboy witnesses, especially Ike, during the hearing would also help exonerate the Earps. Ultimately it was illegal to carry weapons within the city limits of Tombstone which at least 2 of the Cowboy gang were undoubtedly doing so the Earps as Town Marshall's had a duty to confront and disarm them.

A Director's Cut of Tombstone was released in 2002 in the course of the "Vista Series". The DC offers some, but few, new scenes which close a rift of plots. The DC doesn't invent the movie again, but it enhances it and runs approx. 6 minutes longer than the well-known Theatrical Version. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

Incredible as it may seem, much of Tombstone is based on historical fact. The film does take liberties in telling the story, many of which are themselves based on legend. However, the overall structure of the film is a reasonably accurate portrayal of the events in and around Tombstone.

The following is a list of some of the most important historical elements the film depicts are. This is not intended to be an all encompassing account of the accuracy of Tombstone, but a collection of facts that are depicted in the film

Wyatt Earp was well-known for his work as a lawman in Dodge City and other areas when he arrived in Tombstone.

Wyatt Earp was highly recruited by federal and local officials to work as a lawman in Arizona (a few positions of which he accepted, unlike depicted in the film).

The Cowboys were a group of ill-reputable characters operating in the region, though they were much less organized and affiliated than depicted in the film.

Josephine Marcus and Wyatt Earp met in Tombstone but there is no record they married. They spent the rest of their lives together after they left Tombstone. Likewise, Behan and Wyatt had a rivalry over Josephine (which was much more dramatic than depicted in the film) and Mattie and Josephine likewise had a rivalry over Wyatt.

Johnny Tyler was hired by a rival gambling operator to cause trouble at the Oriental and drive away customers. Wyatt confronted Tyler and dragged him out of the salon by the ear.

Wyatt became part owner of the Oriental saloon after driving out Tyler.

Curly Bill Brocius shot Fred White while intoxicated as he was being disarmed. Fred White was trying to stop a group of individuals (including Brocious) who was shooting at the moon. Wyatt pistol whipped Brocius and prevented an immediate lynching by angered citizens. Curly Bill was later acquitted of the crime.

As depicted in the film, the tension between the Cowboys (particularly the Clantons and McLaurys) and the Earps gradually escalated through a number of confrontations, which ultimately led up to the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

Tombstone enacted a law forbidding the carrying of firearms in town.

Wyatt and Doc were deputized after Virgil requested they back he and Morgan in confronting the McLaurys and Clantons.

Ike Clanton was unarmed during the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and escaped unharmed.

Several Cowboys (including Billy Claibourne and Wes Fuller) were present at the O.K. Corral but fled before or immediately after the shooting started.

Wyatt Earp had only been involved in one deadly shooting prior to the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Morgan Earp had no gun fighting or lawman experience.

Virgil and Morgan (as well as Doc) were injured during the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury were both beaten by the Earps within 24 hours prior to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

The Clantons and Cowboys made a large public spectacle to damage the reputation of the Earp party after the shooting at the O.K. Corral.

Though not following the shootout at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt did once refuse to allow Behan to arrest him.

The reputation of the Earps and Doc were tarnished after the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

The shoot did not actually take place inside the O.K. Corral, but in the street and an empty lot nearby, next door to C. S. Fly's Photo Gallery. Billy Allen, Sheriff Johnny Behen and Billy Clairbone are thought to have run into the gallery for shelter, while Ike Clanton ran in and continued right out the back door. In the movie, Ike runs into the gallery shoots at the Earps out the window.

A drunken Ringo did confront Doc Holiday in the streets of Tombstone shortly after the shootout, allegedly over Ringo's affection for Big Nose Kate. The situation was defused by town marshals, and both men were fined for carrying concealed weapons.

Virgil Earp was shot in the arm and lost complete function of its use. Also, Virgil has been historically quoted as saying to his wife, Allie, Dont worry darling, I still got one good arm to hold you with.

Morgan Earp was shot in the back through a window while playing pool and died an hour later.

John Clum, the Mayor of Tombstone, did survive an assassination attempt by the Cowboys, but in a manner different than described in the film.

The Earps and Doc left Tombstone shortly after the death of Morgan Earp, taking most of their party to a train station and away from Arizona.

Before leaving Tombstone, Wyatt offered reconciliation to Ike Clanton, who refused.

Ike Clanton and Frank Stillwell followed the Earp party to the train station, where Wyatt Earp killed Stillwell.

Sherman McMasters was a member of the Cowboy affiliation, but changed opinion and sided with the Earps.

Turkey Creek Jack Johnson and Texas Jack Vermillion were both in Dodge City at the same time as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday in Dodge City and most likely knew one another prior to Tombstone. The posse also included Wyatt's younger brother Warren, not depicted in the film.

The Earp Vendetta Ride pitted Behan's county posse against Wyatt Earp's federal posse.

Behan deputized Johnny Ringo and other members of the Cowboys to join his county posse in pursuit of the Earps.

According to a letter written by Will McLaury, brother of the two cowboys killed in the Gunfight, Sherman McMasters was killed by a group of Cowboys after teaming with the Earp party. (Wyatt Earp, however, claimed that McMasters died in the Philippines in 1898 while fighting in the Spanish-American War; McMasters' sister said he died in Colorado in 1892.)

Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill with a shotgun in a stream near Iron Springs, Arizona. Wyatt charged headlong into the gun battle with multiple Cowboys firing upon him, several bullets passing through his clothes without harm.

Multiple homicides were committed by Earp Vendetta Ride posse, officially documented as 4 deaths, but possibly as many as 10 - 15 victims (still much less than the body count in the film). Wyatt Earp himself would later insinuate that many more had died during the Vendetta Ride than local coroner records indicated.

The Earp Vendetta Ride was largely responsible for breaking the Clantons' power and the association of the Cowboys.

Mattie Blaylock died a few years later in 1888 from a drug overdose (thought to be suicide).

Wyatt Earp lost most of his assets due to his abandonment of Tombstone, where most of his property was sold to pay taxes.

What follows are just the departures from history and not a reflection of the quality of the movie.

From the beginning, William "Curly Bill" Brocius and Johnny Ringo are shown as the leaders of the cowboys. Actually the cowboys were a loose, fluctuating and unorganized group of outlaws with no dominant leader, but Curly Bill did have followers among his associates.

The cowboys didn't wear red sashes as gang colors. One of the movie's two screenwriters, Kevin Jarre, got this idea from Wild Bill Hickok, who occasionally wore one. Some of the cowboys also wore them in imitation of Hickok, but not of a particular color or design. Jarre got the idea of using the sashes to designate membership in the gang from the way L.A. street gangs use colors.

There was no attack on a Mexican wedding party. The rustlers' cattle-stealing raids into Mexico had already caused a lot of tension between Mexico and the United States. Such an attack would probably have either sparked a war or would have forced the President to send in the Army to get rid of Arizona's outlaws. There was considerable cross-border smuggling, during which outlaw Cowboys stole Mexican cattle and ambushed Mexican vaqueros laden with gold on their way to Tucson to buy supplies. In turn, Mexican soldiers ambushed and shot Old Man Clanton and other cowboys.

Wyatt and Mattie did not arrive in Tucson by train and did not meet Virgil, Morgan and their wives there. Wyatt, Wyatt's wife Mattie, his brother James, James's wife Bessie, James's 16-year-old step-daughter, and Doc traveled by wagon train from Dodge City to Prescott, picking up Big Nose Kate on the way. There they met Virgil and Allie. All of them, except for Doc and Kate, then went on to Tombstone with their wagons. Morgan and his wife, Lou, arrived about a month later and then brother Warren Earp arrived several months after that.

There's no evidence Wyatt's second wife, Mattie, was addicted to laudanum in Tombstone, though she did use it later and in fact died from an overdose of the stuff--possibly a suicide.

After stabbing Ed Bailey, Doc is shown stealing money on his way out the door. There's no evidence Doc ever stole anything. According to Wyatt, after repeatedly catching Bailey cheating at cards, Doc finally pulled in the pot without showing his cards, as he had a right to do. Bailey started to pull his gun and Doc quickly stabbed him. The marshal had Doc under arrest in the front room of the hotel, while Bailey's friends were forming a lynch mob outside. In order to save Doc, "Big Nose Kate" Fisher set a shed on fire and while most of the people were trying to put it out, she walked into the hotel and leveled a gun at the marshal, enabling Doc and her to escape.

Wyatt was not dead set against police work, and while he may have turned down some offers of such, he didn't do so for long. Virgil accepted the job of U.S. Deputy Marshal when they stopped in Tucson on their way to Tombstone in November 1879. Within weeks of his arrival in Tombstone, Wyatt was riding stagecoaches as shotgun messenger for Wells, Fargo & Company. Then in July of 1880, more than a year before the gunfight, Wyatt became deputy sheriff for Tombstone under Pima County Sheriff Shibell.

Behan wasn't sheriff when the Earps arrived in Tombstone. In fact, Behan came to Tombstone after the Earps. When Wyatt resigned as deputy sheriff in November 1880, Behan was appointed as his replacement. Then when Cochise County was created in February 1881, Wyatt intended to compete for the position of sheriff against Behan. Instead, Wyatt made a deal with Behan allowing Behan to become sheriff, but Behan didn't hold up his side of the bargain.

Johnny Tyler was a customer, not a dealer, at the Oriental Saloon when Wyatt threw him out. Because of the Oriental's popularity, the competition hired Tyler and a few others to disrupt business there. According to biographer Stuart Lake, Wyatt did haul Tyler out by his ear while Doc held a gun on Tyler's associates. Also, it was Tom McLaury--not Tyler--that Wyatt later slapped. Wyatt slapped him with his left hand while drawing his pistol with his right, saying, "Jerk your gun and use it." Tom didn't, so Wyatt buffaloed (pistol-whipped) him alongside his head and walked away. Wyatt buffaloing Tom is shown later in the film shortly before the gunfight. A month after Wyatt threw Tyler out by his ear, Tyler was back at the Oriental and involved in a confrontation with Doc.

In the movie, Doc is shown looking down on faro. In reality, Doc dealt faro as well as played it--often around the clock. He apparently even preferred it to poker, as did many gamblers at the time. The odds in faro aren't that bad, which is why it never caught on in Las Vegas--the house's share wasn't large enough.

Josie was never a leading actress, though she did travel briefly with Pauline Markham's entertainment troupe playing a supporting role. It was during this time that the 18-year-old aspiring actress met Johnny Behan. Apparently this was before either of them came to Tombstone. The troupe did perform "H.M.S. Pinafore" in Tombstone during the Earp's first week in town but there's nothing to indicate she met Wyatt during this time. Josie returned to her home in San Francisco and Behan eventually sent a marriage proposal to her and she returned to Tombstone to live with him about nine months after her first visit there and about a year before the gunfight.

It is implied in the film that Deputy Sheriff Billy Breakenridge and Curly Bill were gay. In a letter written by Wells Fargo undercover agent Fred Dodge to Stuart Lake in the 1920s, Fred hinted at that Breakenridge might have been gay, but there's nothing to suggest that Curly Bill was.

Behan is shown as not helping City Marshal Fred White when the trouble arose with Curly Bill supposedly shooting at the moon, but Behan was not deputy sheriff at the time--Wyatt was. Apparently several cowboys did the initial shooting, but Curly Bill probably wasn't one of them. As White approached the scene, the cowboys ran around a building. White chased after them and found Curly Bill. He was shot in the groin--not the chest--when he tried to jerk Curly Bill's gun away from him. Only one bullet was fired from Curly Bill's gun and that was the one that killed White. It appears the shooting was indeed accidental and Wyatt even testified in Curly Bill's favor. White died two days after being shot and reportedly said it wasn't Curly Bill's fault.

To add atmosphere, the movie shows a building on fire in the background as the Earps and Holliday walk down to meet the Clantons and the McLaurys. If a building had been on fire, the Earps and probably Holliday would have dropped everything to help put it out.

Josie is shown in Fly's Photograph Gallery having a semi-nude picture taken as the fight breaks out. The semi-nude photograph often said to be of Josie is not really her. It actually dates from 1914 and was widely distributed by the ABC Novelty Company of Brooklyn, New York. Josie was nowhere near Fly's when the shooting took place, but apparently Big Nose Kate was. A woman who later claimed to be Kate said she and Mrs. Fly were looking out the window of Fly's Lodging House when the fight broke out.

In the shootout itself, the movie shows 51 shots being fired in 128 seconds. (One of Doc's shotgun blasts is shown twice from two different angles making it appear he fires three shots from a double-barrel shotgun.) Actually, just over 30 bullets were fired in about 30 seconds.

The lot where the fight took place was only eighteen feet wide, not about thirty, and there were not that many buildings around. The back of the lot was open, though there might have been a low fence. The end of the fight took place out in Fremont Street.

Doc fired the shotgun later in the fight and he only had one pistol, not two.

Morgan wasn't hit in the front of his right shoulder. The bullet entered the back of his left shoulder near the tip of his shoulder blade, traveled across his back and exited about the same spot on the back of his right shoulder.

Ike didn't take Behan's gun and shoot out of Fly's Lodging House, but it is likely that Billy Allen fired at Wyatt or Morgan from his hiding place on the east side of Fly's Lodging House, between Fly's and the assay office. Apparently Wyatt thought Ike had fired from inside of Fly's and he returned fire, which was probably the only shot deliberately fired at Fly's. In reality, Ike had run straight through Fly's and out the back toward Allen Street.

Frank McLaury was not shot in the forehead. Morgan's bullet actually went through Frank's head entering just below his right ear.

Josie and Wyatt probably became romantically involved several months before the shootout and it's very likely she was a high-class call girl at the time.

When Johnny Ringo tried to pick a fight with Doc, Ringo wasn't held back by cowboys. Neither was there any evidence Ringo was drunk. Instead, both Ringo and Doc were disarmed by the police.

The cowboys didn't shoot at the Earp wives or shoot anyone's wife. In the film, Warren says, "They hit Claude's house too, shot up his wife." The cowboys did try to kill Mayor Clum, but he was in a stagecoach--not at his house. Also, a mysterious figure did show up at Virgil's house, but when James Earp answered the door the person said something about having the wrong house and left. The Earps thought this might have been an assassination attempt and they went to stay at a hotel where they felt safer.

Virgil and Morgan weren't attacked right after the fight. The shootout took place on October 26, 1881. Virgil was ambushed on December 28th and Morgan was killed on March 18th of the following year. Wyatt was with Morgan when he was shot and was almost hit in the head by a second shot.

The doctor didn't need to try removing the bullet from Morgan's back because the bullet passed through Morgan and lodged in George Berry's thigh. Morgan also didn't die on a billiard table. The doctor examined him while he was lying on the floor and then they moved him to a couch. He died about forty minutes after being shot.

Virgil and Wyatt did not accompany Morgan's body back to California--their older brother James did. No one was around when Wyatt and three others shot Frank Stilwell beside the tracks near the Tucson train station some distance in front of the train. Stilwell was not killed as he tried to shoot at Virgil and his wife on the train. He was shot apparently after being questioned by Wyatt and his friends. Ike left the scene earlier without a confrontation with Wyatt, though Wyatt and the others searched for him after they killed Stilwell, but couldn't find him.

The vendetta was not carried out in town or in chases or with hangings. Only four cowboys were known to have been killed, though Wyatt hinted there may have been more. These were Stilwell, Florentino Cruz (who might have been the person called Indian Charley), Curly Bill and possibly Johnny Barnes. Cruz was killed after being interrogated and Barnes and Curly Bill were shot in the same gunfight.

This scene is not in the movie. The shootout with Curly Bill did not take place in and across a river. Wyatt and his party rode toward a spring when the cowboys suddenly jumped up from behind a rise and began firing. Wyatt quickly blasted Curly Bill with his shotgun while Doc and the others retreated for cover. The cowboys ran to a stand of willows and the gunfight continued.

An actor was not killed in a stagecoach robbery and Josie was not on a held-up stage.

Sherm McMasters was not killed during the Vendetta and his body was not dragged at Ringo's order to challenge Wyatt. He made it into Colorado with Wyatt.

Doc and Wyatt were in Colorado when Ringo was killed. Doc didn't die in a sanitarium. He died in a hotel.

Wyatt didn't write a booklet about Doc. Wyatt didn't visit him right before he died and didn't even know of Doc's death until eight years later. Wyatt did write about the gunfight and many other things.

For details, see http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090627214139/http://www.ferncanyonpress.com/tombston/movie.shtml

(~1:31:38) Doc quotes the final lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan".

He says: "Weave a circle round him thrice, and close your eyes with holy dread, for he on honey-dew hath fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise."

The poem is considered one of Coleridge's greatest works and, since being published in 1816, has been looked at by critics as being one of the greatest examples of Romanticism in English poetry (even having a copy of it on permenant display at the British Museum in London).

Another interesting fact is the subtitle of the poem, "A Vision in a Dream". In the movie's setting, Doc is in his usual 'haze' (as apparent when he passes out right after speaking), and quoting this poem could be looked at as his having a premonition of future events (ie: when he and Ringo have their final face-off, they circle each other; also Doc could be looking at himself as 'unstopable/supernatural' as Coleridge makes Kubla Khan).

With the poem being written by Coleridge while he (admittedly) was on opium, analyzing it's full meaning is even more-so up to the individual than normal with art.

Full poem at: http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=48043&pageno=58 (and next page 59)

Page last updated by Joxerlives, 1 month ago
Top 5 Contributors: lycanpyre, briangcb, Saiga, kellyleas1-1, gonzo696

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