OK Corral Re-enactment …

29 May

OK Corral sign

– Testimony of Wyatt Earp:

” …Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton’s six-shooters were in plain sight. Virgil (Earp) said, “Throw up your hands; I have come to disarm you!” Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury laid their hands on their six-shooters. Virgil said, “Hold, I don’t mean that!” I have come to disarm you!” Then Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury commenced to draw their pistols. At the same time, Tom McLaury throwed his hand to his right hip …”

Compared to film/movies, live re-enactment of anything – especially outdoors – have several disadvantages. In the particular case of the OK Corral gunfight the actual setting cannot be accurately reproduced.  That’s the first thing. Next you can’t re-shoot anything, theatrically speaking. There’s also no close ups, no fancy camera angles, no overhead shots, no lighting, no sound projection, no special effects, no editing … etc. etc… You’ve got a script – you rehearse – and you go – whatever happens happens.

Then there’s weather – which can be something else – blazing hot, windy, rain … ?? But you advertised and sold the tickets and  ‘the show must go on’ as they say.

Then there’s the manpower: It takes 3 Earps, 1 Holliday, 2 Clantons, a Claiborne, 2 McLaurys, and Sheriff Behan at a minimum: 10 Players. And for the most part these are not professional actors making lots of money. They make something? (I guess) and do a pretty good job, but I doubt that it’s lucrative. Mainly they just love to do this thing – the Old West and it’s Lore – they enjoy what they do in their fraternity of Western Players.

Nor would I say it’s that easy to find people for this. The requirements are pretty unique. Firstly, you gotta have the guns and know how to handle them – no phonys allowed. Those guns aren’t toys and can be dangerous. Nor are they cheap. Then there’s the costumes/outfits. A knowledge and respect for all things Western – especially a knowledge of the OK Corral event, would also be a necessity … most of these guys ARE experts on the whole History, People and Events that surrounded this incident … and so on …

So … how to portray that on an open stage? Combining factual history with a flare of entertainment? Not that easy a task.

Anyhow …  let’s go …

Most folks know the basic storyline: there’s been ‘bad blood’ between the Earps and the Cowboys (Clantons, McLaurys et al) for quite a while and lately the Cowboys have been stirring things up around Tombstone – uttering threats and challenging the Earps … a confrontation seems inevitable.

The Set

OK CORRAL Reenactment Set 2

L to R: OK Corral, CS Fly Studio, Oriental Saloon, City Jail, and Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper

Introduction of the Players

OK CORRAL Reenactment Set

                     Wyatt Earp and Morgan Earp tending to affairs at their Oriental Saloon.                       Sheriff Behan sets out on his rounds

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Doc arrives

Doc Holliday arrives from Tucson – Gets a polite warning to behave from Virgil Earp

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Wyatt shows

Wyatt comes out

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Wyatt & Doc

Wyatt fills Doc in on the situation …

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT IKE and Claiborne

Meanwhile, drunks Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury and staggering around town uttering threats toward the Earps

Things are coming to a head …

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Wyatt acts

Wyatt sends a message

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT buffaloed

Tom McLaury gets ‘buffaloed’ (pistol whipped)

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Ike and Morgan

Ike didn’t get the memo – shows up at Earp’s bar threatening them again

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Ike & Doc

Old enemies Ike Clanton and Doc Holliday get re-acquainted

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT Bad Blood

No more warnings …

An inevitable conclusion

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT let's go

Morgan, Virgil and Wyatt

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT This stops now

Doc shows … we gotta put a stop to this …

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT assembling

“I just heard the ‘Cowboys’ are down at the OK Corral”

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT shotgun

Doc gets a badge … and a shotgun.

 The Gunfight

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT showdown

The Earps and Holliday start to ‘pull’ …

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT the shooting begins

… the shooting begins … *Blam Blam !! Pow Pow !!*

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT ... Morgan and Virgil wounded

… Morgan and Virgil are wounded …

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT ... shooting continues ...

… shooting continues … *Bang Bang !! … Pow Pow !!*

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT ... Frank McLaury falls ...

                          … Frank McLaury falls … Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton lie dead …                                  Ike Clanton and Bill Claiborne ran off.

Aftermath … 

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT aftermath

Earps 3 … Cowboys 0

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT

… the rest is silence …

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT 2

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT 4

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT 5

OK CORRAL REENACTMENT 6

… “Damn” …

Of interest: the 2 principle players in this event emerged unscathed: Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton.

Also interesting: Clanton and Billy Claiborne were both unarmed and ran. If you were planning on a gunfight, wouldn’t you bring a gun?

Gun Bar 2

Next … Boot Hill 

10 Responses to “OK Corral Re-enactment …”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong May 29, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    We have a lot of reenactors here. They “do” the Battles of Lexington and Concord every April. I know they have a LOT of them down in Gettysburg. If I could dress up and play Wyatt or Doc or somebody, that would be totally cool. Garry would gladly do it too.

    Who were the “good” guys and who were the “bad” guys at the O.K. Corral, really? Print the legend. We’ll never know the truth anyway. The truth doesn’t make great movies.

  2. Marilyn Armstrong May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    I should have mentioned that those are great pictures. Sharp as a tack, too.

    • jcalberta May 29, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

      Why thank you Ma’am ! (Tipping my hat)

      • Garry Armstrong June 1, 2015 at 8:34 am #

        Great stuff! I think one of my “bucket list” things might be to participate in a re-enactment with you. You know I’m a western movies buff. We’ve seen myriad versions of this story. I think “Tombstone” is our favorite “straight up” take right now. We watch it a lot. Sometimes when we just need some pure violence to purge our souls of everyday stuff. “Sunset” is also one of favorite and frequently watched takes on the story, give or take a lie or two. You’ll do, Pilgrim!

      • jcalberta June 1, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

        That would really be great. I’m in.
        Have you ever handled one of those pistols? I was shocked how heavy they are. All steel. I’ve handled rifles a lot – I’m comfortable with that. But handguns are different.
        I know you love the movie Tombstone – but I have to confess that I have one problem with it. It’s Booth Powers – who plays Curly Bill Brocius. His over-acting really kills me. I hate to say that cuz I don’t want to spoil it for you. He’s all that stops me from putting it on my Favorites list. That probably sounds petty but …
        Otherwise, I have no problem with the ‘violence’ unless it’s just gratuitous gore. Most Westerns are Guy Movies – Action – let’s face it. If there’s no shootin’, what the heck am I watching?
        “Sunset” ! I’ve been trying see that for a long time. It’s really hard to get. Might have to order it.
        Thanks Garry.

  3. jcalberta May 29, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Boy wouldn’t that be great! Yeah, I could do that for sure. It’s a enviable passion these folks have.
    Well, as for the Cowboys. the way they lived was probably just ‘business as usual’ – almost a ‘lifestyle’ – that was being cramped by the Earps. I don’t believe a lot of folks in the area regarded them as crooks or a problem.
    As for the Earps, maybe they were the only kind of people who could handle things down there. They were up to it and it was definitely unwise for the Cowboys to cross them. They had the badges.

  4. Rick May 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    Ben Traywick used to play Wyatt during the reenactments. Now, his son does it.

    • jcalberta May 29, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

      Thank you Rick. I didn’t know about Ben. Have to do a little profile on him. Amazing.

  5. Tim Fattig May 30, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    As the writer of (and, sometimes, one of the actors in) the show at the O.K. Corral, let me thank you on behalf of everyone at the Corral, for your great review of both the show and the mentality of those who put on the show. We are indeed here “for love of the game,” presenting some authentic history (and the occasional killin’) 363 days a year, and we’re always happy when people “get it”– the appeal of the town and its history. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the kind words!

    • jcalberta May 31, 2015 at 8:27 am #

      My pleasure TIm. Great job you guys do. I’m guessing you’re the guy who played the very important role of Doc Holliday. Nicely done. Us ‘drug store’ cowboys out here envy you and enjoy what you do. Keep riding!!

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