– 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.
Introduction of the Players
Things are coming to a head …
An inevitable conclusion
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?
Next … Boot Hill