Real Trouble Passing by The Gunfight at the OK Corral /Part 3

Cool Water  / Walter Brennan / 1964

Gunfight at OK Corral

Hit the Theatres in 1957.

Film Excess - Free Ukraine - Stop Putin - End the war NOW!!: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957 ...

It was huge success.

Wikipedia says:
“The film was a big hit and earned $4.7 million on its first run
and $6 million on re-release.”
Budget was $2 million.

And all that wouldn’t even buy you a plot on Boot Hill these days.

Meanwhile I had other concerns …

In 1957 I was an 8-year-old kid living in Guildford, Surrey, England.
Mum was visiting her folks.
My only concern at that time was whether
would buy some Sherbet from the local Sweet Shop.

I think it would?

But I never could figure out that English Money.

Passing by … Gunfight at the OK Corral … Part 2: Triva

Gunfight at OK Corral / Frankie Lane / 1957

In response to comments about Deforest Kelley as
Morgan Earp and later as Dr. McCoy on Star Trek:

Interesting stuff …

Passing by … Gunfight at the OK Corral … Part 1

Gunfight at OK Corral / Frankie Lane 

Well … I couldn’t just gallop past the Gunfight at the OK Corral
without a few parting shots – so to speak.

Deal me in …

I figure that the ‘Definitive Film’ on this most famous gunfight
in the Old West will never be made.
Why? Because even though some folks think they’ve got it all figured out
there’s just too much conflicting testimony –
even among professed eyewitnesses.
Some don’t even agree on just which ones wuz the Badguys?
– the Earps or Clantons?

Amongst all known or unknown facts however, only one thing IS clear:
Them Earps had had enuf of them Clantons.

Stirring the pot:
One thing does make me wonder?:
I’ve seen it said that Ike Clanton didn’t have a gun.
That the Earps had disarmed him earlier in the day?
So … if you were going a gunfight …
wouldn’t you bring a gun?

OK Corral Re-enactment …

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
Doc Holliday arrives from Tucson – Gets a polite warning to behave from Virgil Earp
Wyatt comes out
Wyatt fills Doc in on the situation …
Meanwhile, drunks Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury and staggering around town uttering threats toward the Earps

Things are coming to a head …

Wyatt sends a message
Tom McLaury gets ‘buffaloed’ (pistol whipped)
Ike didn’t get the memo – shows up at Earp’s bar threatening them again
Old enemies Ike Clanton and Doc Holliday get re-acquainted
No more warnings …

An inevitable conclusion

Morgan, Virgil and Wyatt
Doc shows … we gotta put a stop to this …
“I just heard the ‘Cowboys’ are down at the OK Corral”
Doc gets a badge … and a shotgun.

 The Gunfight

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 … 

Earps 3 … Cowboys 0
… the rest is silence …




… “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 

The Gunfight at OK Corral … a short documentary

OK Corral Gunfight – some background

The music is little heavy handed, but this is a pretty good little documentary on the OK Corral shootout … about 8 minutes long.

Arizona Holiday: Tombstone: The OK Corral: Part 2

Outlaw Man / Eagles

(Q) Up to that time, did you see any weapon of any kind drawn by or in the hands of either of the Clantons or McLaurys?
(A) No sir. They all had their hands up, up to that time. Tom McLaury had his hands up, holding his coat open.
– Testimony of Ike Clanton

OK Corral Exhibit / Shop

Tombstone city hall and sign

Out front …

OK Corral site

OK Corral site 3

Inside … 

OK Corral ATM
Insert wallet here

Boot Hill please … 

last buggy ride
Insert body here …

Gun Bar

Out back …

Shades of Oklahoma
Surrey With The Fringe On Top – Unknown rider
OK Corral sluce

Gun Bar

Gunfight Mockup

OK Corral gunfight mockup 1

OK Corral gunfight mockup 2

OK Corral gunfight mockup 3

A not too impressive mockup of the Gunfight – though it does include a decent audio component.

Tombstone badge 2

Next: The OK Corral Gunfight Re-enactment !

Arizona Holiday: Tombstone The OK Corral: Part 1 … update

Doolin Dalton / Eagles

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”
– Wyatt Earp

The Gunfight at the OK Corral

OK Corral sign

map downtown tombstone
Map of downtown Tombstone showing location of OK Corral\
OK corral brochures
“Gunfights Daily” ! Probably could have published this in 1881 and the gunfights would have been Free !

 Yeah Yeah .. I know you were wondering when I was going to get over to the the OK Corral. I’ve been kinda dragging my boot heels cuz the Earps and the Gunfight at OK Corral is about the biggest event in American Western History. Name a bigger one. Maybe the Alamo or Little Big Horn have equal stature?
Any way you look at it The Gunfight at the OK Corral is Genuine, authentic, unique American History. Americana.

Tombstone badge 2

Depictions in Film 

My Darling Clementine

Tombstone badge 2

gunfight at the ok corral

Tombstone badge 2

Hour of the gun

Tombstone badge 2

tomestone review

Tombstone badge 2

wyatt earp review

Tombstone badge 2

The Real Players

And I can’t of any other Western Event that’s depicted as an essential climatic element – in 5 different separate movies ? – and mostly of them regarded as Western Classics.
All the more interesting since we know pretty well what the heck is going to happen – and who wins!

Earps and doc
Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday
clantons et all
Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton, Billy Claiborne, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury

Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed.
Ike and Billy Claiborne ran.

Controversial: The Earp movies seem to portray the Earps as protagonists – albeit somewhat ruthless: But were the Earps right in what they did? or were they just a bunch of thugs wearing badges and legally carrying guns? Did the Clantons et all deserve to be  shot down like dogs by professional gunmen? There are still folks around that think this shootout was outright murder. Not that the Clantons were a bunch of nice folks or anything – as they were rustlers, murderers and robbers to be sure … but …

City of Tombstone Ordinance

Well I’m sure they deserved a spanking … and were asking for it.

OK Corral plaques

And got it.

Gunfight at the OK Corral … Earps doing ‘the walk’ revisited

Earps doing the walk … 

Updated graphics

‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’: Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest KelleyKirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest Kelley
Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957)
Directed by John Sturges


Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner
Hour of the Gun  (1967)
Directed by John Sturges

tombstone earps doing the walkVal Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton
Tombstone (1993)
Directed by  George P. Cosmatos

wyatt earp doing the walk 2Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby
Wyatt Earp (1994)
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan


Rider in the Rain (Randy Newman)

Admission: Free …

Open Every Day …Boot Hill … Boot Hill… So Cold … So Still …Billy Clanton (in back)

Gunfight at the OK Corral – Frankie Laine

Earp’s … doing ‘The Walk’

Epic! The famous ‘Walk’ to the climactic gunfight at OK Corral

Kirk Douglas
Gunfight at the OK Corral – Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest Kelley
Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner
Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner

'Tombstone' Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton
Tombstone Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton
'Wyatt Earp' Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby
Wyatt Earp Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby

‘The Wild Bunch’ … doing ‘the Walk’?  You betcha!

The Wild Bunch Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine
The Wild Bunch Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Intentional – or not (and I surely believe it was)
Pekinpah’s Wild Bunch do ‘The Walk’

Guns and Killing … continued

By Frank Prassel, University of Oklahoma Press 1972

Check Your Gun Mister

Are We Safer than the Citizens of Dodge City? By Jim Higginbotham

Sometimes the answers to seemingly complex social problems are hidden in plain sight. Social engineers, lawmakers and “experts” from all around spout off an endless stream of statistics to support or rationalize their position one side or the other of the “gun control” issue. Now I don’t like the term “gun control” for it is ambiguous and usually used to mask the real intent of those advocating it so for the purpose of this discussion let us just say “more restrictive guns laws”. One might think that this is a relatively new idea, it is not! You can go back to the Roman Empire and find the existence of cross bow control, you can look to England and find attempts to disarm the various colonists under their imperial thumb – the American colonists come to mind as an unsuccessful attempt to debar the use of arms to an indigent population. There are many examples of the failure of laws which attempt to disarm the violent in our society but none are more graphic as examples or easier to measure in effect than those in the “wild west” of America circa 1870-1900.

read more …

Guns and Killing …

Gun laws were tougher in old Tombstone

No need to check your firearm today in the Arizona town famed for the gunfight at the OK Corral.

By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Tombstone, Ariz. — A billboard just outside this Old West town promises “Gunfights Daily!” and tourists line up each afternoon to watch costumed cowboys and lawmen reenact the bloody gunfight at the OK Corral with blazing six-shooters.

But as with much of the Wild West, myth has replaced history. The 1881 shootout took place in a narrow alley, not at the corral. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday weren’t seen as heroic until later; they were initially charged with murder.

And one fact is usually ignored: Back then, Tombstone had far stricter gun control than it does today. In fact, the American West’s most infamous gun battle erupted when the marshal tried to enforce a local ordinance that barred carrying firearms in public. A judge had fined one of the victims $25 earlier that day for packing a pistol.

read more …

Lancaster as Earp – the ‘Grin’ and the Grim


In rebuilding my ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral‘ page I got to thinking about Lancaster’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp. In earlier films Lancaster had become famous for his trademark smile – which he is said to have referred to as “the grin” – most obvious in ‘Vera Cruz’ (one of My Favorite Westerns). Therefore his stoic and stern portrayal of Wyatt Earp in ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ is a stark and deliberate contrast. Was Earp really like this? Because this same humorless image of Earp is carried on through most of the other popular Earp Films: ‘Hour of the Gun‘; ‘Tomestone’ and ‘Wyatt Earp’. Only Henry Fonda‘s portrait of Earp in ‘My Darling Clementine‘ (1946) seems to put a more human face on Earp. Director John Sturges (‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’) continued with this strict image of Earp in ‘Hour of the Gun’ (1968) which starred James Garner as Earp. Garner’s ruthless portrayal of Earp is even more striking because of Garner’s usual soft and often comedic persona from the ‘Maverick’ TV series. It is safe to say however, that Sturges wasn’t very concerned with a historical portrayal of Earp (Lancaster doesn’t even sport a mustache) or the gunfight at the OK Corral. But it seems ironic that the film that makes the greatest effort to paint a historical document of Earp (Lawrence Kasdan‘s ‘Wyatt Earp’ starring Kevin Costner as Earp) is probably the least popular of five films.

Disaster at the OK Corral …

“I AM smiling.” 

A few moons back my ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral‘ page wuz completely bushwacked. By me.

I lost the whole page. (And my temper).

I wuz just trying to figure out how to adjust the line spacing on the page … when suddenly … something went terribly wrong … the whole page disappeared … into cyberset. (Cyberset is the Western equivalent of ‘riding off into the sunset’ … ‘cept you don’t ‘ride off’ …. you just vanish … No glory … No completion … No sunset …  No kiss. It just takes one slip of your trigger finger …. and before yu can holler “Look out Billy!” the whole damn page disappears. Oft times never to be retrieved …. or even tracked … particularly by a tenderfoot blogger like myself.

And I never learned or noticed – that there was an emergency page retrieval button at the bottom … until I rode back later. Alas … too late.

Worse yet I never figured out how to do that damn line spacing thing until later.

Sooo … I’m having to rebuild the whole page – or at least what I had done so far – which was quite a bit. I will be able to do get it almost identical though, but that will take a while …

I’m paying my dues.

Good thing I don’t do this for a living.