Tombstone, Arizona and the Gunfight At OK Corral

May 24th, 2011 · No Comments

by Jane St. Clair

Tombstone, Arizona, where the cowboys live, sets in the mountains and is known as the Town Too Tough to Die.

It’s down the road from Bisbee, where the hippies live, which is known as the Town Too High To Die.

Tombstone today is part history

and part Halloween party.

It’s famous for the Gunfight at the OK Corral and Boothill Cemetery.


With its many cool grave markers …

And its tombs of the unknown cowboys — Killed by Indians, Found Dead in a Mine Shaft, Killed in a Card Game, and such.

Tombstone was full of cowboys in the 1880s who worked the mine on Toughnut Street

and then drank all night at the 116 saloons in town. Good whiskey and tolerable water!

The very cool citizens of Tombstone brag that other towns have histories but their town has a LEGEND. The guns, violence, and brave dead cowboys inherent in this LEGEND are very so American that it just makes you feel proud.

Everybody in Tombstone takes their LEGEND very very seriously. The actor who plays Doc Holliday quotes Shakespeare and they play opera music during the reenactment. There are actually statues of all eight participants in their exact spots.This is serious stuff.


Doc was actually drunk during the Gunfight, but luckily he had a shotgun and the others had pistols.

The McLaury boys and the Clantons had been feuding with the Marshall Virgil Earp, his brothers Wyatt and Morgan, and Doc Holliday. It started over a hold-up of a Wells Fargo stagecoach, and just kept escalating until the afternoon of October 26, 1881. Snow was falling and the good guys wore black dusters. The bad guys had red sashes round their waists.


Their feud climaxed at the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Legend has it that they fired 30 shots in 30 seconds.

When the first shots fired, Ike Clanton ran tail and pleaded for his life.

Bam bam bam Bam BAM – !!! Within a few seconds, Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton were dead. Doc Holliday got himself a permanent limp from a bullet hole to his knee.

The Earp brothers ended up just fine.

Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton ended up in Boothill Cemetery

With a great view of the mountains…

That night there was a party in the Bird Cage Saloon, which today is haunted by ghosts of cowboys and saloon women.

If you’re psychic, the images of ghosts will appear in your pictures of the Bird Cage. The ghost of Wyatt Earp’s lady/friend is in the little mirror in this picture.

At night you can still have a great time in the saloons of Tombstone, and you feel all goosebumpy and part of history.

So pardner, it’s true — old cowboys and their legends never die,

They just ride off into the sunset and live in technicolor movies forever and ever.

Tags: Jane St. Clair · Tucson · Tucson Sonoran Desert · Tucson Tourism · Tucson Tourist Events