Wyatt Earp

Nov 14, 2017
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In legend, Wyatt Earp was a brave lawman who cleaned up western towns such as Dodge City, Kansas, and Tombstone, Arizona. In fact, he was not a heroic character. The real Earp was a professional gambler. He worked as a peace officer in a few places, but he broke the law as often as he enforced it. He was arrested at least twice, once for stealing a horse.

Earp is famous for the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” in Tombstone in 1881. In the O.K. Corral legend, Earp, his two brothers, and Doc Holliday saved Tombstone from the Clantons, a gang of cattle rustlers. But the real gunfight was not about rustling. It resulted from a feud between the Earps and the Clantons. Some accounts of the famous gunfight claim that the Earps killed three of the Clanton gang in cold blood. Wyatt Earp was later involved in other gunfights, and he left Arizona with a posse in pursuit. Eventually he moved to California, where he put away his gun and invested in real estate.

Perhaps because he was the only participant unhurt in the O.K. Corral gunfight. Earp was glorified in popular fiction. Later, movies and television made him a hero. As the idealized lawman, Wyatt Earp became one of the enduring legends of the Old West.

The famous Earp-Clanton gunfight didn’t take place at the O.K. Corral. It broke out in an empty lot around the corner.

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