The day has come!
The restless cowboys and presumed outlaws have decided there would be a showdown. They began forming at O.K. Corral and had their guns prepared.
According to a timeline by John D. Gilchriese, writer and collector, these are the major events of the gunfight:
The Street Fight – October 26, 1881
The gunfight lasted about 30 seconds.
According to Gilchriese, Wyatt Earp, when asked about the “Gunfight at O.K. Corral,” stated: “It was a street fight between my brothers, Doc, and myself and those who believed they could shoot down the Earps.” Wyatt apparently had a chuckle about the allusion of the “gunfight” at O.K. Corral, that was probably created by fictional writers to make it more exciting.
Wyatt also drew the locations of the shooters as he recounted the scenario.
The exact location of the fight? Freemont Street, south side and east of 3rd Street
Who fired first? Frank McLaury and Wyatt Earp
Who died? Frank and Tom McLaury, Billy Clanton
Who was wounded? Virgil and Morgan Earp
Where did each man stand? (as drawn by Don Perceval)
Did the fight start in the street? No, for six seconds the antagonists were in the vacant lot before they backed into Freemont Street
Where is Sheriff John Behan? Behind Fly’s Boarding House
Where is Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne? Hiding in Fly’s Boarding House
More photos by Gilchriese are viewable at http://kbbooks-tucson.com/Photographs.htm.
A photo showing the town layout, during the gunfight, developed in the Tombstone Fly Studio based on research from John D. Rose, is at https://www.wyattearpexplorers.com/ok-corral.html.
How would the Earps escape this eventual tragedy? They wanted to prosper in the thriving town of Tombstone, mainly due to the silver ore that was being mined and the businesses developing in the west.
I have to wonder where the town’s people stood on the issues. Did they not care enough to get involved to help those who were there to protect them?
There is an old saying (paraphrased) that for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to do nothing.
What about the families of the Clantons, Claibornes and McLaurys? While there is evidence they too wanted to be business affiliates, but also were entangled with the criminal element, I wonder how their side of the story goes?
Here is a link for further information about the McLaurys. http://www.worldcat.org/title/mclaurys-in-tombstone-arizona-an-ok-corral-obituary/oclc/806040205&referer=brief_results.
What about Curly Bill Brochius? Do you know his part?
There is another previous outlaw who was friends with Wyatt Earp in Dodge city – Sherman McMasters. What was his involvement? (He had also stolen a valuable thoroughbred in Tombstone).
This is a link with a few more details about the Clantons. http://clantongang.com/oldwest/ganlaury.html
Who knows how Tombstone could have flourished during the day had the Earps succeeded in business and built the town as they had envisioned?
Regardless, things could have turned out differently had the various factions worked together to resolve their conflicts.
I’ll close this post with words mentioned in the video clip – what Wyatt Earp said in his last words: “Just suppose.”
(Don’t forget to check out the video re-enactment below, which was performed just off Freemont as they tried to replicate as much as possible.)