Gunfight At The O.K. Corral: A Timeline Without The Legend

Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas star in Gunfight At The OK Corral; 1957.

Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas star in Gunfight At The OK Corral; 1957. I’m sure most armchair historians of The Gunfight, can easily see at least a dozen historical errors in this promo picture.

The 1957 movie, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, was popular, but mostly myth. In this timeline, we have endeavored to tease the facts from the popular legends. For example, the real gunfight took place on Fremont Street a half block from the back entrance of the O.K. Coral and Wyatt Earp hid his six-shooter in the pocket of his overcoat, not in plain view in a holster as depicted here. Nevertheless, the Earps & Holliday “walked the walk” without apologies. That part was real. The principles, their age, and status at the time of the gunfight, October 26, 1881.

THE COWBOY FACTION

Johnny Behan – 37. Sheriff of Cochise County. Billy Claiborne – 21. Cowboy, self-described gunfighter. Billy Clanton – 19. Rancher, rustler. Ike Clanton – 34. Rancher, rustler. Frank McLaury 33. Rancher, rustler. Tom McLaury – 28. Rancher, rustler. (At various times, these ‘Cowboys’ may also have been involved in other illegal activities, such as robbing Mexican wagon trains and American stagecoaches.)Read More

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