Unsettled history - OK Corral


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STW
July 26, 2005, 08:14 PM
(now that Custer has wandered afield)

One account I read recently stated that the Clantons and Claibornes were dead shots yet they only managed two hits against the Earps and Doc Holliday. So were dead shots so much worse in the 1880s?

Or is it that they were taken advantage of and fired on unawares?

Was Wyatt the stuff of legend or did he later ruthlessly hunt down and murder the killers of his brother Morgan?

Doc used a double barreled 12 gauge at the OK Corral. What were the other participants armed with and how did this affect the fight?

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psyopspec
July 26, 2005, 08:20 PM
So were dead shots so much worse in the 1880s?

How good a marksman are you? Okay, now how good a marksman are you when you're hungover and in a fight? The difference between shooting at the range and shooting when the targets shoot back can easily take a great shooter and turn them into nothing. Also, in a shootout with many participants, skill isn't the only factor that dictates success.

Doc used a double barreled 12 gauge at the OK Corral. What were the other participants armed with and how did this affect the fight?

Doc also pulled his Colt Peacemakers. Not sure about any of the rest.

Old Fuff
July 26, 2005, 11:40 PM
Get a copy of "The O.K. Corral Inquest" by Alford E. Turner. In it you will find all of the testimony taken at the inquests and trials that were held following the fight. Only two guns were positively identified after the fight, and you'll find out what they were if you read the book, along with other details about the arms that were used.

Doc's shotgun, by the way wasn't his. City Marshal, Virgil Earp had "borrowed" it from the Wells Fargo Express Office, and gave it to Holiday to carry because he (Doc) was wearing a long overcoat.

Turner's book contains the original record taken from about 30 some witnesses, including those who survived the fight.

dfariswheel
July 27, 2005, 01:06 AM
"Was Wyatt the stuff of legend?"

Pimp, gambler, horse thief, and sometimes lawman Wyatt Earp didn't have a very good reputation, and the gunfight at the OK Corral was not that big a deal, until Stuart Lake interviewed Earp in 1928, and published his book "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal".

This hero-worshiping book converted the disreputable Earp into a "Pistol Prince" and a fabulous legend, based solely on Earp's words.

Without that book, Earp today would probably be seen as just another sleazy personality that hung out in cow and mining towns.

R.H. Lee
July 27, 2005, 01:21 AM
Here's some anecdotal information and opinion:
http://clantongang.com/oldwest/facts.htm

Father Knows Best
July 27, 2005, 09:59 AM
The Earp brothers were armed with pistols. Doc had both a shotgun and pistols, though whether he ever fired his pistols I can't recall. The Clanton/McLaury group was caught by surprise. At least one, Ike Clanton, was unarmed (he also was one of the few to escape being killed or wounded). Another one (Billy?) didn't have a firearm on him. He was shot and killed, anyway, with the Earps and Holliday saying that he tried to retrieve a rifle from his horse.

Yes, it is generally accepted that Earp hunted down and killed several men for their alleged role in the murder of Morgan Earp. It later became known as "the vengeance ride." Wyatt fled to state to avoid capture and prosecution for those murders.

It is impossible now to separate the myth from fact completely. Wyatt was probably no saint. Neither were the Clantons and McLaurys, who in today's world would be considered a "street gang." They ran stolen horses instead of narcotics, but the principle is the same. They were violent and corrupt, and had local politicians and law enforcement at their beck and call. Wyatt Earp and his brothers stood up to them, and paid a heavy price.

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