Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Caliope Cupcake #13981

O.K. Corral: New Epitaphs for the Dead

Recommended Posts

Since the Oct. 26, 1881, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," the famed frontier lawman Wyatt Earp has loomed large over this former boomtown that calls itself "too tough to die." In popular culture, the Earps have always been the good guys; the McLaurys and Clantons, the bad guys. "The stars of the gunfight were the winners," says Pam Potter of Mountain Center, Calif., great-grand-niece of the brothers Frank and Tom McLaury — two of the three men who died that day.

 

Two new books seek to even the score a bit:

 

"In no way did the shootout represent a clearly defined duel to the death between Good and Evil," says former journalist Jeff Guinn, author of the just-released "The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral — And How It Changed the American West." "But the poor McLaurys have gotten short shrift all these years, and they don't deserve it."

 

"They weren't angels," says New Yorker Paul L. Johnson, whose childhood fascination with the gunfight has resulted in "The McLaury Brothers of Arizona: An O.K. Corral Obituary," currently being vetted by the University of North Texas Press. "Innocent is a hard word to apply, because they were complicit in the various illegal dealings going on. ... it's this nuance business."

 

 

What do you think?

 

Read the whole story: [copy and paste]

 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110520/ap_on_re_us/us_corralling_the_truth_2

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been interested in this gunfight since I was a little kid. Recently I have read and thought a lot about it.

 

My take is that Wyatt did force the fight that day, and for that reason, some consider the Earps to be at fault. The other side did not want the face to face shootout. However, I think did that because he did not want to be ambushed. He figured a fight was coming and he wanted it to be a face to face fight. I think his instincts were right because Morgan and Virgil were both shot in the back after the famous gunfight.

 

-tex fiddler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the article says the Earps started it --fired first--in a self-defense strategy, and the whole thing only lasted less than a minute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and I was exactly confirming it :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My take, three poorly armed men who were most likely trying to leave town got caught in aq trap and were executed. In the end neither side ever done very well because the smarter money uses up the stupid guys like these as pawns and then discards them. Who is the bad guy now days, the drug dealer or the constable who force him to pay business protection, in my book the constable would be many times worse! No different then either, if your label reads 'bad guy' then no one expects different but when your label is a badge the you have violated more than law, you have violated trust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am currently in the process of reading Jeff Guinn’s new book so it is not fair for me to try and review it at this time but I suspect that it will have a revisionist slant to it based on early statements about the Earps as being “bummers” and “flunkies”

 

As far as the Streetfight as Wyatt Earp always called it, since it did not happen at the OK Corral, the only winners were the writers, movie makers, television producers, and merchants who make tons of money over this simple misdemeanor arrest that went terribly bad.

 

We know that when the Earps arrived at the vacant lot between Fly’s Photography Studio and Harwood House, the Clantons and McLaurys were milling around and ended up more or less abreast to each facing the officers as they entered the area.

 

It would not be too hard to imagine that Frank McLaury instinctively touched his gun when Doc Holliday brought up his shotgun from under his coat.

 

Wyatt seeing Frank's hand move, reacted by pulling his own revolver from his coat pocket. Since it isn't clear that Frank actually cleared leather before being shot by Wyatt, it is doubtful then that Billy Clanton, whose attention was fixed on the Earps, even saw Frank's move. From Billy Clanton's perspective, his party was under unprovoked attack.

 

So here's the scene, Holliday raises the shotgun, Frank McLaury’s hand drifts in the general direction of his gun. Wyatt does not know what Frank is up to, but he is certainly not throwing his hands up, as Virgil ordered and Wyatt shoots him.

 

Just for the heck of it, let us put the Earp party in as bad a light as possible. They fire the first two shots, not Wyatt and Billy Clanton (after all, one witness said Billy’s pistol was in his holster until several shots had been fired). Since Doc was holding the shotgun and Virgil’s pistol was inside his coat, the second shot could have been fired by Morgan (we don’t know if he hit anybody). The two obvious targets would certainly have been Frank and Billy, who were the only ones with a pistol worn openly.

 

Tom McLaury ducked behind the horse and

 

A: hid from the shooting there and was unarmed or

 

B: was armed and shooting at the Earps or

 

C: was reaching for the rifle scabbard.

 

Someone shoots the horse which runs away and Doc shoots Tom who is either armed or unarmed. Tom turned to fire a shot at Doc or turned to run away.

 

Question: Was there a crime in shooting down an unarmed man standing in the middle of a gunfight, under the circumstances? Would there have been a crime if a stray shot had killed Miss Addie Borland who was across the street? No; the law as generally applied says that’s just tough luck.

 

Judge Spicer ruled that the marshal’s party had every right to defend themselves. Ike Clanton is outraged that his brother and friends had not drawn a gun and yet the Earps opened fire without suffering any penalty under the law.

 

Ultimately, both sides were caught in the crossfire of their destiny and I suspect that this is truly THE gunfight that will never end.

 

~:Wylie:~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Tex on this one. (And, by extension, you too, Cupcake!)

 

The Earps (as proven by the later backshootings that were oh-so-common) were in a position to force a fight on their terms; how is that any different than Wellington picking his ground, and forcing Napoleon to come to him?

 

They might have walked away, and forced the Earps to act even more aggressivley. But they didn't, so, as Wylie says, even if they got suckered, they played along until the bullets flew.

 

I think some folks are mostly interested in book sales as they reinterpret history from their Monday morning armchairs.

 

Cheers,

FJT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and I was exactly confirming it :D

 

Thanks Miss CC.

 

Sometimes I'm a little bit slow, but hopefully not when the buzzer goes off...

 

-tex fiddler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us know Wylie!

 

I haven't read up on this recently, and my memory is fuzzy, but didn't the Earps start out as criminals? then went the other way? or am I mixing them up with another bunch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most all of the lawmen back in the day had someone blame something on them over the years. If you were a lawman you had a lot of folks that did not like you. Some of them had issues when they were young but grew up. The wildest criticism thrust at some lawmen was that they frequented brothels and even married gals that worked on their backs. So did a whole lot of others in the day. Remember a few of these ladies ended up quite wealthy and made it to much higher level in society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us know Wylie!

 

I haven't read up on this recently, and my memory is fuzzy, but didn't the Earps start out as criminals? then went the other way? or am I mixing them up with another bunch?

In April of 1871, Wyatt Earp was taken into custody on a charge of horse thievery. After the arraignment, a bond was set at $500 and Wyatt remained in custody until he escaped in early May 1871. Wyatt Earp was indicted on the charge on May 15, 1871. Following his escape, a warrant was issued for his arrest but it was returned unserved in November 1871.   Wyatt was never tried on the matter. However, his alleged co-defendant Edward Kennedy was later acquitted of the charge.  

 

Whether Wyatt Earp had really stolen the horses was never determined and it is not known.  Nonetheless, this incident has caused many researchers to questions Wyatt Earp's actions during his early life.

 

Another lesser known incident happened in Peoria, Illinois when in February 1872, Wyatt and his brother Morgan were arrested for “Keeping and Being Found In A House Of Ill-Fame.” Wyatt and Morgan were fined $20 each plus cost

 

Then of course there is the charge of murder at the OK Corral inquest which we all know resulted in no indictment.

 

It is difficult to judge 19th century men with 21st century standards. To me, Wyatt Earp’s many flaws just makes him interesting considering the more positive aspects of his life.

 

~:Wylie:~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In that time period a town needed a really tough guy as a lawman. Somebody who wasn't afraid to stand up to danger and ready to use deadly force.

They weren't looking for someone with a degree in criminal justice. And frequently the toughest hombres around did not have squeaky clean backgrounds.

That's just the way it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And frequently the toughest hombres around did not have squeaky clean backgrounds.

That's just the way it was.

 

definitely dirty dancin' :ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.