I spent several days last week in Tombstone, Arizona. I was there at the request of Michael Bane to film a story about the OK Corral fight for his Shooting Gallery TV show. Michael pointed out that, with all the books, movies, and TV shows, about the famous fight, no one had ever sat down with some peace officers, folks who knew something about gunfighting, and studied the event. Besides myself, there was Larry Mudgett (retired LAPD SWAT & Gunsite Instructor), and Phil Spangenberger (Old West firearms expert). We did our best to shine the spotlight of realism on the Earps’ shootout with the Clantons and the McLaurys.

Of course, you know that the OK Corral gunfight did not occur in the OK Corral. It actually happened in a vacant lot on Fremont Street, about six lots north of the corral’s back exit. I suspect the actual site is under the pavement now.

It surprised me that a lot of the people we talked to tended to be more effected by the movie, “Tombstone,” than the history books. Kurt Russell starred in that movie some 18 years ago. And, for what it’s worth, I didn’t find anyone who thought that Kevin Costner’s “Wyatt Earp” movie was anywhere near as good. Frankly, I doubt that Wyatt would have thought very much of either flick.

It sort of amazes me that this one gunfight has held the interest of western buffs as long as it has. Commodore Perry Owen’s shootout in Holbrook, or Dallas Stoudenmire’s fight outside the El Paso courtroom, were just as interesting, but folks have hardly heard of those.

One thing’s for sure, though, some things change and some things never change. If Wyatt Earp came back today, he might have a hard time getting used to a Glock auto pistol. But he would understand Bill Clinton in a heartbeat.

Catch our show Shooting Gallery on the Outdoor Channel. It’ll run in the first quarter of 2012.

This entry was posted in Adventures, Guns, History, Peace Officers, TV. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tombstone

  1. WW Paul says:

    One thing I can say about the Kevin Costner movie is that the gunfight he witnessed as a kid was thought provoking- a mass of confusion ending when the two shot each other and both died. It speakes to the need for preparedness and strategy.

  2. DC Handgun Info says:

    You know it’s a small world when…
    The family and I went out to dinner last night (June 27) with friendly neighbors, and _their_ friends happened to *own* the OK Corral. Easy to claim, but easily corroborated. Nice folks but they struck me as hoplophobes! (H/t Col. Jeff Cooper)

  3. Pingback: Five Beans in the Wheel | Sheriff Jim Wilson

  4. Jack Kellum says:

    I’m not sure how long ago you posted the comment on Strabucks but as of August 2013 it was announced here in Arizona that they have a NO GUNS ALLOWED POLICY NATIONWIDE. This means concealed or open. Folks I know here are telling the grocery stores with Starbucks inside they will shop else where. It is important to remember their name and the emphasis is on BUCKS.

  5. Pingback: Surviving A Gunfight: Go Back to Basics | Sheriff Jim Wilson

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