The OK Corral, Tombstone AZ

Everyone has of course heard of the Gunfight at the OK Corral. But when the incident actually happened in October 1881, it was a minor blip, barely noticed or remembered outside of Arizona. It wasn’t until Wyatt Earp became the hero of pulp Western dime novels in the 1920s that the gunfight became a legend.

Today, Tombstone trades on its historical legacy. But buried beneath the tourist kitsch is some real history.

Here are some photos from a visit to Tombstone.


Tombstone AZ


The center of town has been restored to its Wild West appearance


“Cowboys” in the street


The “Earp brothers” patrol the town. On October 26, 1881, the Earp brothers had several run-ins with the Clantons, a local gang of ruffians. Threats were exchanged.


The OK Corral. Early on the evening of October 26, the Clantons were gathered here, wearing guns in violation of the town ordinances. The Marshal Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and his friend “Doc” Holliday, all deputies, went here to disarm the Clantons.


Inside the OK Corral


Mannequins representing the Clanton gang and the Earp lawmen


And the gunfight is re-enacted four times daily. There’s just one slight problem….. the gunfight didn’t actually happen here inside the OK Corral.


In reality, the Earps walked *through* the OK Corral, through this gate, and into the empty lot and alley on the other side……..


…which is now, ironically, a US Marshal’s station.


And this is where the famous gunfight actually took place.


According to the witnesses, the Earps demanded that the Clantons turn over their guns. When somebody cocked a pistol, Wyatt Earp raised his arm and yelled “Hold on, we don’t want that!” Then the shooting started. Three of the Clantons were killed (the fourth was unarmed and ran away), and Earp’s two brothers were wounded.




3 thoughts on “The OK Corral, Tombstone AZ

  1. Want you to know how much I enjoy your visits as it brings back so many memories of my trips in the past. Those five years I spent as a gypsy covered the whole United States just like you are doing now. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Thanks. Glad you enjoy it. I sure do. 🙂

    I figure if all I do is visit the two largest cities in each continental state and spend a month in each, that’s 96 months=8 years. And that doesn’t count any of the national parks. 😉

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