The Patriot Resource - Tombstone

Wyatt Earp
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp
Born: March 19, 1849; Monmouth, Illinois
Died: January 13, 1929; Los Angeles, California


Character in Tombstone Portrayed by: Kurt Russell


When Wyatt arrived in Tombstone, he did become part owner of the Oriental Saloon as depicted in the film, but he also worked as a shotgun guard for Wells Fargo, which is omitted in the film. The sequence of Town Marshal Fred White's fatal shooting at the hands of Curly Bill Brocius happened much as it was portrayed with Wyatt running up and knocking Brocius over the head with the butt of his pistol following the 'accidental' shooting of White..

The tensions between Wyatt and Ike Clanton may have actually arisen from the fact that he may have cut a deal with the Earps concerning some stagecoach robberies and rustling by some of the Cowboys. He may have feared that his dealings with the Earps would be revealed. Much of the other tension came from the fact that Virgil was part of the law as a Deputy Federal Marshal from the time that he arrived in town. The new Cochise County Sheriff John Behan rarely took any action against the Cowboys, while Virgil and the Earps did investigate the Cowboys' activities.

The events surrounding the gunfight at the O.K. Corral were very close to being true to history. However, the Cowboys revenge afterwards was spaced out. Virgil and Morgan were not shot the same night, but rather several weeks apart. Wyatt was shooting pool with Morgan and was narrowly missed by a shotgun blast on the stormy night that Morgan was shot. The vendetta against the Cowboys was close to accurate. The death of Curly Bill as portrayed is the version of events that Wyatt claimed. Curly Bill simply disappeared, so his fate is still up for debate.

The death of Johnny Ringo is much more of a mystery that the film portrays. Though he was found at the foot of a tree as the film depicted, the general accepted cause is suicide. Some do believe Wyatt's own claim that he and Doc Holliday returned to Arizona, even though they were now wanted men in the territory, and were involved in Ringo's death. Wyatt and Doc actually parted ways only months after the events in Tombstone. Wyatt never even visited Doc at the sanitarium. He did not learn of Holliday's death until seven years later. Wyatt did marry Josephine Marcus in later life and they moved to Hollywood where Earp became friends with early Cowboy actors.


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