Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gun Fight at the OK Corral

This is a thirty second battle which took place in Tombstone, Arizona, October 26 at 3 p.m. between the Earps and the Clantons/ McLaurys.  Virgil Earp was the Marshall and he was joined by brothers Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.  These all had some roll as assistant town Marshalls or designated lawmen.  They faced a group of cowboys, Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury.  This thirty second battle is considered the most famous gunfight in Western history.  Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne ran from the fight, and escaped unharmed.  However Billy Clanton was killed, as well as the McLaury brothers.  On the other side, everyone was wounded with the exception of Wyatt Earp who escaped injury.  
At this time, the term Cowboy generally referred to outlaws.  Legitimate cattlemen were referred to as ranchers or cattlemen. 

However, my question is how did the situation get to where gun play was involved.  There had been a long standing feud between he Clantons and the Earps.  Virgil was the town Marshall.  Tombston was a very rich town, as the result of the silver mining.  There was lots of money.  There however was animosity between the Cowboys and the business people of town.  This animosity was likely the cause of the poor relationship between these families.  The Clantons ran cattle.  The Earps suspected the cattle was rustled in Mexico, and would not let them bring the cattle for sale into town.  Virgil had taken the guns of Billy Claiborne and Ike Clanton.  Ike was running around town saying he was going to kill the Earps and Doc Holliday.  Billy and Ike were joined by the McLaury brothers, and Ike's brother Billy.  They were hanging around the boarding home where Doc Holliday was staying.  The Earps and Holliday decided they would disarm the brothers who had just arrived.  They approached them to within a few feet, when the battle took place.  The lawmen asked them to disarm, but got a round of shells instead.  Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, who were not armed, announced this as the fled the scene.
The Earps and Doc Holliday were charged with murder.  However they were cleared.
The feud did not end here.  In December Virgil was wounded in an assisination attemp.  He lost the use of his right arm.  In March of the next year, Warren was murdered.  This sent Wyatt, Virgil and Doc on a vendetta ride in which they killed at lease three, including Curly Bill Brocius who was the leader of the cowboy gang.

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