Gunfight at the O.K. Corral


On this date in 1881 the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” occurred. Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and “Doc” Holliday had a shootout with the Ike Clanton gang.

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a 30-second gunfight between lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws called the “Cowboys” that took place at about 3:00 P.M. on a Wednesday this date in 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. The gunfight was the result of a long-simmering feud with Cowboys Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, and Tom and Frank McLaury on one side; town Marshall Virgil Earp, Special Policemen Morgan Earp and Wyatt Earp, and temporary policeman Doc Holliday were on the other side.

All three Earp brothers had been the target of repeated death threats made by the Cowboys, who were upset by the Earps’ interference in their illegal activities. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed. Ike Clanton claimed he was unarmed and ran from the fight, along with Billy Claiborne. Virgil, Morgan and Doc Holliday were wounded, but Wyatt Earp was unharmed. The shootout has come to represent a period of the American Old West when the frontier was virtually an open range for outlaws, largely unopposed by law enforcement officers, who were spread thin over vast territories.


The gunfight was not well-known to the American public until 1931 when Stuart Lake published an initially well-received biography, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall, two years after Earp’s death. The book was the basis for the 1946 film My Darling Clementine, directed by John Ford, and the 1957 film Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, after which the shootout became known by that name. (me and Wikipedia)

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