The Last Gunfight
The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West
As The Last Gunfight makes clear, the real story of the O.K. Corral and the West is far different from what we’ve been led to believe by countless TV Westerns and Hollywood films. Drawing on new material from private collections—including diaries, letters, and Wyatt Earp’s own hand-drawn sketch of the shootout’s conclusion—as well as documentary research in Tombstone and Arizona archives and dozens of interviews, award-winning author Jeff Guinn gives us a startlingly different and far more fascinating picture of what the West was like, who the Earps and Doc Holliday and their cowboy adversaries really were, what actually happened on that cold day in Tombstone, and why.
The gunfight did not actually occur in the O.K. Corral, and it was in no way a defining battle between frontier forces of good and evil. Combining newfound facts with cinematic storytelling, Guinn depicts an accidental if inevitable clash between competing social, political, and economic forces representing the old West of ruggedly independent ranchers and cowboys and the emerging new West of wealthy mining interests and well-heeled town folk.
With its masterful storytelling, fresh research, and memorable characters—the Earps, cattle rustlers, frontier prostitutes, renegade Apaches, and Tombstone itself, a beguiling hybrid of elegance and decadence—The Last Gunfight is both hugely entertaining and illuminating, and the definitive work on the Wild West’s greatest shootout.
Jeff Guinn's The Last Gunfight
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Read an Excerpt
TOMBSTONE THAT MORNING
Virgil Earp was determined to sleep in on Wednesday, October 26, 1881. The Tombstone police chief tumbled into bed around 6 A.M. after participating in an all-night poker game at the Occidental Saloon. Among others, he’d played against Johnny Behan, the county sheriff, and local ranchers Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury. Before sitting down to play cards, Clanton had spent much of the night threatening the chief’s brother Wyatt and Wyatt’s gambler pal, Doc Holliday. At one point he and Holliday had to be separated. Holliday eventually headed home to his room in a... see more