Western Life

The Gunfight at the OK Corral

Introduction

The shootout at the OK Corral has now become an historic incident of the Wild West. This shootout is a perfect tale of robbers and cops in the Wild West. It is an incident when the Lawman Wyatt Earp, his great friend Doc Holliday and his brothers Virgil and Morgan went against a group of rebellious cowboys who ran crazy in the town of Tombstone, Arizona. This shootout was a very dangerous one, however, it has been romanticized in the movies.

Background

Some people still argue if the Earp brothers were really noble and true lawmen working to tame the Wild West from vigilantes who were involved in various crimes in the town. However, there was a thin line between being a criminal and a hero. Ed Schieffelin found the historic and small town of Tombstone in the year 1877. Even after getting several warnings that Tombstone is a town that will bring destruction, Schieffelin was determined to explore the Apache land. Instead of being scared or backing off, he found a silver mine that was producing profits of around $37 million. When the news got out, many wealthy merchants started setting up shops in the town, hopeful to gain some additional cash.

Soon after this discovery, the town was surrounded by opera houses, fine dining restaurants and a bowling alley as well. The OK Corral was a part of this small town and was one of the eight liveries. Although the town was filled with cash however, it lacked the presence of a lawman who would ensure the maintenance of proper law and order.

Image: tishomir / Shutterstock.com

The town started to become prominent in the eyes of dangerous groups and later on became an easy target for bandits and rustlers. The town was soon occupied with brothels, violence and gambling houses. In the year 1879, the Earp brothers, along with their friend Doc Holliday, decided to visit the town and bring justice. Wyatt Earp belonged to Missouri and was an ex-lawman.

There was crew in town known as the Cochise County Cowboys. These cowboys became the mortal enemies of the Earp brothers when they accidentally killed Fred White, the City Marshall in the year 1880. Wyatt Earp and Fred White had both been summoned to handle some of the drunk cowboys who were unloading their guns at night. When Fred White asked them to hand over their weapons, they resisted and accidentally shot Fred White, who was killed during this incident. This was the beginning of a great rivalry.

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