|Wyatt and his mom|
|Wyatt Earp - Lawman|
|The Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday in the Tombstone days|
The two groups were about six feet apart when the shooting started. About thirty shots were fired in the 30 seconds fight. Three of the Clanton group were killed in the gunfight and Wyatt’s brothers were both wounded. Wyatt was untouched. They Earps were later cleared of murder charges because they had been temporarily deputized prior to the fight. The Gunfight at the OK Corral was a minor historic footnote until dramatized and popularized by a 1931 Earp biography and subsequent movie depictions.
For an interesting depiction of the gunfight check out this mashup of scenes from the 1993 movie "Tombstone" with Kurt Russell as Wyatt and the 1994 film "Wyatt Earp" with Kevin Costner in the title role: Gunfight at the OK Corral
The gunfight didn’t end the Earps problems. Further recriminations resulted in the assassination of Wyatt’s brother Morgan and Wyatt’s revenge killing of four cowboys). Over the next several years Earp traversed the west, sometimes working for the law, sometimes running from it – to Kansas, Idaho, and El Paso before ultimately arriving in San Diego, CA during a real estate boom in 1887. Earp purchased a number of properties which were turned into houses of gambling and ill repute.
In the early 1890’s Wyatt moved with his third wife Josephine to San Francisco where he got involved in horse track racing and boxing. He left San Fran for Alaska and the Klondike Gold Rush in 1903 and a couple of years later he followed gold fever to Nevada for the gold rush there. At the age of 62 Earp moved to Los Angeles where he worked in a vague law enforcement role – essentially doing things that were illegal for the police to do. By the 1920’s he had moved to Hollywood where he consulted on silent westerns.
|Wyatt in 1928 - about a year before he died|
Eventually Wyatt and Josephine moved up to San Francisco where he lived out his final years in relative peace. On January 13, 1929 Wyatt Earp died of cancer at the age of eighty years. His funeral was a social event and two of his pallbearers were famous western film stars – William S. Hart and Tom Mix. Josephine, who was Jewish, had Wyatt cremated and buried in Hills of Eternity – the Jewish cemetery in the Colma community just south of San Francisco. Remarkably, in all his gunfights Wyatt Earp never suffered a gunshot wound.