Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp may seem like a strange subject for me to write about but it really isn't, I've always had a fascination with the old west and the stories about the people who settled it.  My Dad always had Old West magazines laying around the house (I think that he always felt he'd been born a century too late)  that I'd read,  and when we traveled we'd usually include a side trip to old forts, cattle towns and of course Tombstone.  
Mac and I went there too a few years ago, really great place to see with its old saloons, opera house and of course the OK Corral.
We love the movie Tombstone have seen it more times than I can count, finally had to buy a copy of it. Kurt Russell as Wyatt is good, but Sam Elliot as his brother Virgil and Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday steal the show.
 Then Monday night we caught a show on PBS about Wyatt, telling his story from childhood, where his father was a deadbeat moving the family from town to town skipping out on debts, through his marriage that ended with his wife's death, his career as a bordello bouncer and on to his career as a lawman in Abilene and Dodge City.  From there he moved on to Tombstone and the event they say haunted the rest of his life, the gunfight at the OK Corral.  We've all seen picture of the famous shootout, the men facing each other across the corral, but  the program said the fight had taken place at barely arm's reach, extraordinary.
In later life Wyatt  was in Los Angeles and loved cowboy movies, traveling from one end of town to the other to see them all. 
Last year we watched a movie called "Sunset", a rather fictionalized version of his meeting with Tom Mix when he served as an advisor on one of his movies.  It starred Bruce Willis as Tom Mix and James Garner as Earp.  Though no means a great movie it was amusing and we enjoyed it.
Tom Mix was one of Wyatt's  pallbearers when he died and it's said that he cried.  I think he must have been a most interesting person, one of those you'd like to meet, have a beer with and a long talk about long ago.

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