The gunfight at the O. K. Corral was roughly 30 seconds long and took place on October 26th 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Although only three men were killed during the gunfight, it is regarded to be one of the most famous gunfights in the Old West. The Gunfight was quite unknown to the public until 1931 when author Stuart Lake published a biography (Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall) two years after Wyatt’s death. Lake retold his story in 1946 in a book that director, John Ford, developed into the movie My Darling Clementine.
After the movie Gunfight at the O. K. Corral was released in 1957, the shootout came to be known as that name. The conflict has since been portrayed with varying accuracy in numbers of Western films and books. The Gunfight Begins At the beginning Virgil Earp immediately commanded the Cowboys to throw up their and hands and that he wants their guns but instead the cowboy’s reached to draw their guns. Virgil and Wyatt saw Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton draw and cock their six-shooters.
Virgil yelled “Hold! I don’t mean that! ” Two shots went off right together. Billy Clanton’s was one of them. Billy leveled his pistol at Wyatt but Wyatt didn’t aim at him. He knew that Frank Mclaury had the reputation of being a good shot and a dangerous man, so he aimed at him. Virgil and Wyatt thought Tom McLaury was armed. When shooting started, Wyatt saw Tom throw his hand to his hip and run behind the horse he was holding and then shot once over the horses back.
Doc Holliday eventually stepped forward and fired his shotgun into Tom McLaury’s chest. Ike Clanton ran forward and grabbed Wyatt saying that he was unarmed and didn’t want to fight. Wyatt responded “Go to fighting or get away! ” Ike Clanton ran through the front door of Fly’s Boarding House and escaped, unwounded. Billy Claiborne also ran from the fight. After shooting Tom, Holliday tossed the shotgun aside, pulled out his revolver, and continued to fire at Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton.
Tom fell at the foot of a telegraph pole on the corner of Fremont and 3rd Street and lay there without moving through the duration of the fight. One of the shots hit Billy Clanton in the right wrist. Virgil and Wyatt were now firing. Frank McClaury was shot in the torso and taking his horse by its reigns, he struggled into the street. Frank tried to grab his rifle from its holster on his horse and fired his revolver only to lose the revolver before he could withdraw his rifle. Frank and Holliday exchanged shots.
Both remaining cowboys wounded, Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury kept shooting. Billy shot Morgan Earp across the back in a wound that struck both shoulder blades and then Virgil in the calf. Frank shot Holliday as he moved into the street striking his pistol holster and grazing his skin. As Holliday crossed the street toward Frank he exclaimed, “That son of a bitch shot me, I’m gonna kill him. ” Frank lost control of his horse and crossed to the sidewalk on the opposite side of Fremont Street and fired twice more before he was shot in the head under his right ear.
Billy Clanton was shot in the chest and abdomen and fell to a sitting position. Outcome of the Battle During the gunfight, Doc Holliday was grazed by a bullet that struck his holster, Virgil Earp was shot through the calf, Morgan Earp was struck across both shoulder blades by a bullet, Wyatt Earp was unhurt, Ike Clanton & Billy Claiborne ran from the fight and weren’t shot, Wesley Fuller left as soon as the firing began and Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury were killed.
As the wounded lawmen were carried to their homes they passed in front of the Sheriff’s Office and Johnny Behan told Wyatt Earp that he was under arrest. Wyatt paused for two or three seconds and replied, “I won’t be arrested today. I am right here and am not going anywhere. ”