The Notorious Cowboys Present...

Help us "try" and keep the history of Tombstone truthful

The Internet has really opened up a world of new information about the historical facts of ol' Tombstone. If you have any new information about Tombstone, historical facts, or you know a known fake that is being pass through our history books as true history, please e-mail them to us with "facts, finds, & fakes written in as your subject. e-mail us here

Please Note: The written statements and/or opinions below are posted for your reading enjoyment. Please note that some of the comments may be out of context. These are un-edited e-mail questions and comments that we have received on both sides of different issues and DO NOT reflect the opinions and/or feelings of Terry Ike Clanton (unless noted) or the Notorious Clanton Gang. We welcome your e-mail comments to these subjects, please keep your comments acceptable for all ages. e-mail



picture courtesy of

This photo is suppose to be Joesphine Sarah Marcus Earp, taken in 1881 in Tombstone.


First on the web, we have some new information on one of the long lost controversies surrounding this picture that some think is Josie Earp.

The following is e-mail information I recieved from a woman name Debbie:

I have an old picture of one of Earps wifes. It's dated 1914 and she is standing naked with a see threw gown on. You can see everything. My great grandfather was a famous photographer and it is from his collection. Im trying to find some pictures of his wives to see which one it was. Can you help? Deb

Another reply after asking for more information...

Ike, The picture is in a frame with paper backing. There may be something on the back of it. I dont know if I really want to take it apart to see. I'll have to think about it. My great grandfather was from Canada and on the back of the frame it says Pitaway Studios, 58 Sparks St. I believe the studio was in Ottowa. On the front in the middle at the bottom it says Kaloma and off to the right it says copyright 1914-P N O. My great grandfathers name was Alfred Pitaway. My friend saw the very same picture on TV and they said it was Earps second wife but she couldn't remember her name.I was looking thru some Earp stuff and it said his second wifes name was Josie. Is that correct?

Comments by Ike Clanton...

Deb, confirmed by e-mail that this is the same picture.

Heres the kicker to this new information folks!... Copyright 1914?

Josie Earp was born in 1861.

If this photo was copyrighted the same year it was shot... it would make Joise Earp 53 years old in this photo!

Granted, the photo could have been copyrighted at any time, but it does bring up some interesting questions.

I have also heard that this picture was used in ice cream ads in the 1920's.



Hey Ike,

The picture that was copyrighted 1914 was in fact a picture that was taken in 1914. The picture is NOT of Sadie Earp.

In fact, the photograph was tracked down to the ABC Novelty Company in Brooklyn, New York.

The fashion styles and the hair style of the young woman are not from the 1880s time frame.

The picture was used for a "Naughty" set of cards that circulated in the 20s. The picture was also used on some Mexican post cards.

The picture has been reproduced in over 20 countries including Canada, where one of the original copies of the photo have been found.

Vanilla Fudge, a late 60s and early 70s rock band even featured the nude woman on one of their rock posters.

There is only one known picture of Sadie Earp and that is when she was elderly.


John Savoie


Ike, I recieved a letter and it goes like this. There is practically no possibility that the photo is anyone but Josie Earp, dispite all the smoke about others, which is largely baced on ignorance and the "now-it-can-be-told" mentality. the pictures of an alledged show girl,Kaloma, which are copies of the original of her, have been exposed, in turn, because it develops that there is a still earlier one under another name. What do you all think about this? Deb

Ike I recieved the letter from Glenn Boyer. I was kind of confused also so I did a little more research myself.Kaloma is a name of a show girl. I read that the photo came from Johnny Behans effects and the day it was taken she was drunk on wine. This info came from a lady named CarmelitaMayhew. She owned a bar back then and was there when it was taken. There is an older picture of Josie in another book that I found and ther faces are very similar.There is still doubt in some of the readings but the odds are that it is her. Oh, ther is also a locket picture of Josie that came from a Mrs. Cason and that picture was taken when she was in her early forties. It was compared to the nude and they stated that it is the person. Believe it or not. Deb H.


Howdy Ike,

I contacted the ABC Novelty Company in New York and they are sending me a letter to prove that it is not Sadie Marcus Earp. They have sold the photo in copies to various publishing houses for less than half a penny each.

They said that an original copy would be worth about $5 No Les, No Moore.

They also said that it depends on who is buying the photo and if they are willing to believe it is a famous photograph then the price could be worth more, but only for the purchaser.

You can purchase the photo in bulk for 5 cents a copy.


Take Care,

John Savoie

Thanks for the comments John. Please send me a copy of this letter so that I can post it!

Wow! we might be finally getting to the bottom of this photo! Ike


Howdy Ike,

Just thought I would drop you a line or two about the latest stuff I see from Deb H. on your "Facts" page.

Strange how she simply knows Mrs. Cason. Most of us who are familiar with Boyer's works know who Mrs. Cason is or was. I believe I misidentified her family name as Colson in one of my earlier messages. Sorry for that.

But Deb seems to know and push real hard that this is really Josie. It may be, I don't know. I would say this however. If there is indeed a locket with a photo of Josie in her 40s and it appears to be the same person, then show me, I used to live in Missouri.

Deb. H. may be a real person, but then again she may be another one of Glenn Boyer's personnas. I hope she is for real.

Who is Carmalite Mayhew and where did she own a bar? How do we know (references please) Kaloma was the name of a showgirl? I'm sorry, but there are too many unanswered questions here for us to know Deb knows what she is talking about.

Ellis Badon

Ike, In regards to Ellis comments. Yes I am a real person. Are you? The fact is I have this picture and I did some research to try and figure out who it was. All I did was comment on some of the things I read. If you Ellis want to do some reading go to the library and read for yourself. When you've done some reading then maybe your comments will count. Deb

OK gang...easy now!...let's not get nasty with one another! We're all in this together for the love of TRUE history. I think it's great that we can all put our minds together to find out the truth about this picture.

Thanks again to all who have continued to add information to this growing story, Ike


Subject: Photo of Josie Earp and a word or two to Ellis Badon, if there is such a person and it's not Carl Chafin or Jeff Morey or G. Gordon Liddy under pseudonym.


It is odd that so many people stay in the dark about the Josie Earp photo when so much information is available about it. If they will simply send for the Booklet in the WYATT EARP: FACTS series: "The Unpublished Youth of Wyatt's Wanton Wife" from Historical Research Associates, PO Box 40, Rodeo, NM 880565 they will get a whole bunch of info. including the fact that there was an earlier picture than that of Kaloma, etc. $11.95 plus $1.50 Postage. HRA accepts VISA, MASTER CARD, AMEX AND DISCOVER. Phone order to HRA at 1-520-558-2238, 24 hrs a day, seven days a week, or order by E-Mail to or through our WEB page at FAX Orders at 1-520-558-2215 (when the FAX machine isn't tied up receiving hate mail from nut cases). There is more information in this booklet than one would believe and it answers all the questions, including who Carmelita Mayhew was, where her bar was and when, and contains all of the information about the locket photo. Ellis Badon doesn't seem to have the Cason name right and has it as Colson. He sounds grossly ignorant as yet (or perhaps it's chronic and defies treatment). If not the latter, he should buy this booklet and find out what he's babbling about.

G.G. Boyer (Icon)

PS See me in Phoenix on Jan. 3 and that's the Super Eight Motel, not Super Six - the blood letting is across the parking lot in the Days Inn Conference Room. Starts at 6:30 P.M. under the aegis of the Western Outlaw Lawman Assn. (WOLA) as distinguished from the inferior National Outlaw Lawman Association (NOLA). Many celebrities expected to attend: Alfred E. Newman, Yosemite Sam, Woody Woodpecker, Quick Draw McGraw, Little Dum-Dum Irving, the 42nd fastest gun in the West, Peter Pan (and perhaps the St. Bernard Nana) and a cast of thousands. Many are completely humorless and will edify the audience by publicly frothing at the mouth. Come and bring your friends. $10.00 door charge. For those who come in from out of town, rooms are available for attendees at $40.00 a night single, $45.00 double. Make arrangement through Jim Dullenty, Rocky Mountain House Books, Hamilton, MT who is the coordinator. (Jim is also known as The Hamilton Hobbit, or the Sage of Flathead Lake, or perhaps that's the Fathead of Sage Lake - is there a Sage Lake up there?)

Howdy Glen,

Thanks for the comments... I mean sales pitch!

Hey... speakin of that... I'm still waiting for my signed copy of your booklet that has everything you ever wanted to know about this simi-nude photo that were all talkin' about here! <Big grin> Come on dude, set me and the boys straight about this pic!

What do you know about the ABC Novelty Company saying they own the rights to the photo in question?

I'm still waiting to see if John Savorie comes up with the letter from the Novelty Company that says it ain't Josie Earp.

Easy now pilgrim... in 1981, I was 38th fastest gun in the World! <grin>

The Jan, 3, Phoenix "Great Hot Air Match" sounds like fun, I hope I'm able to attend. I promise you one thing, if I do show, I'll have my sense of humor with me!

I only wish I could be verbally involved, you know me! <big cow pie eatin' grin>

"Trust everyone, but always brand your cattle"... Ike


I'm sorry Ike, in Ontario our postal workers went on strike. The mail is moving again - but it probably got delayed.

As soon as I get it I'll scan it in.

Take Care,


Thanks John,

Hey gang what do ya tkink... will this letter prove that it's not Josie Earp in the photo?

I can't wait to see it... Ike


Howdy Ike, Went to a cowboy collectable expert the other day. His collectables are known all over the states.I showed him my picture of Josie and asked him if he thought it was her. He stated he and his buddies have done alot of research on this picture.And all came to the agreement that its her. He also showed me a Butterfields and Butterfield catalog. Her picture was in there and will sell for $1500-$2500 at auction.Its nice to know that my picture is worth that much. He says it may be even more because of the embosing on it.So Long Deb

Hello Deb,

Thanks for the e-mail and your continued support of finding the truth about your photo!

Please remember, this is not a fight, in no way shape or form. I really want to see us get to the bottom and the final truth of this photo!

How many Original copies of (this same photo) do you think are out there? Could you please send me a copy of the Butterfields and Butterfields catalog with the picture and auction prices in it?

Thanks, Ike


Dear Ike,

I was looking for the "Josie Earp" pictures in a number of books to see who owned the photos at the time of publication. I found that in Bob Boze Bell's "The Illustrated Life and Times of Doc Holliday" (pg 37) he also traced the photo to the ABC Novelty Company in New York. (I guess my research into this matter was done already!) He has the company situated in Brooklyn. This was true until the mid-40s when the company moved out of the Brooklyn area but remains in the New York area. It is now called, "ABC Novelty Company and Gift Shop."

Here is the text that appears on page 37 under the "Josie Earp" photo:

"By now everyone in North America is aware of the alleged nude photo of Josephine. (In fact, both recent Wyatt Earp movies had scenes about this photo.) It is not her. The photograph has been tracked to the ABC Novelty Company, in Brooklyn, New York. It has a copyright date of 1914, and in fact, if you look closely, it is not even an 1880s-style photograph....."

I am in contact with the manager of the ABC Novelty Company and I am awaiting the letter in the mail.

Take Care Ike and remember not to kick chips on a hot day!


John Savoie

Howdy John,

Thanks again for all the information. I have known for a couple of years where Bob Boze Bell stands on this photo! Bob was our guest speaker at the 4th annual Clanton Rendezvous in 1996, plus I have spent quite a few hours talking with Bob at different events throughout the years.

I can't wait to see this letter from the ABC Novelty Company!

Hell or High Water... we're gonna get to the bottom of this photo in question, thanks Ike.


Howdy Ike,

I am happy your site is doing well and there are so many comments on the subject of the Josie Earp(?) photo.

Let's make this perfectly clear from the outset. I have not yet taken a position on the photo. I simply don't know if it is or not. Until someone provides some definitive proof one way or the other, I will take no position on it. One other thing about this photo. It isn't going to make one hill of beans one way or the other. Josie was Wyatt's common-law wife. That's a fact. Whether or not there is a photo of her at the time she was in Tombstone isn't going to change that. The authenticity of the photo, near as I can tell, would mean a whole lot of Boyer's somewhat tarnished image as a bona fide historian.

As for Mr. Boyer, I have no wish to begin a feud with him. I hope the photo turns out to be the real McCoy. I have a great deal of faith in his ability to communicate. He has done it well in books, articles and other printed material.

I did not fictionalize the story of the so-called Tombstone Epitaph reporter, Mr. Boyer did. I did not write to the Epitaph Monthly edition more than ten years ago and falsely identify myself to embarrass another writer - namely Wayne Montgomery. Mr. Boyer correctly caught Mr. Monrtgomery in the act of falsifying Honest John Montgomery's (owner of the OK Corral in 1881) diary. However, it would have been so much more honest of Boyer and his accmomplice to correctly identify themselves, rather than resorting to fakery.

I have not written something I knew to be false or misleading. I incorrectly misidentified the Cason family as Colsom and I owned up to it for everyone on your site to see. There is no shame in that. It was the right thing to do.

As for me being a real person, I will give the the short facts. I live at 710 S. Massachusetts St. in Covington, Louisiana. I am editor of the St. Tammany Farmer, the oldest weekly newspaper in the state. I have been a reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and served a one-year stint as editor of the Elkin Tribune in Elkin, N.C. I am better known to my readers and friends as Butch, a nickname I have had since a toddler. Everyone, please feel free to write or e-mail me at

I wish Mr. Boyer well, but I will not buy his pamphlet. Considering the misinformation he has given us through the years, I wouldn't feel good about the use of the money. If he would like to send it to the St. Tammany Parish Library in Covington, I would be more than happy to read it. That way I could sift through the information and see what I wish to believe and what not to.

As I have already said, Mr. Boyer is a fine writer. I want him, however, to come clean with all, repeal all, that he knows. But to quote the songwriter, singer, "I may as well try and catch the wind."

Ike, I know you have some misgivings about a cat fight between two people, That is not my wish either. I do hope this will be my last writing along these lines.

As you have said, trust everyone, but always brand your cattle.

Butch Badon

Howdy Butch!

Someday we're going to get to the bottom of this picture, come hell or high water!

Thanks for your continued efforts, Ike


Dear Ike,

The letter came in last week and I finally had time to send you this e-mail with the letter. The letter isn't exactly what I hoped it would be. I got more information on the phone than what he put in the letter. He asked me if you could remove the address so that people don't call and ask for information. I left the address in there so you can verify it. He has a number of East-Indian employees and it was very difficult getting any information from them - they thought I was somebody from the FBI.

Anyways here is my take on the picture (you may or may not want to include this on your site)

I believe that the photo presented as Josie Earp is not that of the true Josie Earp. First, and most importantly is the fact that the woman is wearing a style that is from the 1900s to about 1929. The date of the photo, verified by the ABC Novelty Company in New York, is in fact 1914. Granted, the photo could have been photographed in 1900 and copyrighted in 1914 - this remains one of the mysteries.

A photo of Josie Earp that I found in Casey Terfertiller's Wyatt Earp shows an elderly Josephine Marcus Earp (Page 225) The photo is from the Robert G. McCubbin Collection and has been verified as authentic. The date of the photograph is estimated at about 1921. Josephine is elderly and is very plump. This contrasts the 1914 photo of "Josie" where she is young and thin.

Both photos were given to a friend who works within the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) in Toronto. He passed it along to a police artist. His comments were that he did not believe that they were the same person. I believe that you are also attempting to do this. Perhaps you have better leads and could try to find a more professional response to try to determine if they are the same person or not.

I believe that a lot more research will go into this until we learn the truth about this photo. At the moment it is my opinion that this is not an authentic photo of Josie Earp.

Thanks "Ike" for allowing this forum to discuss matters such as these.

John Savoie Email:

Thanks for the continued comments John...

At least for now... I have to go along with you that this isn't the true Josie Earp. I would certainly change my mind if we could find the facts that support it's really her.

Maybe I'll change my mind tonight. Today, I received Mr. Boyer's booklet (thanks again Glenn) that gives his opinions of this Josie Earp photo in question. I also talked with Mr. Boyer today on the phone, but I didn't ask him about the photo, we talked about last weeks conference in Phoenix and a possible rematch. He's still quite ill... Get Well Soon Glenn!

BTW... Glenn's been pickin' on me lately (in good fun) in his footnote sections of his new booklets. That's OK, I appreciate his comments and his sense of humor, publicity is publicity, Glenn just don't ever spell my name wrong!


November 26, 1997

Dear Mr. Savoie

Thank you for your continued interest in the A B C Novelty Company. It was a pleasure speaking with you over the telephone. Here is the information you requested in writing.

The photo that you have sent to us via fax is one that we have had on file. I have come to the understanding that this is a picture of Josephine Earp, the famous Marshall Wyatt Earp's wife. Over the years we have had many inquires into this photo.

I will confirm that this photo was copyrighted under the A B C name in 1914. In our warehouse we have a thousand similar photos of nude woman that we used and still use. My understanding is that the photographs were taken in New York or Boston. We have no records of who the actual photographer was.

We also have no records of the sales of the photo. We have a number of similar photos in stock. Each one has been duplicated from ten to a hundred times. The value of the originals depends on the market. We have copies of the photo in question. These were done in the 1960s and we still sell them occationally to different clients. However, we are now primarily a gift shop warehouse and have strayed from selling photos in bulk.

If you have any other questions please feel free to call or write.


Dave McKenna

Howdy John, and thanks for your continued support of the truth!

I was hoping for more from this letter as well. O'well... we'll keep searching for the truth!


The guy (who wrote the letter) says that he doesnt believe it to be her - because there is no record of it being someone famous (plus the fact that she would have had to visit New York to get her picture taken.)

The letter is a little misleading on his part. Over the phone the guy was laughing at all the researchers and people who believe it to be her. I guess he is just trying to name the photo....he could have wrote it a different way such as "The photo known as Josie Earp" or something along those lines.

The letter was a let down. When I talked to him he said he would write all he knows about the letter. When I got the letter I was surprised myself because he didn't write everything he told me.

Oh well, I guess this isn't concrete proof - but at least he gave us some information about the photo. I will contact him again and ask for his opinion -based on his knowledge and fact of course.

See ya!








Howdy Earl,

After further thinking, I have deceided to post your above comments, but only because you sent them to me with your current e-mail address and I know where the above letter signed Josie Earp came from. Just a reminder gang, I will not post any comments without knowing and posting who they came from!

I'm afraid these comments may open up a can of worms... I'm also glad I'm staying out of this historical mud slinging, l I'll be the moderator and we'll start the debate that never happened in phoenix right here!

If it's gonna take a little friendly mud slinging to get to the bottom of who knows what about history... lets have it! This page has been designed for just that purpose (GOD bless America)

But please remember... Fun is Fun, but please boys... No cussing (nobody has yet) we do have a lot of educational people on the site, so let's keep it clean.

WOW... Can you beleive this... years ago... Ike Clanton was causing the problems, today his cousin and namesake is now he's try to calm them down! Ike

Terry You might follow Earl's latest with the comment: "Apparently the author of this message was too benighted to know that his address appears on e-mail messages that he sends - thus they are not anonymous. (Therefore we know that Earl Chafin is the author of this gem.) It was Earl Chafin's brother Carl who made the same allegation about Boyer's draft dodging to Tucson book seller, Bob Pugh, who promptly contacted a customer, Gen. Vandenberg (son of the former Chief of Staff of the Air Force) who was able to inform Pugh within a matter of a couple of hours that Glenn Boyer had served in the Air Force from Jan. 1943 until April 1965, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel and Command Pilot. Boyer, when provided a copy of this latest typical attack by Earl Chafin commented: "These guys keep making my day. I've obviously managed to toss itching powder into their panty hose. I'd guess that no period of twenty four hours passes without them gabbling to one another on the phone about me, like a bunch of sophomore high school girls.. We might ask Earl if, as a public service, he'd also provide the military records of himself and his brother Carl, and so far as that goes, their associates: Jeff Morey, Casey Tefertiller, Lee Simmons, Roger Peterson, Jim Dullenty, Chuck Parsons, Rick Miller, etc. Regarding womanizing, I am reminded of the (homely) Air Force Lt. Col, who similarly commented on my alleged "woman-chasing," as he put it, and the response to his sour-grapes remark by my immediate superior who wryly commented, "It appears to me to be the other way around." The saving grace, however, was not necessarily my virtue, but my chronic shortage of funds. But for that, I always admitted that I'd like to try having as many mistresses as I could afford (provided they were lovely and intelligent), but sadly couldn't afford even one. It would be my guess that Earl got this latest idea of how to smear me again from a former friend who, in associating with me for a decade or so, must have observed that women (including young and very lovely ones) were still attracted to me even after I was well past fifty. (They still are at 74, due to the fact that I remain blindingly handsome, and am full of scintillating repartee.) If the person I assume was Earl's 'misinformant,' were telling the truth (to which he doesn't seem overly addicted except by random chance) he would have to admit that other than observing this natural fascination of women with me, he also observed that I uniformly threw cold water on whatever their aspirations may have been. On the other hand, I must say that, although the opposite was true of him he was not saved by good sense but by the Almighty, since it is a universal fact of human relations that nothing brings out the virtue in a woman like a homely man who is chronically unable to make much money. If this fellow thinks I'm referring to whom he inescapably must think I'm referring, he's right. On balance, it is obvious that both he and Earl were in bad company, like two lepers,

The Icon

Jan 1, 2000

Dear Mr. Clanton:
I read your articles on the photo of Josie Earp and I have a little more
information to add to the story.  A number of years ago I purchased a copy of
some old sheet music which has the same photo of the supposed Josie Earp on
the cover.  The title of the sheet music is "Kaloma, Valse Hesitante
(Hesitation Waltz)" composed by Gire Goulineaux.  It was published in 1914 by
the Cosmopolitan Music Publishing Co., 1367-69 Broadway, New York.  It has a
copyright date for the photo of 1914 by the P. N. Co. on the front page.  I
hope this helps your search for the history of this photo.  If you would like
a scanned copy of the cover sheet, let me know.
William Balak

William -  Thank you for your comments



Can you prove this IS or IS NOT Josie Earp?

Please help us get to the bottom of this!

Please send me your thoughts and/or here to e-mail your comments


A past question of the week..What is your opinion... about how Hollywood has portrayed Tombstone, the OK Corral gunfight, the Clantons, Earps, (etc.) in movies and television?


Hey Ike,

I don't think that Hollywood really cares about who they make the heroes and who they make the villians. It is only interested in making good movies so people will come and see them.

But, I'll give you this, though. Too many movies have been seen through the Earp's side of the story. It's high time that we see the Clantons side of the story in Hollywood!

Thank you, Nick Rogers

Howdy Ike,

Hollywood doesn't want to hear the truth. It fears the truth never thinking for one minute the truth may be more interesting than fiction. Mabybe one day some producer will decide to be true to history and give us an accurate depiction of an historical event or person . . . . . Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Butch Badon

Compadre Ike, What can you say about an industry that would rather revise history than portray it as it happened! In my opinion Hollywood "could" make an accurate major motion picture on Tombstone and what really happened there if it wanted to. As far as I'm concerned, until they obtain and keep objective historical consultants and portray the Earps, Clantons and Tombstone itself as they really were, I fear the movies will continue to be just another source of misinformation. I do believe, however, that Dennis Quaid's performance as Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp is probably as close as we'll ever get to seeing the real Doc Holliday!! Adios Compadre, Kevin Mulkins

One thing I just can't seem to figure out is why Hollywood strays so far from what is already a grand epic. The more I learn about Tombstone the more I'm fascinated not so much by what actually went on, but by the way Tinseltown has gone so far outta the way to fabricate and fictionalize. Simple homework reveals facts that are readily available to any novice studying up on the Earps, Clantons, Holliday, Schieffelin, and Goose Flats. Movies like "Tombstone" and "Wyatt Earp" only added to the controversy by giving us ridiculous inaccuracies. Questionable scenes like Iron Springs, "old" Fred White, and Morg & Virg both shot on the same night are completely unnecessary, lending no more entertainment to the story (actually less) than having stuck to the facts as they happened. I sure do enjoy watching "Tombstone" but find myself every time picking out just one more phoney point that could've easily been done right by the likes of George Cosmotos (director). LD Farmer

A past question of the week (interesting comments!)
Should the Earps and Doc Holliday been held responsible for the murders of Billy Clanton and the McLaurys?

Or do you think they were justified in there actions on October 26, 1881?

Please explain your opinions?


Howdy Ike,

Well, you have posed a difficult question to answer: Should the Earps and Holliday have been held responsible for the murders of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers.

I don't mean to pick hairs here, but probably the question should have been: Should the Earps and Holliday have been held over for trial for the murders of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers.

That being said, I am going to surprise you with this answer. NO. My belief is that they should have been bound over for trial on a charge of manslaughter.

Murder statutes in most states vary. Elements of the crime here in Louisiana require that the prosecution show (A) the perpetrator must have had a specific intent to kill, and (B) the victim was a police officer killed in the line of duty. Many states require only a specific intent to kill and premeditation.

Manslaughter requires a specific intent to kill, plus the crime was committed in the heat of passion when there was not enough time for blood and tempers to cool. There are other definitions for manslaughter, but this is the one that concerns us in this case.

Now, I beleive there was enough evidence to hold the Earps and Holliday for manslaughter. Others may feel murder should have been the charge. In either case we must all remember one is innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Based on the Spicer hearing, I don't beleive there was enough evidence to convict. At the same time, I don't believe the prosecutor, Littleton Price, gave it his best shot. Though it may be true that Spricer would not allow cross-examination of Wyatt Earp, Price failed to aggressively pursue the case. For instance, he did not put George Spangenberg on the witness stand. Spangenberg, or one of his employees, could have testified what, if any, arms or ammunition was sold to either the Clantons or McLaurys when they stopped at Spangenbergs on the way to the corral. You can be sure Wyatt Earp asked that question of Spangenberg. Remember he had a confrontation with them over a horse on the sidewalk. Ike Clanton had been disarmed by the Earps. I have heard it said that Spangenberg refused to sell Ike anything when he vistited the shop before heading for the OK Corral. I haven't seen the evidence for that, but I'm told it exists.

Also, Fred Dodge in Undercover for Wells Fargo says Littleton Price was a moral coward and would not prosecute any bad man. I'm dubious about quoting Dodge since I think he lied about as much as Wyatt about events that occurred at Tombstone. However, since he was talking about a fellow Republican, there may, and I stress the word MAY, be something to Price's timidity.

Finally, let me say that a conviction would not necessarily follow a trial, though I believe there was enough evidence to warrant one. In a court of law, the judge and defense attorneys, and the prosecutor does not deny this, an indictment is not to be taken as proof of guilty. It means only that there was sufficient evidence to take a look at the possibility. As always, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no guarantee that could have been done in this case. Indeed, I would point to the O.J. Simpson case as support for that last statement.

Thanks for asking such a multi-level question. It is enough to challenge us all.

Remember, a light coat of oil after cleaning your weapon will keep things operating smoothly.

Butch Badon

Ike, Damn right they should be held responsible! Although there was bad blood for many months, I believe that they took advantage of a very volatile situation and pushed it. They grabbed the element of surprise and used it to the fullest of their advantage. Not to say that if the shoe was on the other foot, the Clantons would have done any different, but it was done to them, and the Earps got away with it. Had it been the opposite outcome and all the Earps & holliday were killed in a street ambush by the Clantons, what would Clum and the Earp faction have done??? Think about that for a bit!

Billy "Clanton" Naylor

I find it interesting that Billy "Clanton" Naylor thinks the Earps & Holliday "grabbed the element of surprise and used it to their advantage". The facts (albeit not undisputed) are that: Ike had gone around begging for a fight; the Clantons & McLaurys were armed and waiting for the Earps & Holliday: Behan claimed to have disarmed the Clantons & McLaurys but actually did not; and that none of their wounds supported claims of self-defense; these facts seem to indicated that the only "element of surprise" was that the Earps & Holliday came out on top in this particular incident.

V. Taylor

Howdy Ike,

Just read V. Taylor's response to question and Billy Clanton Naylor's response.

Two points to make about Mr. Taylor's message.

1. The question about whether all of the Clanton faction being armed remains hotly debated to this day. There is no question that Ike Clanton was unarmed. Totally undisputed. Whether Tom McLaury had a weapon also is debatable. I won't go into all the arguments here, they have been made time and again. I believe he was unarmed. That being said, At worst the EArps and Hollidays had the Cs and Ms outgunned five to three. At worst, five to two.

2. Again the wounds of the victims, one of them anyway, do tend to show not only that he was unarmed, but that he had his arms in the air at the time he was shot. That is shotgun pellets across both forearms. This would be consistent with several witnesses who said Tom held his coat lapels open to show that he had no weapon. This is debated by others, but still there is evidence here that Tom was unarmed and had hands on coat lapels.


Butch Badon

Howdy Ike,

Your first question implies that the Earps & Holliday were not held responsible for their actions on Wed. October 26, 1881, when in fact they were. You also use the word murder, from what I've read there was a whole lot of shootin from both sides with Morgan and Virgil Earp receiving wounds as well as Doc Holliday being grazed. Yes, the McLaurys & Billy Clanton were killed but not murdered. Its hard for any of us to try and piece together what happened in Tombstone 118 years ago, since none of us have first hand knowledge, we all must rely on the written word of others. I think Wells spicer called it right. I also think it was a fair fight, as the "code of the west" goes. In my opinion, thats something many of us forget about when we try and analyze the shootout. The McLaurys and Billy Clanton were done no favors by Sheriff John Behan that day, in fact he failed both factions miserably. Behan was the only person who knew the intentions of both parties that day and failed to halt either, but scooted out of the way and watched as all hell broke loose, then afterward reentered the situation demanding to do his duty as Sheriff. I believe the Earps & Holliday were justified, they had been threatened many times and when they came down Fremont St. and turned in to the 15' wide space between Fly's Boarding House and the Harwood house, they thought the "cowboys" had been disarmed by Behan. A face to face confrontation ensued and self defence can be claimed by both factions. The Earps, it can be said, won this battle but altimately lost the next two with Virgil being ambushed and crippled for life on December 28, 1881 and Morgan being back shot/murdered on March 18, 1882. In my opinion the Earps & Holliday, on October 26, 1881, meant their enemies face to face, that cannot be said for the people who ambushed Virgil Earp and murdered Morgan Earp. I rest my case.

Adios Compadre. Kevin Mulkins

Dear Ike,

In responce to your question about whether the Earps and Holliday should have been held responsible in the deaths of the McLaurys and Billy Clanton, they were. They were charged in criminal warrants sworn out by Ike Clanton, they were arrested (at least Wyatt and Holliday. Virgil and Morgan were confined by their wounds), they were forced to make bail to secure their release, and their actions were examined before a presiding magistrate in a month-long hearing, the purpose for which was to determine if their was probable cause to bind them over to a grand jury for indictment. At the end of this hearing Justice Spicer concluded that, in his opinion, their was not sufficient probable cause to warrant such an indictment. He further invited anyone not agreeing with this decision to present the case directly to the grand jury, which was then in session. This grand jury did not indict. Nor did any subsequent grand juries. As to whether the prosecutor, Littleton Price , gave it his best shot, attorney Will McLaury, brother to Frank and Tom, who came from Texas to assist the prosecution, certainly did. Still, no indictments were ever handed down. Regardless of what anyone's opinion may be today as to their guilt or innocence, the fact is theEarps and Holliday were indeed answerable to, and subjected to the judicial process at that time and were exonerated of any criminality. So, yes, the Earps should have been and were held responsible for their actions on October 26, 1881,and, after examination, these actions were deemed by the judicial process as justifiable. Now, a comment about Mr. Badon's two points. In the first he states that the Earp party had the Clanton/McLaurty party out gunned five to three or five to two. Even if Tom and Ike were not armed, which is still disputable, there were at least four guns - two revolvers on Frank Mc. and B. Clanton and two rifle on the horses with them - so I don't see how the Cs and Ms were outgunned. As to the second, I don't recall reading in coroner Matthews' report that there were any shotgun pellet wounds on Tom McLaury's forearms. Indeed he stated that there were twelve wounds on Tom McLaury's right side, underneath the arm near the armpit, that he believed were made by shotgun pellets - the expanse of which he could cover with the palm of one hand. All this shows is that T. M. had his right arm raised above the level of the shotgun barrel, or at least out of line of it. Whether this was due to the natural arm motion of a man running, the involuntary act of warding off a blow, covering his face in anticipation of the shotgun blast (which is also a natural reaction), or even raising a pistol to fire, is at this point purely a matter of conjecture.

Thank you, C. C. Cook

In Butch Badon's E-Mail of 2/27/28 - his second point. He said that Tom McLaury had buckshot wounds in his forearms. In the coroner's report as given in the Tombstone Nugget, which gives more detail than the reports as given in Al Turner's book, it was stated that the back of Tom's right arm was hit by buckshot - it says nothing about his forearms. All this proves is that his right arm was forward of his right side when the double load of buckshot caught him under the right armpit. If you experiment, you will see that there are many things Tom could have been doing with his right arm to get it in that that position. One thing I have not been able to do is get my arm in that position by holding my vest or jacket open. Maybe my vest is too tight, but I cannot hold it open, and then move my arm forward to uncover my right side unless I hold the left vest side open with my right hand.


Howdy Ike,

Hey, great discussion going on here about Earps and Clantons. Both sides are scoring good points.

Let me address a couple of the latest. My recollection of Coroner Matthews report was that Tom did have shotgun wounds to the forearm (front portion) which would indicate arms raised. There's is no doubt that whether he was armed or not still is debatable. I just said the wounds were consistent with those folks who testified at the Spicer hearing that Tom had his hands on his coat lapels, throwing open the coat to show he was unarmed. Yes, there were guns in scabbards on the horses. They were still there when the horses were found later, in the scabbards. Some old timers have said, among other things, "if the Clantons and McLaurys were the desparate killers they were painted to be, why didn't they pull those rifles out of the scabbards when they saw the Earps coming down the street and pick them off before they got to the corral." That's more a paraphrase than a quote, but it's real close. Mr. Cook said he cannot recall reading of pellet wounds in Toms forearms in the coroner's report. I can. Since I don't have a copy of the inquest and it has been a good many years since I read it, I would say one of us is wrong. I could be, but I would contend the best evidence is the coroner's report. Does someone have a copy?

As to the question of Littleton Price giving it his best shot, again I say I could be wrong and the man may have been totally incompetent. However, it seems to me, I don't pretend to be a law expert, but a competent prosecutor does not need a JUSTICE OF THE PEACE (and that's what Spicer was) to tell him whether he can take a case to a grand jury. Such matters are routinely taken to grand juries all the time. It is the grand jury's job to say whether someone should be bound over for trial, not a justice of the peace. It just seems to me that Dodge may have been right about Price's intestinal fortitude. If he was the right man for the job, why didn't he just present the case to the grand jury?

Mr. Mulkins is correct, we cannot, more than 100 years later, know what really happened at Third and Fremont streets on Oct. 26, 1881. All we can rely on is what we have read. Based on what I have read, my opinion remains the same, manslaughter. If anyone can come up with something more concrete to indicate something other than manslaughter, I will change my opinion. Now I am off to the Courthouse Cafe (real place) and see if my opinion will get me that proverbial cup of coffee.

Butch Badon


Re the discussion on Tom McLaury's wounds received at the OK Corral shootout, the November 1965 issue of "Frontier Times" reprinted an article from the "Tombstone Nugget", reporting on Dr. H. M. Matthews' 30 October 1881 testimony before Justice of the Peace Wells Spicer. The "Tombstone Nugget" article was issued on either 31 October or 1 November 1881. The press was not supposed to report on the proceedings - the "Epitaph" obeyed the court's wishes but the "Nugget" did not.

Dr. H. M. Matthews’ testimony, as regards Tom McLaury:

[I examined the body of Tom McLowry at the same time and place; found on his body twelve buckshot wounds - on the right side of the body, near together, under the arms, between the third and fifth ribs; my opinion was that they were buckshot wounds; laid the palm of my hand on them; it would cover the whole of them, about four inches in space. . . .]

Cross Examination:

[The wounds of Tom McLowry were made four to six inches below the armpit; the wounds were right below; the wounds in the arms were in the rear portion of the arm.]

I think the testimony as reported in the "Tombstone Nugget" may have some details that are missing from the transcripts Al Turner printed in his book on the OK Corral Inquest. I don't have a copy of Al's book to compare it against though - I read the transcripts from a copy of the book in our local library.

Bob Durham

Howdy Ike,

It is apparent we won't solve this question about Tom's wounds to everyone's satisfaction any time soon. Let me say just a couple of more things. I will concede for the time being the wounds were ALL below the right arm and near the arm pit. That does prove one thing, his arms are upraised. Now whether he had them up in surrender or holding a weapon is anyone's guess. For me, I believe he had them up in surrender.

Couple of reasons for that as outlined in previous messages. But also consider this. Most experts on gunfight believe either Wyatt and Doc fired first or Doc and Morgan fired first. Most experts, including Earp supporters, say first shots delivered at Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury. Why those two? My contention is one, Frank McLaury was considered most accurate shootist among participants on Clanton side. Second, Frank and Billy only ones armed, makes sense, pick off most dangerous first and get others last. Reason for Ike's escape: everybody knew he was unarmed and not considered a threat. Tom M. hung around, but did not have a weapon, and so after brother and billy were disposed of, he was shot by Earp side. Those are my thoughts now. Am willing to change my mind, but not just because someone wants me to believe myth that Earps were acting in name of law and order. That's a specious argument. However, will be willing to change my mind is someone wants to present facts that back up conclusively that Tom was armed. So far, no one has done that.

As to whether someone took a gun that belonged to Tom after the fight was over, I think that rather thin as well. Why? Behan seen by most witnesses sitting on stoop in front of Fly's talking to one of the Fly's, most likely Molly since he asked her to keep Billy C. in her house so that he wouldn't be killed (from Spicer inquest). Since Behan was on stoop and Billy C. was inside, who was left to take Tom's (ficticious gun), certainly not Wes Fuller, who was afraid of own shadow. Naw, Tom was unarmed unless someone has better contention supported by logic and facts.

So far, still believe manslaughter and Price didn't have the guts to pursue it.

Butch Badon

A good question, about whether the Earps and Holliday should have been held responsible for murder.

On one hand, as Billy Breakenridge pointed out, and someone commented on here a few days ago, the cowboys had rifles with them, in saddle scabbards. They could have seen the Earps coming as soon as they turned onto Fremont Street, and had plenty of time to get the rifles down and use them. Doc's shotgun would have been useless at that range, and even a cool and experienced gunman like Wyatt would have been hard put to do much with a revolver. Therefore, the cowboys plainly didn't intend to kill the Earps.

But we also have to rule out Ike's idea that the Earps staged the whole affair to kill him to keep him from betraying criminal activity on their part, most simply because at OK Corral Wyatt had an opportunity to kill Ike on the spot--and probably without facing any punishment. And he didn't kill Ike. He simply pushed him aside. Therefore, since the Earps' intent wasn't to kill Ike, and there would be no reason for them to kill the others and leave Ike alive, they didn't intend to kill the cowboys either. And intent is essential to prove murder.

I've never been able to test my own theory, as I've never been in Tombstone on the anniversary of the gunfight in October, but the way it looks to me...

At the time of the gunfight, the cowboys would, I think, have been in shadow. The Earps would have had the sun in their eyes, albeit at an angle. I can easily imagine the Earps seeing some movement--possibly an attempt at surrender--and thinking they were in danger, given their own near-paranoia and Ike's threats against them. The eyewitnesses in Fremont Street would have had the sun directly in their eyes, which probably contributed to their confusion over what was going on right in front of them. My own take is that the whole gunfight was accidental, the result of antagonisms and misunderstandings that got out of hand.

--Dale Neiburg

One of the oldest and most historic churches in Arizona (built in Tombstone in 1881) is planned to be torn down!

Please read the article below... then e-mail your comments, so we can post them for others to read.


By Pat Kelly

(Reprinted with permission from Tombstone Tumbleweed February 5, 1998)

Parishioners of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tombstone have voted to demolish the parish's aging century-old church (now the parish hall) and rectory in order to build a new parish hall. Sacred Heart Church Pastor Father Bill Parenteau told parishioners at church last weekend that the majority of those who voted were in favor of building a new parish hall rather than restoring the old buildings. The orginal church was built in 1881, largely through the efforts of Tombstone pioneer Nellie Cashman. The second buuilding was built in 1882. In September, 1997, Father Parenteau mailed a list of six options to each of the more than 100 families registered in the parish after presenting the ideas to the Sacred Heart Parish Council. The families were to choose one of the six options and return their choices to the church. The options were then narrowed to two, one for saving both buildings, and the other for razing them for a new parish hall. Both of these options were then mailed to the families. Father Parenteau did not give specific numbers regarding the vote, but he said it was a "wide margin" for construction of a new building. Father Parenteau said a pot luck dinner for all parishioners is planned for Wednesday, February 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall to discuss what kind of building parishioners want, and funding sources for the new building. He said the old church will be used for church functions as long as possible. "We will use the old church until it is no longer usable. The old rectory is not being used," Father Parenteau said. "We simply don't have the money to repair them." Father Parenteau said the classroom building, located behind the century-old church, is being used and is in good condition.

e-mail your comments here.

Attention: Please sign your REAL name and state to your comments of they won't be posted.
your comments will be posted below...

Church comments:

Howdy Ike,

Say it aint so Ike!! Surely there is Federal or State agencys who can assist the good Father and his parish in securing funds to repair and maintain such a historic building. In fact the Arizona Historical Society may be able to help them tremendously, it would be worth a phone call to them. To many original buildings in Tombstone are gone, it would be a shame if this church becomes one of them. I can't believe the town of Tombstone will let this happen, but stranger things have happened. See you down the trail, Ike.

Kevin Mulkins

Howdy Ike;

I don't think thany ANY building that is in the historic district or involved with the history of the community should EVER be torn down!! If they want to tear it down and re-build, then go out in the non-historic area and build a new church. But leave the original buildings alone. They are scarce enough now. I am sure that they could build new for a lot less than tearing down, clean-up etc., costs. I thought that the city was on the national historic landmark register, and that special permission had to be granted even for renovation. If not, it should be! Billy "Clanton" Naylor

A terrible loss of history will occur if this plan is carried out!! It is extremely short-sighted of the city, community, etc. to let this happen. Can the City Council intercede, provide funds to repair the buildings or move them to another lot? Has anyone looked into getting a grant to restore the building based on its historical landmark significance? Is the church a registered historical landmark? If so, there may be laws prohibiting the destruction/demolition of it. Hasn't the city of Tombstone been declared a historical landmark and as such aren't there any laws that can be invoked to prevent this travesty? Does the City Council or mayor know about these plans? Couldn't someone purchase this property and turn it into a museum on Nellie Cashmen or early Tombstone? Something must be done to prevent such an awful waste of history.

K & C Sitts

Howdy Ike,

Talked to my very good friend Jay Van Orden from the Arizona Historical Society regarding the good Father and his parish contemplating the destruction of the historic Catholic Church in Tombstone. If no Federal or State funds are involved, yes the building can be torn down, even if it is in a historic district. Jay told me, basically its just taken off the historic register as far as the Arizona Historical Society is concerned. Lets hope the Town of Tombstone steps in, its a little disconcerting to know it can happen that easily when its a privately owned entity. May the road rise to you.

Kevin Mulkins

Comments from a question about who killed Old Man Clanton.

How yall doing,Ike?

I really believe that Mexicans were responsible for rhe attack.all along the Mexican border,both anglo and Mexicans raided and plundered for fun and what ever they could take,just as the Native Americans had for years.This was a common thing until well into this century.Even the Texas Rangers went across the border when necessary.In those days there was a lot of annimosity on both sides of the border,as well as a lot of corruptness on both sides.this is a good question.

James Wright

Comments from a question about the death of John Ringo will be posted here, as we receive them:

Do you think John Ringo took his own life? or was he murdered?

If so, by who? and why?


Howdy Ike,

Interesting that you asked about Who Killed John Ringo, since that is th e title of a booklet edited by The Icon. I just finished reading it not too long ago and Glenn makes a helluva case for Wyatt Earp.

I am not familiar with Wyatt's movements during taht time, but many western history buffs say it was impossible for Wyatt to get from Colorado and kill John Ringo at that time.

As we all know, a coroner's inquest ruled that Ringo committed suicide. I read the transcript of that inquest many years ago, so I cannot remember a lot of detail or if the coroner's jury mentioned anything about the absence of powder burns, but it seems to me there was something about a piece of cloth stuck in the wound. Maybe I am confusing that with another case, it has been so long since I read that material, I could be wrong.

Anyway, I know Glenn bases his work on material written by Josephine Marcus Earp, and I am inclined - and Glenn admits this point to some degree - to take much that she says with a jaundiced eye. However, the booklet is an interesting read.

As I have said before, the Earps were tough guys and there was motive, even if it should turn out Wyatt had nothing to do with the murder. Glenn's theory is as good as anyone's

How about John O'Rourke? Some say he did it. What do you think? What does anyone else think?

Personally, unless some stronger evidence comes in, I am inclined to believe the suicide verdict.

Butch Badon

In my opinion John Ringo took his own life. Having Doc Holliday kill him in the movie Tombstone, made for a better movie, but it just didn't happen . Also the only time that Ringo killed anybody, was a bar fight in Cliffton. Ringo was a troubled person , drinking problems, his father blowing his face off with a shotgun when he was about 12, having his friends killed at the O.K. and the feeling pretty much all alone. I have heard that he went on a 2 day drunk right before he was found dead. It's possible that somebody followed him in his drunken state and killed him, but , who and why, I guess we will never know . NYTEAL

P.S. names that come up , Johnny behind the duce, Buckskin Frank Leslie , all could have, all may have had reason, all could have wanted to, but who or did , we will never know. John Ringo was found dead under a tree and it is said that he killed himself. NYTEAL

This is a mystery which will probably never be solved. We have read many books on John Ringo, the Earps etc...

Fred Dodge (a Wells Fargo undercover agent) claimed that Johnny Behind the Deuce O'rourke who was an informer for WF killed John. I believe he filed a report to that effect with WF. However , he was a friend of the Earps and WF may have had a secret bounty on Ringo so this might be a smoke screen to protect WF. O'rourke hated Ringo because he headed the lynch mob out of Charleston that wanted to hang him (O'rourke) after he killed a mine engineer there. We doubt that O'rourke would have had the moxy to do this unless Ringo was already passed out drunk.

Buckskin Frank Leslie and Billy the Kid Claibourne were seen in the area by Deputy Sheriff Billy Breakenridge. Leslie and Ringo had had a falling out about Ringo's stepping in when Frank was abusing his wife but supposedly they had patched things up. Billy Claibourne believed Frank killed Ringo - Which resulted in his death by Frank when he accused him of the deed. However we don't believe Frank would be shy about owning up to it in later years and he always denied it.

Henry Hooker's daughter believed that her father had a man named Cooley who he kept around for onerous jobs finish Ringo off. Hooker hated the rustlers and had supposedly offered a bounty for Curly Bill Brocius and Ringo.

Doc Holliday was in court on the day of the killing and Wyatt Earp always denied killing Ringo. He admitted to killing the Curly Bill, Frank Stillwell, Florentino Cruz so why wouldn't he admit this one?

We have read the inquest reports. There was no cloth carried into his wound (that was Charlie Storms who was shot in the heart by Luke Short ). There were no powder burns mentioned; however one of the members of the inquest panel later said there were burns, a bullet was lodged in the tree, brains were on the tree and a empty shell was in the chamber (none of which was mentioned in the coroners report). This man also claimed years later to have found the body but John Yoast found Ringo. The people on the inquest panel were at the scene and because of the badly decaying blackened nature of the body buried him on the spot. This would explain why no powder burns, if present, were noticed. Glenn Boyer has said in his books that the Sanders or their decendants who owned the ranch on which the body was found claimed there were no powder burns.

Ringo was found with a gun in his hand and the path of the bullet entering his right temple and exiting out the top of his head would indicate suicide. Boyer said that Josie Earp claimed it was a lucky rifle shot by Wyatt that brought Ringo down as he was running uphill to get away from his pursuers and then his body was moved to the location where it was found.

Ringo had been on a prolonged drinking binge and had threatened suicide before and had fits of depression. He became very violent and moody when drinking. He had also stated about three days earlier to a reporter that he felt certain he would die soon-either be killed or take his own life.

Some oddities about the body were that his rifle cartridge belt was on upside down and his feet were wrapped with his torn undershirt. He had not traveled far in these wrappings. Ringo's horse with his boots tied onto it was later found by the Chiracuhaua Cattle Company some miles away. Was he startled while preparing camp while being pursued as Josie claimed or did his horse bolt for some other reason? But it bolted while he was alive because he tried to protect his feet once it had left. The belt upside down could be due to his drunken stupor or Josie claimed it was Doc Holliday's joke on him. We have also read that someone claimed that the hammer of the gun was caught in his watch chain. But the coroner's report doesn't mention this either. There was a piece of scalp and hair removed from the body - either as a souvenier or from a scavenger - another mystery.

All in all, we are more swayed towards the suicide theory. But only Ringo (or the killer if there was one) knows and time has silenced all.

Great topic, Ike!!

K & C Sitts

What is your opinion of the Clanton family of old Tombstone?

Do you think the Clantons' were notorious outlaws or simply cattle ranchers who (over the years) have become Wyatt Earps fall guys in books and movies?


Howdy Ike,

By now you must know what I think of the Clantons, but allow me to elaborate a bit.

There's no question in my mind they were rustlin' cattle and any number of other dalliances with the law. However, they were not unlike many other Cow boys in the area. Does that make them bad guys? Don't know really. They must have been fiddlin' with cows south of the border or there are a few ranchers of that era, Hooker and Slaughter for instance, who would have hanged them with the long rope they were draggin'. Slaughter, it has been said, was foolin' around with Mexican cattle as well, so I don't believe he would have considered the Clantons bad guys.

Hooker may be another story, but as long as they weren't rustlin' his cows, Hooker didn't do much to stop them. Also, butchers in the area needed the meat provided by them and probably were friendly toward the Clantons, McLaurys.

Can't say that I can condemn them for all that. Probably just boys being boys in that day and age.

As I have said before, their biggest sin was gettin' in a feud with the Earps. Without that, those boys most likely would have lived longer lives. I really believe the two split over perceived treachery by Doc Holliday. I'm not the only one who believes Holliday was a big factor in the street fight on Fremont and Third strees that day. John Clum believed it as well. Here is another excerpt from his letter to George Kelly on Aug. 30, 1929. "I have always felt that if he(Holliday) had not been in that street battle on Dec. (Clum's error) 26, 1881, the affair would have bee nreleived of much of its bitterness."

Note also that Clum referred to the fight as a "street battle." Well anyway, the Earps were not heroes nor were they the bad guys everyone wants to paint them as. They were tough, streetwise men who were traveling on the same side of the tracks as the Clantons. It was either them or the Earps. As it turned out, the Earps won a bit and lost a bit (Morgan dead and Virgil maimed for life). Take care Ike and I hope everyone can agree to disagree.

Butch Badon


I just visted Tombstone last month, Jan 98, and saw several things I didn't see since the last time I was there in Jan 96. About your cousins: I suppose they were no worse than the Earps. However, they seemed to be cattle rustlers in AZ and Mexico as what I read. I really don't think this was uncommon in those days as each needed to earn a liveing some how, be it right or wrong. Those days are long gone and so are the people who lived them. We can only judge by books written about that era and of the accounts of them days. Society and values has changed so much since that era, only one can speculate. Ike's, father, "Old Man Clanton", Newman Haynes Clanton, was a rustler himself and unforunately taught is sons that way of life. Old Man Clanton was killed in 1881 and buried in Boot Hill Cemtery next to the McLaury's and Billy Clanton... The Earps were a very strong family, not saying that the Clanton's weren't, but history favors the Earps. I am sure it is because of the shoot out at the O.K. Corral which in reality didn't take place inside the corral and I am sure your aware of this, that both the Clantons and Earps became famous/infamous... I really don't know about the Clanton side of the story but I am happy you have this web site to enlighen me about it as I am very interested in that area of life. Thanx Steve Typos/Spellos King

"Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away" (General Douglas MacArthur)

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