Visiting The Real Tombstone! The Truth Behind The Gunfight At The OK Corral! My Trip Across America Visits The Wild Wild West!

Ready For A Gunfight? Meet Me At The OK Corral!

That’s right, there really is a Tombstone, and there really is an OK Corral – but what really happened there? Time for my son Jeff and I to find out!

This was my first time driving across the US – or at least 2,200 miles of it – this “trip across America” took 5 days, covered 8 states, and allowed us to stop at a few cool places, like the real town of Tombstone, Arizona!

Welcome To Tombstone!

As you can see, Tombstone has been kept as it has been for the past 135+ years – something you see as you enter the town…this is the last time you will see cars on the road before the main street takes you back in time…

Yes, you will see dozens of people dressed in classic “wild west” fashion…

As wikipedia explains:

“Tombstone is a town in southeastern Arizona, known for its Wild West history. Exhibits at the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park include a replica gallows. On historic Allen Street, the O.K. Corral outdoor theater re-enacts an 1881 cowboy gunfight. Resident ghosts are said to haunt the bullet-riddled Bird Cage Theatre. Outlaws are among the local townsfolk buried at the 1878 Boothill Cemetery.”

Oh, and speaking of those “replica gallows” – you can still take part if you like!

Um, no thanks – but you can do much more, like ride a covered wagon through town and over to the cemetery:

You can also head into the town’s legendary saloon, where you can get a drink, some food, or who knows what:

If things get out of hand, you can always “settle your scores” just like in the old days, by heading over to the OK Corral, the site of one of the wild west’s most notorious gun battles!

Time For A Gunfight!

There I am, in the stands overlooking the real OK Corral, as the show is about to begin. First, the facts from wikipedia:

“The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a 30-second shootout between lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws called the Cowboys that took place at about 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.”

So the show was underway – considering that the entire shootout took only thirty seconds, the show lasts a half hour, as they give you all of the setup on the feud that led to the shootout…as wikipedia explains:

“It is generally regarded as the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West. The gunfight was the result of a long-simmering feud, with Cowboys Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, and Tom and Frank McLaury on one side and town Marshal Virgil Earp, Special Policeman Morgan Earp, Special Policeman Wyatt Earp, and temporary policeman Doc Holliday on the other side. All three Earp brothers had been the target of repeated death threats made by the Cowboys, who objected to the Earps’ interference in their illegal activities. The four law men faced six Cowboys. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed.”

Now – The Truth About The Gunfight At The OK Corral!

Yes, there is the myth, and there is the truth – and guess what? The actual gunfight did NOT take place at the O.K. Corral!

The shootout actually took place in a narrow lot on the side of C. S. Fly’s Photographic Studio on Fremont Street, six doors west of the O.K. Corral’s rear entrance. Some members of the two opposing parties were initially only about 6 feet (1.8 m) apart. About 30 shots were fired in 30 seconds – here it is as it actually happened:

OK, so my videography left much to be desired, but it happened very quickly, and the gunmen were spread out all over the Corral – which of course is NOT where it happened!

The show was a lot of fun, the Actors did a great job, and Tombstone was definitely worth visiting – you can arrive early for breakfast like we did, and stay late enough for a nice drink in the saloon….for us, after the show it was time to say goodbye to the wild, wild west…

As you know, this was just the beginning of out 2,200 mile cross-country trip that has already been full of great adventures, like our encounter with the “Arizona Dust Devils”:

They were everywhere, and I was lucky enough to capture one on video as it raced to the highway – you can see that video here:

And of course, I shared the mystery of “The Thing”!

You can see what we discovered at this roadside attraction by clicking here:

And we stopped in Tucson to eat at the oldest family-run Mexican restaurant in the US, where I ate a chimichanga the size of my head:

See the 95 year old taco recipe here:

Let me know if you’ve ever been to Tombstone!

Categories: Action Films, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exotic Travel, Great Films, Memoirs, Movies, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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18 replies

  1. Hi John, I don’t think we’ve met and this may be the first time we both showed up and the same coffee share. I enjoyed post – cool stuff with much I did not know. On the other hand, I would not willingly put myself in almost any where in AZ this time of year. My daughter recently graduated from UA (Tucson) and we are so glad to have visits to Tucson ow safely in the past – just because of the heat. But you are correct – AZ has some great history to experience. Thanks for sharing. I hope you come back with more gems.

    Please feel free to stop by for some fun short reads at my story collection. Regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun! I love exploring new places. When my daughter was an infant we went on a cross country trip, with our RV. Memories for a lifetime. Looking forward to read more posts from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks so cool. Something I would take in. Jealous of your road trip!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment – this was the longest drive I’d ever taken: 2,200 miles over 5 days – so we didn’t get to stop at two many places, but I had to go here and see a real wild west town!


  4. What fun John! But the gunfight NOT at the OK corral?? say it ain’t so! we went by there on a drive to Bisbee once, another cool old mining town nearby. I regret not stopping but there was construction in the area at the time. Even old west towns need fixin’ up I reckon! Next time!! 😎


  5. The Kurt Russell/Val Kilmer film of ‘Tombstone is one of my favourite westerns, John. I must have seen it 10 times, and never tire of it. So much better than the Kevin Costner version. I would definitely have been with you in that town, lapping up the atmosphere, ‘fake’ or not. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an incredible experience! I bet it makes a big difference with actors who are engaging and believable. I’d love to stop for a drink at the saloon, just to feel more ‘part of’ the event, that’s so cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a giant fan newly ground out, so. Yeah, I keep ‘er. So, I appreciated the truth you told, (can I save it under first name, last name, dash?) what gave us the (ability) the cut through TODD RUNDGREN too late. So, they were, um, (a legend, Joe Walsh, drinkin’. John Lennon, falling-down drunk. Todd Rundgren, did I say that?) saying (what your beef) would happen if you motion fair, I did not kill Lennon. And, a mob up. Yeah, I mean if let’s say is it getting hotter, every year? A vision. It’s a candle! If you are born, and five, your candle doesn’t fit this, what we’re talkin’. It will be 100 degrees under the Kleig lights, like VAYNTIN. Yeah, so.

    Next to one, my belief is a strong. That schizophrenia, as well as drunkeness, I have Robin Willimas and John Lennon’s head to psyche off.

    Attend this spell; narcotics we’re willing to use nuclear weapons on each other. So, you want to grow up into an adult. Sets use a floating hand mirror, let pi, of a number, of an odor the. A little one, and sub-teen though.

    Another dog — Snoop — busted for. Let’s go (from notes) Weren’t (do somethin’) Omens
    wild, can’t check it.


  8. You are living my movie dream in these posts. I spent my childhood watching these stories. Love this yet again!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. “Flying Fish?” The Mystery Of My Filet-O-Fish Sandwich! My “Trip Across America” Part 5 Hits Beverly Hills – But Not THAT One!! – johnrieber

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