|Wyatt with his mother|
John Moses Browning became famous as an engineer of innovative firearms and a master gunsmith of the late 19th century on into the 20th century making firearms that characters of the Old West used for defense and hunting for food and criminals used in their chosen careers,but men and a few women became famous using those firearms on both sides of the law.
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19th, 1848-January 13th, 1929) is probably the best-known figure of the Old West of the United States as a famous lawman, who has been probably the most misrepresented – outlaws and lawmen alike.
|Wyatt's Schofield revolver|
The film Tombstone (1993) was probably the best representation of the real Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) as far as Hollywood western film history. Val Kilmer who portrayed the infamous Doc Holliday, was as colorful as the character he acted as. The most fictional part of the film was the scene of the death of Johnny Ringo, who was found in an orchard dead apparently by suicide. While there were several theories about Ringo's death, evidence points to the fact he committed suicide under a tree, depressed over family rejecting him in California and losing so many of the Cowboys he rode with. His grave site is near the tree where he shot himself in the head.
He was in interesting character of the Old West, literally a Jack-of-all-trades person as a city policeman, country sheriff, a teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon-keeper, gambler, brothel owner, miner and a boxing referee. He was definitely an entrepreneur, but known more as a US Marshal who ended up butting heads with the notorious criminal association of outlaw cowboys who called themselves The Cowboys.
In Earp's early life he moved about constantly because his father was always escaping debtors, in Iowa here he married Urilla Sutherland who died from typhoid while pregnant after being married only one year. It affected him emotionally and in the next two years he was arrested, sued twice, escaped from jail, and arrested three more times for keeping and being found in a house of ill-fame. He literally turned into a “bad boy” persona.
He then moved to Wichita, Kansas, a cattle boom town where he decided to work on the side of the law instead of against it as a deputy marshal for one year.
In 1876 he went to Dodge City. Kansas with his brother, James Earp, where he became an assistant city marshal. In the winter of 1878, he went to Texas to gamble and met John Henry “Doc” Holliday whom Earp had said that Doc saved his life.
Wyatt left Dodge City in 1879 with his brothers James and Virgil to Tombstone, Arizona where a silver boom was occurring. The brothers bought an interest in the Vizina mine that included some water rights. It was during this time that the Earps ran afoul of the outlaw federation known as The Cowboys.
Within five months, Virgil was ambushed and wounded and Morgan was assassinated. Wyatt went on a mission of vendetta against The Cowboys whose membership had reached 200 to 300 strong; along with his brother Warren, Doc Holliday, and other associates forming a posse who killed three of the Cowboys thought to be responsible for the attack and eventually the outlaw gang-federation broke up. While Virgil and James had been wounded in shootouts, Wyatt was never wounded, which added to the legend that developed, especially just before and after his death, depicted in Dime Novels and early Hollywood western films.
When Wyatt left Tombstone with his third wife, Josephine, they moved from town to town; beginning in Eagle City, Idaho, then San Diego, California; Nome, Alaska; Tonopah, Nevada; and finally Vidal, California.
Wyatt Earp had lived during the Civil War, westward expansion, gold and silver bonanzas and the growing pains of the Old West on into the beginning of the 20th century and the Industrial Age when remarkable inventions occurred; Prohibition era and the Roaring Twenties. He spent a year as a buffalo hunter whose profession almost made the great beasts of the western plains extinct, causing a serious depression upon the cultural and survival of the Plains Native Americans. Bat Masterson – legends of the Old West.
The characters that surrounded the life story of Wyatt Earp are as interesting as the famous lawman. People like Luke Short, Josephine Sarah Marcus, who later became Wyatt's wife and lifetime companion; Ike Clanton, Johnny Ringo who had been a contemporary of Jesse and Frank James, a cousin of the Younger brothers who rode with the James brothers. The personal war between the Cowboys and the Earps began at the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Most famous of The Cowboys were Phin Clanton, Billy Clanton, Ike Clanton, William “Curly Bill” Brocius, Buckskin Frank Leslie, Johnny Ringo, and Pony Diehl.