Original inquest transcript of 'Gunfight at the OK Corral' found in Arizona jail storeroom

Posted By: Staff
Subscribe to Oneindia News

London, Apr.23 (ANI): People born and brought up between the 1960s and the end of the 20th century would be aware of the famous 1957 Western "Gunfight at the OK Corral", starring Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Ireland and DeForest Kelley. Now, the real story of that 19th century event has surfaced.

A page of original court transcripts from the 1881 Coroner's Inquest in the Gunfight at the OK Corral has been unearthed in the Arizona State Library.ccording to The Telegraph, two court clerks stumbled upon the original transcript while reorganizing files in a jail storage room in Bisbee, Arizona.

In the words of the people who witnessed it, it vividly describes the fateful day when tensions between Wyatt Earp, the local lawman, and a gang of outlaws ended in bloodshed.

The gun battle in the frontier town of Tombstone left three men dead and ensured Earp's place in Wild West folklore.

The 1957 film, Gunfight at the OK Corral, starring Burt Lancaster as Earp and Kirk Douglas as his sidekick, John 'Doc' Holliday, presented the two men as heroes. To this day, however, debate rages over who drew their guns first.

Born in 1848, Earp worked in several professions - saloon keeper, farmer, boxing referee - and moved around the Old West before settling in the silver-mining town of Tombstone in 1879, where he established himself as a tough-talking lawman.

Holliday was a once-respectable dentist who gave up his profession after being diagnosed with tuberculosis, and who turned to drink and gambling. According to legend, he met Earp in Dodge City and saved him from a gunman. That act cemented a lifelong friendship.

One of the eyewitnesses was Mrs. M J King, a landlady who was on her way to the butcher's when she sensed trouble.

"I saw quite a group of men standing on the sidewalk with two horses, near the market," she told the inquest. I inquired what was the matter, and they said there was going to be a fuss between the Earp boys and cowboys."

The Earp boys were Wyatt and his brothers, Virgil and Morgan, who acted as deputy marshals. The "cowboys" - a name given to suspected cattle rustlers - included brothers Ike and Billy Clanton, and Frank and Tom McLaury.

The shootout was over in barely 30 seconds. Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers lay dead. The inquest took place later that same day, on October 30, 1881. Earp and Holliday were cleared of wrongdoing by a judge but their reputations never recovered.

The transcript, discovered stuffed inside a modern manila envelope marked "keep", has been turned over to state archivists, who have begun the painstaking process of restoring the faded pages, said to be "as brittle as potato crisps".

To GladysAnn Wells, Arizona State Librarian, the pages are a priceless piece of history. (ANI)

Please Wait while comments are loading...