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Wyatt Earp


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Table of Contents

Cowtown Justice. A New Town, A New Badge. Murder and Madness. A March to Destiny. "I Think We Can Hang Them." Tombstone in Terror. Vendetta. Law versus Order. A Fight for Honor. The Last Frontiers. Long May His Story Be Told. Notes and Sources. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

CASEY TEFERTILLER is a former writer for the San Francisco Examiner with a keen interest in the American West.


As Terfertiller's biography establishes, Earp's legend endures vividly in books and films, especially in John Ford's classic My Darling Clementine (1946), which is not burdened by the facts. Earp spent many more years as gambler and saloonman than as frontier marshal. The saga of the Earp brothers in Dodge City and Tombstone in the 1880s is a sleazy one, Terfertiller shows, as they operated on both sides of the law, enforcing order as maverick marshals. If there were profits to be made, principle became insignificant. One vendetta, the notorious O.K. Corral shootup, takes up much of the story. Yet there were few pistol duels, none of them cinematically romantic, and Earp, with his Sadie, would drift in search of income as far north as Nome, Alaska. Down on his luck, he lived into his 80s, dying in 1929 after decades of handouts from his wife's family. Although he had already become a legend in print, his gunslinger period was unrewarding, and his years after Tombstone proved to be even more so. Terfertiller, a former journalist for the San Francisco Examiner, is meticulous in his research, with the net effect of diminishing the Earp image. Photos. (Oct.)

"Forget what you saw at the movies-this biography of the legend of the Old West shows that the facts are more interesting than the legend."--The New York Times Book Review "The most thoughtful, well-researched, and comprehensive account that has been written about the development and career of an Old-West lawman."--The Tombstone Tumbleweed "The book to end all Earp books--the most complete, and most meticulously researched."--Jack Burrows, author of John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was "Quite impressive. I doubt if there has been or will be a more deeply researched and convincing account."--Evan Connell, author of The Sun of the Morning Star

Basing his account on primary resources, Tefertiller, a former writer for the San Francisco Examiner, has tried to write an unbiased report of the storied life of lawman Wyatt Earp‘a villain and a hero in Tombstone, Arizona, both before and after his death in 1929. Portrayed by novelists, historians, and filmmakers, the Earp brothers‘especially Wyatt‘became the stuff of legends. Attempting to uncover what really happened in Tombstone, Tefertiller draws on newspaper articles and personal accounts by Earp's friends, enemies, and acquaintances. The result is a fresh look at legendary events, showing how the image of Earp was formed. This well-researched historical work is a pleasure to read. Recommended for collections on the American West and wherever Earp is popular.‘Terri P. Summey, Emporia State Univ. Lib., Kan.

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