What Really Happened During The Shootout At The O.K. Corral?

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons, JoBlo Movie Clips / YouTube

We’ve all heard of the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, but few people know the true story of what happened on October 26, 1881.

Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp were known for running the town of Tombstone. While they represented the law in the town, they were also known to be willing to do anything to get what they wanted. The Earps were constantly at odds with the McLaurys and the Clantons, two ranching families that lived outside of Tombstone–and were also known for doing whatever it took to get their way.

The day before the shootout, Tom McLaury and Ike Clanton arrived in town to pick up supplies, and repeatedly had violent arguments with the Earps. The next day, other members of the rancher clan came into town, where a friend of the Earps told them that their family members had been pistol whipped–and that the Earps were the ones holding the pistols.

A surprising fact most don’t know is that the shootout didn’t actually happen at the O.K. Corral but in a vacant lot behind it. The two groups fired at each other for about 30 seconds that afternoon, resulting in three deaths (Billy Clanton, and Frank and Tom McLaury), and several injuries. The Earps and their friend Doc Holliday were charged for murder, but were let go under the ruling that their actions were justified.

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