Heavy Gun Battle At The OK Corral - 10/26/1881

US History |


On this present day in 1881, the Earp siblings go head to head against the Clanton-McLaury group in an incredible gun battle at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. 

In 1817, after the discovery of silver nearby, Tombstone rapidly developed into one of the wealthiest mining cities in the Southwest. Wyatt Earp, a previous Kansas cop who now work in a bank as a security guard, and his siblings, Morgan and Virgil, the town sheriff, who symbolize law and order in Tombstone, however they likewise had notorieties as being power-driven and merciless. On the other hand, the Clantons and McLaurys were ranchers who lived on a farm outside of town; they were tagged robbers, cheats and killers. In October 1881, the battle between these two gangs for control of Tombstone and Cochise County finished in a burst of gunfire at the OK Corral that claimed the lives of three people and others injured.

In the early hours of October 25, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury came into Tombstone for provisions. However, throughout the following 24 hours, the two men had numerous vicious arguments with the Earp alongside their companion Doc Holliday. In the afternoon of the following day October 26, Ike's sibling Billy arrived town to go along with them, together with Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne. Stopping for a drink at the local bar, they met Doc Holliday, who was pleased to inform them that their siblings had both been gun whipped by the Earp. Angrily, Frank and Billy quickly left the bar, and promised to revenge.

Late in the afternoon, the Earp and Holliday saw the five members from the Clanton-McLaury group in an empty lot behind the OK Corral, towards the end of Fremont Street. There, the gunfight battle that kept going for 30 seconds, with approximately 30 shots discharged. The first person to fire the first shot remains unclear, however, most reports claimed that the shootout started when Virgil Earp hauled out his gun and shot Billy Clanton right in the chest, while Doc Holliday discharged a shotgun at Tom McLaury's chest as well. Although Wyatt Earp injured Frank McLaury with a shot in the stomach, Frank managed to escape a couple of shots before he fell, likewise Billy Clanton. When the gun battle subsided, Billy Clanton and the McLaury siblings (Tom and Frank) were already dead, while Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were injured. Ike Clanton and Claiborne had ran for their lives and hid in the woods. 

Cochise County Sheriff John Behan, who saw the shootout, charged the Earps and Doc Holliday with homicide. After a month, a Tombstone judge found the men not guilty of the charge, by ruling in their favor that they were just been defensive. The acclaimed shootout has been turned into several motion pictures, including Frontier Marshal (1939), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), Tombstone (1993) and Wyatt Earp (1994).

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