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O.K. Corral Gunfight

Contrary to popular public perception, the Earp-Clanton shootout that took place in 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona, did not take place in the O.K. Corral.

The shootout took place between 2:00-3:00 p.m. on October 26, 1881 in a vacant lot (block 17, Lot 2) bordered by Fly's Photography Studio and the residence of W. A. Harwood in Tombstone, Arizona. This vacant lot was on Fremont Street near the intersection of 3rd Street. The shootout was between the Earp brothers (Virgil,
Wyatt and Morgan), along with their friend, Doc Holliday, and those on the opposing side, Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Claibourne. The O.K. Corral was actually located a block away on Allen Street.

Some accounts erroneously place the fight in the alley that ran between Fremont and Allen Streets, and led to the rear of the O.K. Corral. This location is about half a block from the true site of the shootout.

A number of popular movies and TV series also reinforced the erroneous perception that the gun battle took place at the O.K. Corral. Earlier motion pictures and TV shows tended to offer a far more fictionalized version of the fight. Although it is certainly a fine western, the 1957 film,
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp, and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday) offers a wildly fictionalized depiction of the climactic gunfight. The most glaring fictionalization was showing the main gunfight actually taking place at the O.K. Corral. Many recent film efforts are viewed as more accurately depicting the Earp-Clanton showdown. Both 1993's Tombstone, (starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp, and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday) and 1994's Wyatt Earp (starring Kevin Costner as Wyatt Earp, and Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday), provided a far more accurate representation of the gunfight than most earlier film and television accounts had offered.

Unfortunately, the misconception that the gunfight took place at the O.K. Corral, remains firmly entrenched in western mythology.

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