The Real-Life Story Of Doc Holliday – The Gunslinging Wild West Legend

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Image: Donald J. McKenna via True West Magazine

It’s October 26, 1881, and the lawmen of Tombstone, Arizona, are walking into what will go down in history as one of the Wild West’s most notorious shootouts. Indeed, just 30 seconds later, three men will lie dead as the lawmen’s bloody feud with a band of outlaws reaches its dramatic climax. The names of various of the players in that infamous gunfight are remembered to this day. But out of all those who drew their guns at the O.K. Corral, Doc Holliday is among those who has spawned the most legends and myths.

Image: Thomas R Machnitzki

After the American Civil War came to its end in 1865, the government of the United States began to focus on bringing its territories under control. In fact, the authorities in Washington would soon run much of the country. At this time, you see, the region west of the great Mississippi River was still comparatively wild and untamed.

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Image: Library of Congress

So in the territories of Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Dakota, Arizona, Colorado, California and New Mexico, a certain type of lawlessness still reigned. And far from the constraints of Washington, this is where the Wild West emerged. The region was therefore known for its gun battles, outlaw heroes and the general rowdy behavior of its people.

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