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.
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.