finished listening: The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral--and How It Changed the American West by Jeff Guinn
I highly recommend this book, but I cannot highly recommend the title, or, I should say, the subtitle. Careful readers of this blog will recall that long non-fiction subtitles annoy me. I would be much more impressed by someone's titling skills if they came up with an actual title that conveyed something instead of calling it basically My Book and then adding :And Now I Will Give Some Indication of What It Is About.
I mean, why not just call your book The Last Gunfight if that's what you want to call it? Sheesh! Meanwhile, it's funny that the subtitle is all "I'm the real story" because the shootout at the O.K. corral, as you will learn when you read the book, did not actually happen at the O.K. corral, but our boy Jeff Guinn is obviously going for name recognition here, much as people did with Wyatt Earp's name after his death, finally giving him the fame he had so craved in life.
Anyway, being from Arizona I am of course equal parts proud and dismayed about my state (the usual, you might say) when it comes to Tombstone and the Earps, because the whole thing is so totally famous and exciting, but it's really quite the violent thug debacle that 1. never should have happened and 2. has historically glorified people who ought to be a little demonized instead. (I'm looking at you, Wyatt. And Doc.)
|Our "we're-so-meta" proof that we were there|
|I look Tomb-stoned|
Fun fact: A Tombstone city ordinance actually prohibited carrying guns on the streets of town, but if you were a sheriff or marshal or deputy then you could carry one, so that's part of what caused all these problems. That and the fact that you could reclaim your checked guns on your way out of town, and then take a veeerrrrrrry long way "out of town" and maybe carry a gun around for hours, and people certainly took advantage of that as well.
Here's my astonishing fact, though: I have never actually watched the movie Tombstone. You know, the one from 1993 that everyone, especially everyone I know in Arizona, just loves, and that people argue was Val Kilmer's finest hour, and from which we get this "Huckleberry" business that people are always quoting? Yeah, I've never seen it. I don't know why! It's because I lived in a complete and total movie bubble in 1993! (That bubble is called "Provo, Utah.") And then I just never got around to it, and...yeah. I really need to Netflix it, though, because I loved reading this book and learning all about the (real) history, and now I am going to forever be watching Old West Tombstone things and pointing out their inaccuracies, except when they watch My Darling Clementine in M*A*S*H, because that is a classic moment in itself ("Horses, cowboys, and horses!") so it doesn't matter that the movie changed, like, lots of things about what went down.
I listened to The Last Gunfight audio book on my MP3 player while I was walking or riding the bus to work, or sometimes when I went running, and I happened to be going for a run when I listened to the actual gunfight part, and it was very dramatic and kind of got my adrenaline going! Poor Frank and Tom McLaury.
Ahhh, Tombstone. This blog entry was less about giving you the facts of the book and the last gunfight, and more about my general experience of the town, as I related my story in a kind of self-centered, bemused, and melodramatic way. Wyatt would have appreciated this approach.