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Wyatt Earp was a frontiersman, marshal and gambler. After moving to Tombstone, Arizona, he got into a feud, which ended in a gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Wyatt Earp - The OK Corral (4:17)
Wyatt Earp - The Earp Family (3:06)
Wyatt Earp - Dodge City (3:23)
An inside look at the historic shootout that took place at the OK Corral.
An inside look at the five brothers of the Earp family.
After numerous attempts on the lives of his family members, Wyatt Earp turned from lawman to murderer to seek justice.
It was while on the Dodge City, Kansas police force that the Earp brothers first made a name for themselves.
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Wyatt Earp was born March 19, 1848. One of the icons of the American West, he worked for the law and helped tame the wild cowboy culture that pervaded the frontier. In Tombstone, Arizona, Wyatt got into a feud with a local rancher that resulted in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, perhaps the most famous gunfight in American history. Earp died in Los Angeles on January 13, 1929.
One of the most celebrated legends of the American West, Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born on March 19, 1848, in Monmouth, Illinois, the third of Nicholas and Virginia Ann Earp's five sons.
A restless nature shaped Nicholas Earp, a hard-edged father and a drinker, who moved his family frequently in the unsettled American West in hopes of striking it rich.
The Civil War broke out when Earp was 13. Desperate to leave the family farm in Illinois and find adventure, he tried several times to join his two older brothers, Virgil and James, in the Union army. But each time, the runaway Earp was caught before he ever reached the battlefield and was returned home.
At the age of 17 Earp finally left his family, now living in California, for a new life along the frontier. He worked hauling freight, and then later was hired to grade track for the Union Pacific Railroad. In his downtime he learned to box and became an adept gambler.
In 1869, Earp returned to the fold of his family, who had made a home in Lamar, Missouri. A new, more settled life seemed to await Earp. After his father resigned as constable of the township, Earp replaced him.
By 1870 he'd married Urilla Sutherland, the daughter of the local hotel owner, built a house in town and was an expecting father. But then, everything changed. Within a year of their marriage Urilla contracted typhus and died, along with her unborn child.
Broken and devastated by his wife's death, Earp left Lamar and set off on a new life devoid of any kind of grounding. In Arkansas, he was arrested for stealing horses, but managed to avoid punishment by escaping from his jail cell. For the next several years, Earp roamed the frontier, making his home in saloons and brothels, working as a strongman and befriending several different prostitutes.
In 1876 he moved to Wichita, Kansas, where his brother Virgil had opened a new brothel that catered to the cowboys coming off their long cattle drives. There, he also began working with a part-time police officer on rounding up criminals.
The adventure and the little bit of press Earp received from the job appealed to him, and eventually he was made city marshal in Dodge City, Kansas.
But while he'd reinvented himself as a lawman, the speculative spirit that had driven his father ran in Earp as well. In December 1879, Earp joined his brothers Virgil and Morgan in Tombstone, Arizona, a booming frontier town that had only recently been erected when a speculator discovered the land there contained vast amounts of silver. His good friend Doc Holliday, whom he'd met in Kansas, joined him.
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