Powers Boothe as Curly Bill in Tombstone

Powers Boothe as Curly Bill in Tombstone

Tombstone is one of the most action-packed Western films ever made and Powers Boothe as Cowboy Curly Bill Brocius is a major villain that brought a few memorable rip-roaring scenes that can keep the movie’s audience glued to their seats. William Brocius, aka “Curly Bill” Brocius was a gunslinger, cattle raider, outlaw cowboy, and a senior member of the criminal group called Cowboys. As most fans would agree, no better actor can play the role of Curly Bill Brocius than Powers Boothe whom everyone considered one of Hollywood’s most effective villains.

Powers Boothe as Cowboy Curly Bill Brocius

The opening scene of Tombstone features Curly Bill and his gang as they wreak havoc in a Mexican town to massacre everyone at a local police officer’s wedding. As a ruffian outlaw, Boothe gave a powerfully villainous performance that the audience can’t help but crave for justice and hope that he would meet a bitter end. The scene was a perfect opening for the movie as it features villainy at its finest which sets the tone for the entire film.

Powers Boothe was not only one of the best villains in Hollywood, but he was also a recipient of an Emmy for Best Actor which serves as a testament to his talent. With his raw and hardcore performances, Boothe delivered an exceptional rendering of the ruffian Cowboy Curly Bill Brocius. Curly Bill was known for his mean sense of humor which was also impressively portrayed by the actor. He is a charismatic villain with a charm that can beguile the audience to forget his crimes and it was well-played, to say the least.

Cowboy Curly Bill Brocius’ Most Iconic Scene

Along with his wicked smiles and mean sense of humor, Curly Bill also delivered a few iconic lines and scenes in the movie. The most iconic line that fans will always remember is when Curly Bill uttered to Wyatt Earp, “Well… Bye.” It may only be a short scene, but it is so cringy that it is no doubt one of the most iconic scenes in the movie.

After Morgan Earp’s death, the Earp clan packed all their belongings to leave town with Morgan’s coffin at the back of their carriage. In what looks like a funeral march, Wyatt Earp stopped his carriage in front of Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo to inform them that it’s all over between them. Curly Bill then responded, “Well… Bye,” which was the most insensitive reply considering that he was one of the people who allegedly plotted Morgan’s murder.

Power Boothe’s Career Before and After Tombstone

Before Power Boothe played the charismatic villain Curly Bill, he first played Jim Jones in the television miniseries Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. Boothe delivered an award-winning performance as The Mad Messiah whose idealism led to the mass murder of members of his church in Jonestown, Guyana. The role honored the high-caliber actor with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries.

From 2004 to 2006, Boothe played the role of the brothel-owner Cy Tolliver on HBO’s series Deadwood which is also based on true events. Just like Tombstone, Deadwood also took place in the late 1800’s when both criminals and entrepreneurs flocked to the area. Tombstone fans would be fascinated to watch the series considering that Wyatt Earp once appeared as one of its characters along with other historical figures. Most people regard the show as one of the greatest television shows of all time and for good reasons.

In 2007, Boothe played President Noah Daniels on 24, appearing in 14 episodes in its 6th season. 

From 2012 to 2014, Boothe played Lamar Wyatt in the musical soap opera television series Nashville. The actor appeared in a total of 26 episodes and was nominated for Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2012 for his role in the series.

From 2015 to 2016, Boothe played Gideon Malick in the television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gideon Malick is a prominent character as he is a powerful political figure and businessman. He is also the head of the Hydra which is a villainous organization that’s considered the greatest threat to mankind.

Related Questions

How did William Brocius acquired the nickname, Curly Bill?

William Brocius was a well-built man with a freckled complexion and curly black hair from which he acquired his nickname, Curly Bill. There are several photos of him that were provided by his descendants and one of which is now on display at Tombstone’s Bird Cage Theater Museum.

Did Curly Bill intentionally kill Marshal Fred White?

Although a ruthless outlaw who doesn’t think twice about killing anyone who crosses his path, Curly Bill did not really intend to kill Marshal Fred White. He was even remorseful about the marshal’s death which shows that he still had a conscience despite him clearly liking his life of crime. Contrary to what’s shown in the movie, the marshal did not actually die right away after the gunshot and was able to confess that the gunfire was an accident. Even Wyatt Earp who witnessed the event confirmed that the gunshot was an accident.

How did Curly Bill die?

In the movie Tombstone, Curly Bill met his demise in the hands of Wyatt Earp who hunted all the members of the outlaw Cowboys responsible for killing his brother. It was an ultimate moment of reckoning when Wyatt Earp crossed a raging river to go man to man with Curly Bill and finally finished him off with his shotgun. Whether this scene of the movie is historically accurate or not, the mystery of Curly Bill’s death will remain to be the most intriguing part of the outlaw’s legend.


Powers Boothe was a son of a cotton farm rancher in Snyder, Texas, and was named after his father’s best friend who died in the Second World War. With his powerful screen presence, Powers Boothe clearly lived up to his name and immortalized one of the most notable characters in the American Wild West era. Powers Boothe is William Curly Bill Brocius and there is no one more fitting to play the outlaw cowboy than this exceptionally talented actor.

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