The Tombstone movie tells the story of Tombstone Arizona. About Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, and Doc Holiday while they lived here. How did the end up here? Why did they leave? If you've never seen the movie, for an overview - Click Here>
We love this Tombstone film. Each time we watch (1 or 2+ times a year!) we still love it!! Maybe you've already seen & loved it? If so - you may want to get right to the interactions we have - More Here>
Maybe all the critics haven't loved it (quite a few have). But then they don't live in this town - and live its history like we locals do!
Is the Tombstone Movie True?
Some see the Tombstone movie, but don't know much about the U.S. Old West. Or maybe they know about the Wild West. But they watch some Westerns, and know they're not true stories. So they ask themselves: "Is the Tombstone movie fictional?"
So, Is Tombstone Fictional - well, we know the town itself certainly isn't, we live there! But the Tombstone film? It's based on fact - but all is not exactly true. (More on that -Below>)
Still we highly recommend you watch it!
If you're planning a trip here (great idea!!), the Tombstone movie gives you a good overview of the OK Corral gunfight history. That's a great head start!
That shootout is a real reason why this town is on the World Wide Map! The story is close enough though - it's when you get down to details that the writer took liberties.
Also, a few of the characters in the film can get confusing. They're a little difficult to keep track of. Especially when you're not Tombstone history fanatics!
But no worries! Don't trouble yourself about them.
Certain roles in the Tombstone movie are the most important to concentrate on, to get the gist of the film's outcome. We can help you with that here!
1993 Tombstone Movie Stats
Original Release Date- December 24, 1993
Writer- Kevin Jarre
Director - George P. Cosmatos
Producers- James Jacks, Sean Daniel, Bob Misiorowski
Narration - Robert Mitchum
Wear the Hats the Western Movie Stars & Ranchers Wore:
Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Roy Rogers, Gary Cooper...
In particular, those from Val Kilmer, Tombstone's Doc Holliday, are the majority of terrific lines. Here are some of the most popular quotes from the Tombstone movie...
3 from Doc in a Prescott AZ Saloon -
Doc Holliday & Ed Bailey are gambling, Big Nose Kate is by Doc's side. Doc puts his arm around Kate as she brings him a drink. Doc says...
Kate! You're not wearing a bustle. How lewd!
Doc suspiciously (in Ed's opinion) wins a large amount with the hand. Ed's upset & tells him to get his money & get out. Doc shows his gun and replies...
Why Ed Bailey, are we cross?
Ed calls him a lunger & says he'd be nothing without his guns. Doc responds...
Ed, what an ugly thing to say! I abhor ugliness. Does this mean we're not friends anymore? You know Ed, if I thought you weren't my friend, I just don't think I could bear it.
Doc Holliday's Faro Table - He played & dealt this popular card game of the Old West
In Tombstone -
Doc has been drinking all day & playing the piano in a bar. Cowboys are in town, living it up. Doc & Billy Clanton see each other on Allen Street. Tensions are high as a Cowboy, Curly Bill Brocius, has just shot & killed Marshal White. Billy says...
It's the drunk piano player. You're so drunk you can't hit nothin'. In fact, you're probably seeing double.
I have two guns, one for each of ya.
Click Here - For Even More Tombstone Movie Quotes!
Tombstone - The Movie: Accuracies
The question has been asked - Is Tombstone fictional? Certainly the script wording is just about all conjecture. A few lines are based on fact, though. They're taken from newspaper accounts - and from trial details. We've already mentioned that the Tombstone movie is based on fact - but many details are not accurate.
Let's compare some actual movie happenings with facts from real Tombstone history. How do they compare?
MISLEADING - Wyatt began his law career in Wichita Kansas, before going to Dodge City. But he wasn't the law abiding angel the Tombstone movie makes him out to be. He seemed to go downhill when his only verified legal wife, Urilla, died of typhus. She was carrying their child, and so he also lost the child. He never had another. He was arrested numerous times, worked in brothels, escaped from jail, got into fights, etc. Once he became a Dodge City lawman, he settled down a bit. Still he had many experiences in his life that were questionable. Read More>
TRUE - Wyatt did feel Doc Holliday saved his life in Dodge City, when Texas Cowboys were free-wheeling through the town. That was when they truly started their friendship. The film was essentially accurate there.
FALSE - Mattie Blaylock, a former prostitute, was not actually married to Wyatt. She was his "common-law" wife, who used his name - but it wasn't legally binding. She was with him from about 1872 to 1881.
Johnny Ringo's Gravesite
FALSE - Virgil Earp wasn't against being a lawman for a living, as portrayed in the movie Tombstone. He was already appointed as U.S. Deputy Marshal of the Tombstone A.T. Mining District before getting there. The U.S. Marshal Crawley Dake contacted him when he was still in Prescott AZ. He also regularly used his willing brothers Wyatt & Morgan as deputies when he needed help. Not seen in the Tombstone film were brothers James & Warren also lived in town. James never got into law enforcement, but Warren Earp was also deputized on occasion.
TRUE/FALSE - Yes, Tombstone Marshal Fred White was shot by Curly Bill Brocius. But he managed to confirm before dying that it was an accident. White grabbed the end of the barrel, jarring it, causing the gun to go off.
FALSE - The three Earp brothers who first arrived arrived to Tombstone in late 1879 didn't include Morgan. Instead with Wyatt and Virgil, it was James and his wife Bessie. Morgan and their other brother Warren, arrived the middle of 1880.
FALSE - Morgan Earp wasn't in the Oriental Saloon when he was shot & killed. He was playing pool. But he was in Campbell & Hatch's Saloon & Billiard Parlor - half a block West down Allen Street. Today it's Red Buffalo Trading - where you can go inside to see the actual spot when he was gunned down.
FALSE - Doc Holliday didn't kill Johnny Ringo - that's extremely far-fetched. It's most likely that Ringo committed suicide. There are other theories floating around, but they're also fairly easily refuted, and not given credence by most authorities. His body was found in a grove of oak trees near Turkey Creek. He was buried nearby. You can visit the site - it's a few hour's drive from Tombstone.
FALSE - The town lay-out. Allen Street is mostly wrong on the Tombstone movie set. Schieffelin Hall is seen at the end of Allen Street on the set, as if it ends in a T - Not! It's located on the Northeast corner of Fremont Street. Campbell & Hatch is next to the Oriental - Not! It's midway down the other block, West - past the Crystal Palace.
FALSE - Louisa (Lou), Morgan's wife (probably common-law) was not in town when Morgan was murdered. She was at her in-laws in California, in the first settled area of what now is Oakland. She was in Tombstone for a short time, arriving after Morgan already got to town. She only stayed a few months and returned to California before he was killed.
TOMBSTONE 1993 FILM FANS - Can you point out any other fact vs. inaccuracy points in the TOMBSTONE MOVIE? Please let us know - and we'll check with our history sources, and include them here. Just comment on them below.
Do you love related Western collectibles? I do! Check these out...
Your Favorite Tombstone Movie Quotes Or Fact Vs. Fiction Finds
We'd like to hear your favorite quotes from the Tombstone Movie. There are so many - give us your own contribution! Comment on them here...
Or tell us anything you've discovered in the Tombstone movie that you feel doesn't compare correctly with the true history of Tombstone - we want to know!
Do you have a question? Do you have a comment? Type it into the box below. We'll respond soon!
Watch a Tombstone Movie Behind The Scenes Clip
The Tombstone Film
Here's a synopsis of the Tombstone video's script to hash out what's essential to take away. Sort of like "Cliff Notes" for the Tombstone Movie! It all begins with Wyatt Earp...
As settlers moved West, towns sprung up with lots of lawlessness. Men were hired to keep the peace when possible. Wyatt Earp held that position in Dodge City, Kansas. His technique was talk first, if that didn't work then clubbing heads with his pistol handle.
A cattleman who suffered from his pistol butting came up behind him one day about to shoot. A man named John Henry Holliday quickly intervened, shooting the cattleman down. Doc Holliday saving Wyatt's life began a life-long friendship between the two.
After that Wyatt meets his brothers & their wives in Tombstone: Virgil & Allie, and Morgan & Louisa. By Wyatt's side is his common-law wife, Mattie (who's craving Laudanum). They're in town to begin gambling concessions & mining investments.
At the same time Doc Holliday is in Prescott AZ. Gambling is his living as he can't continue his profession of dentistry since he contracted tuberculosis. His partner is his lover, Hungarian born Kate Horony - known as Big Nose Kate.
Soon after the Earps are in town, Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan introduces himself - seems like he's a blow-hard braggart.
They meet town Marshal Fred White. He tells them local hell-raisers called the Cowboys run rampant over the town. That you can spot them by the red wild-rag sash they wear. He tries not to mix it up with them if possible. He talks about all the 24 hour bars on Allen Street with women & gambling. He mentions the Oriental is a little different, high rollers avoid it.
Wyatt enters the Oriental Saloon. Talks to bartender/owner Milton Joyce, asking why it's so dead. He states a dealer took over the gambling, intimidating & abusing everybody. Wyatt goes over & confronts him - he's taking over the dealing. Wyatt uses his old lawman technique & it works.
Doc Holliday shows up in Tombstone, with Kate & meets up with Wyatt.
Virgil appears just as 2 gamblers coming out of the Crystal Palace are in a gunfight. Marshall White confiscates their guns. The stagecoach pulls up & a traveling theater troupe gets out, scheduled to perform. An actress, Josephine is with them - she & Wyatt make eye contact.
The Earps take their wives to the play at Schieffelin Hall. Sitting next to Wyatt, Marshal White points out all the Cowboys there. Noteworthy are: Billy Clanton, the youngest Clanton son, a wild one; Tom & Frank McLaury, local ranchers; Frank Stilwell, local entrepreneur with a questionable past. The big boys: Curly Bill Brocius, Old Man Clanton's enforcer; Johnny Ringo, a dashing looker & a sharp-shooter. Old man Clanton, rancher, the Cowboys "leader" so to speak - isn't there. Ike Clanton is his oldest son.
After the play, Wyatt heads over to the Oriental to earn by dealing Faro. Curly Bill, Johnny Ringo & Ike Clanton come in & confront Wyatt & Doc Holliday. There's even an exchange in Latin between Ringo & Doc. Then there's a memorable & amusing scene between the two. Josephine is there with Johnny Behan & inquires about Wyatt.
The Cowboys are out on Allen Street firing their guns in the air. Marshal White confronts Curly Bill. Bill shoots the Marshal & Wyatt runs up & cold-cocks him with his pistol. There's a confrontation between the Cowboys & Earps, as Curly Bill is hauled off to jail. Marshall White dies.
Curly Bill is released since no one testifies against him. Mayor Clum asks Virgil & then Wyatt to take the Sheriff's job. They refuse. But the next day Virgil takes a position as "Town Marshal A.T." [Arizona Territory]. Morgan also was deputized.
Wyatt rides his horse into the local mountains. He encounters Josephine (Josie) & they have a flirtatious encounter. Could be more, but Wyatt feels guilty. He goes back home & Mattie's in bed in a Laudanum high. He suggests moving on together, having adventure. She says he's crazy, and he's put off & disgusted.
Wyatt finds Doc in the Oriental playing Poker with Ike Clanton. Doc wins & Ike accuses him of cheating. There's a ruckus & Virgil steps in to cool it down. As Doc tries to leave he collapses. Kate's at his side, as they bring him home. Dr. Goodfellow attends to him.
In the morning Ike Clanton is still drunk & mouthing off about being cheated. More Cowboys are coming into town & things look ominous. Wyatt notes this & asks to be sworn as a law officer.
The Cowboys are seen walking the streets together. Doc Holliday gets out of bed, finds the Earps & says he's heard Cowboys are gunning for him. Wyatt says he shouldn't be concerned, it's not his problem - & Doc is hurt his friend feels that way. The Cowboys go by the OK Corral. Milton Joyce finds Virgil, tells him the Cowboys have been saying they're going to take care of him.
Wyatt & Virgil discuss the situation - Virgil states the Cowboys are breaking the law, they're armed. Wyatt says wait on it. But Virgil makes the call to go to the Cowboys. They start walking. John Behan intercepts the Earps stating don't worry, I've disarmed them. They continue on anyway.
They arrive at the lot next to the OK Corral & see the Cowboys. Virgil announces he's going to arrest them & the gunfight occurs. At its finish, Behan, who was nearby, enters & announces that the Earps & Doc are under arrest. Wyatt tells him no, not today.
The Cowboys' funeral procession goes toward Boot Hill with a banner that says "Murdered on the Streets of Tombstone."
Wyatt & Mattie have a confrontation about Josephine. Josie & Johnny Behan (who've been seeing each other) have a confrontation about Wyatt.
Ringo & Curly Bill have a post-gunfight confrontation on Allen St. with Doc, Wyatt & Virgil. Doc & Ringo get really heated & almost get into it!
A shotgun blast enters the home of Virgil & Allie Earp when all the women are inside & a voice calls out "Everybody Dies!"
Virgil's walking by the corner of 5th & Allen St. in the evening. As he turns onto 5th, he's struck on the left by gunshot. He enters the Oriental for help from brothers Wyatt & Morgan. They get him to a hotel room & Dr. Goodfellow attends to him. Allie's at his bedside, learning his left arm will be useless.
Morgan is in the Oriental shooting pool. Wyatt tries to discourage him from being out - let's go home. Morgan shows Wyatt he now has Virgil's badge. Morgan continues playing & shots ring out. Wyatt looks up & sees Morgan slumped over the table, cries out "NO!" Dr. Goodfellow arrives & tries to dislodge the bullet, but Morgan dies. Wyatt explodes with grief.
Wyatt, Virgil & their wives take Morgan's coffin & leave Tombstone by stagecoach. The Cowboys, Behan, Josie & Doc note them leaving.
The Earps get into Tucson by train, for a stop on the way to California for Morgan's burial. Wyatt gets off & there's an attempted ambush on him by Ike Clanton & Frank Stilwell. Wyatt's unharmed, but shoots & kills Stilwell. Clanton gets away.
Wyatt returns to Tombstone & along with Doc gathers men together to get the Cowboys. He's got Federal warrants, but lets them know it won't fly for local & county law. They're all in. He swears them in with Federal Marshal badges.
They ride throughout Cochise County following trails of those Cowboys that Wyatt believes are involved in killing Morgan & maiming Virgil. Doc Holliday's along, so sick he's barely able to keep upright in his saddle. They track these Cowboys & kill them, including Curly Bill.
They get to the Hooker Ranch where they must leave Doc as he's so weak he's about unconscious.
Ringo rides into a creek area & there is Doc Holliday. They have a confrontation, shoot it out. Ringo dies with a bullet in his head. Wyatt gets there amazed!
In a Denver hospital, Doc is on his death bed. Wyatt is there & they have a last visit.
A Denver Theater presents "H.M.S. Pinafore" with Josephine in its cast. Wyatt enters the dressing room to find Josie. He offers her his lifelong promise. She accepts. As they get a train out of town, reporters try to speak to them, but they ride away...
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