Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy birthday, legend Doc Holliday

It is the birthday of Doc Holliday (1851), the colorful dentist turned gambler and gunfighter of the Old West. His legendary prowess with a six-shooter may have been more fiction than fact but his friendship with another legend, lawman Wyatt Earp, was not. Scholars document at least one occasion when Holliday's quick trigger saved Earp's life, but other accounts are largely fictional. In any case, the two are remembered for the Gunfight at O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, a 30-second shootout that left Holliday wounded and three outlaws dead. The incident became well known after the publication of Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal (1931), a mostly fictional biography by Stuart Lake, who had been a professional wrestling promoter and a press aide to Teddy Roosevelt when he ran for president in 1912. Holliday died of tuberculosis in Colorado in 1887.

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