Wyatt Earp was not satisfied sticking to one job for too long. During his life he was a lawman, buffalo hunter, brothel keeper, miner and boxing referee, among others. But he was best known for being an infinitely tough cowboy.
Earp took part in the
most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West,
the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a 30-second gun battle that has
inspired dozens of feature-length films. What you might not
realize is that, unlike most people involved in that event, Earp
lived long enough to see the earliest movies inspired by his
Toward the end of his
life, Earp settled in California and tried to break into
Hollywood. Perhaps noticing an alarming lack of westerns where
his character was always surrounded by naked ladies, Earp
decided he wanted to tell his story from his own perspective.
Unfortunately, the closest he got was reportedly a background
part in a single scene of an obscure 1915 film. However, Earp
did get to befriend some Hollywood actors, including a
17-year-old nobody called Marion Morrison, whose stage name is
While hanging out on
movie sets, casually choreographing historical gunfights for
directors like John Ford, Earp would share stories from the Wild
West with the actors. The future Wayne, then an extra and prop
man, soaked them up. He also paid close attention to the way
Earp talked and carried himself.