Wyatt Earp: Knight With A Six-Shooter
In discussing Wyatt Earp as a matter of fact, in discussing any historical figure of any importance one needs to consider both the man/woman and the events in which he/she was involved. An obvious question becomes: How did they become involved? Pondering the enormity and impact of the events in relation to their time often answers the overall question: Why was this person great? Because Earp is one of those figures who, as I think most historians will agree, achieved fame out of sheer guts in a time and at a place when he was called upon to have sheer guts...or run...he then becomes a more interesting study if you regard the three as a unit: Man/Time/Place. Wyatt Earp is a study in reaction to spontaneous occurrences that popped up around the next corner in the next cattle town.
In short, some people want fame and go after it. Some spend the weight of their life balancing pros and cons, then making the right choice. Earp has these people beat because by instinct he knew what to do when and where.
The following books and articles offer great insight into either Wyatt Earp or the times in which he lived, or both. When read as a compendium, they provide a topography of a great man.
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Glenn Boyer The Earp Curse. Listing of this author's many books on Earp, his life and times, can be found by clicking on the blue-underlined text of the author's name.
Lake, Stuart N. Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall.
Earp, Josephine Sarah Marcus (ed. Glenn G. Boyer), I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp
Marks, Paula Mitchell, And Die in the West: The Story of the O.K. Corral Gunfight
Time-Life Books, editors of Gunfighters of the Old West.
Trayich, Ben T., "The Real Doc Holliday," article in Wild West magazine, issue October 1997.
Waters, Frank (with Addie Earp), Earp Brothers of Tombstone: The Story of Mrs. Virgil Earp
Watts, Peter, Dictionary of the Old West. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.