Part 3: For a Few Planks More
In which I talk almost as much as Silas. Hah, no. But at least he is giving me more room to chat a bit myself. If youre confused what the Vendetta Ride and the O.K. Corral is all about in Silas conversation with the other saloon patrons, the nuggets have that covered quite nicely.
Finally, I found the blog of one of the artists who worked on the game (Wojciech Ostrycharz) and he had a pretty large amount of concept art posted way back in the day. A lot is for areas we havent yet been to, Ill post those when appropriate, but its neat to see a rough version of our fellow saloon-goers. The other one, I believe, belongs to our Lincoln escape.
Nuggets of Truth
On October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, a town in the Arizona Territory, an incident known today as the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" took place. It was a clash between two warring factions: an outlaw gang known as "The Cowboys" and the lawmen who wanted those criminals to give up their guns. The first group included Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, who escaped, unarmed and unharmed. Their companions, brothers Tom and Frank McLaury, did not survive the fight. They second group consisted of Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earp. They were joined by a hastily sworn in deputy, the notorious gambler and gunslinger, Doc Holliday.
An attempt to disarm "The Cowboys" quickly turned into a brief but intense gunfight at close range. Virgil Earp yelled for them to "Throw up your hands, I want your guns!" Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton reached for their revolvers and cocked them, clearly not intending to surrender. Virgil shouted, "Hold! I don't mean that!" Moments later shots were fired and when the smoke had cleared, three Cowboys were dead, riddled with bullets and buckshot.
The dead ended up at the local Boot Hill, a name used in the Wild West for graveyards where gunslingers and troublemakers were buried...as they commonly died with their boots on and not in bed like respectable citizens.
Before the town of Tombstone was founded, a scout named Ed Schieffelin was looking for ore samples in a very inhospitable area. A friendly soul told him, "The only rock you will find out there will be your own tombstone. When Ed finally managed to find a valuable silver vein, he couldnt help but name his mining operation Tombstone.
Born in Illinois on March 19, 1848, he lived a long and storied life, finally passing away in Los Angeles, California on January 13, 1929. At one time or another he was a farmer, bouncer, saloonkeeper, dealer, prospector, boxing referee, teamster, buffalo hunter, entrepreneur, and most famously a sheriff.
He is celebrated mainly for his role in the Wild West's most famous shootout. The Gunfight at the OK Corral. That fight lasted all of 30 seconds and those seconds defined him for the rest of his days. That fracas led to what became known as the "Vendetta Ride." Wyatt Еагр, Doc Holliday, and a few other compadres exacted violent revenge on the men they believed responsible for the wounding Virgil Earp and the murder of younger brother, Morgan. The vendetta ended with Wyatt personally shooting the then leader of "The Cowboys," "Curly Bill" Brocius. Or at least that's the legend.
Tall for his time, stocky, and clearly fearless, he often dealt with outlaws without ever drawing his revolver. He claims to have never been shot and if that's true that's an amazing feat, considering all the hot lead that flew by him in his lifetime. It's not surprising that he became an icon, sparking the imaginations of countless filmmakers, biographers and writers. His name is instantly recognizable even to those who don't know much about the history of the American West.
William "Curly Bill" Brocius was born around 1845, and died probably by Wyatt Earp's hand on March 24, 1882. He was a saddle tramp, a gunfighter, a rustler, and a member of the outlaw gang known as "The Cowboys."
After Old Man Clanton's death, Curly Bill became the informal leader of "The Cowboys". He was described as tall and stocky with a head full of thick curly hair. By all accounts, he was considered an excellent shot. Brocius liked to drink however, and, under the influence of alcohol, his sense of humor could become deadly for those around him. Once, he made a preacher "dance" during a church service by shooting at his feet. On another occasion, he ordered several Mexican peasants to strip naked and dance for his amusement. Apparently, when intoxicated, Brocius enjoyed watching naked people jump at his command.
Brocius probably had a hand in the murder of Morgan Earp, Wyatt's younger brother. This was in revenge for the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral and the death of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers. Wyatt Earp would avenge Morgan by killing Curly Bill at Iron Springs, in a shootout between Earps posse and The Cowboys.
John Peters Ringo was born on the May 3, 1850, and ended his life of violence 32 years later. History remembers him as an outlaw and a gunfighter who was associated with "The Cowboys" gang in his final years.
In 1874-76, Ringo earned his reputation as a dangerous desperado while fighting in the Mason County War. His deeds during that conflict cost him almost two years in jail before the charges were finally dismissed. Soon after arriving in Arizona, an inebriated Ringo shot and wounded a man in a saloon for preferring to drink his beer instead of the whiskey Ringo bought for him. It is no surprise that around Tombstone, Ringo's reputation was that of an ill-mannered, ill-tempered, violence-prone saddle tramp, especially when drunk. On the other hand, who knows what his reputation would have been if the fight at the OK Corral had gone differently. History is written by the victors and Wyatt Earp and his brothers not only won the actual fight, but the PR battle as well.
On the 13th of July 1882, Johnny Ringo was found dead with a gunshot wound in his head and a revolver in his hand. He was sitting under a tree, barefoot. His horse was found two weeks later, his boots tied to the saddle as cowboys often do to keep the scorpions out. His death was officially ruled a suicide, but we still don't know whether the "King of the Cowboys" was killed (by Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday) or if he simply shot himself because he felt his life was no longer worth living.