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On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral shaped how future generations came to view the old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons became the stuff of legends, but the truth is even better. As The Last Gunfight makes clear, the real story of the O.K. Corral and the West is far different from what we’ve been led to believe by countless Westerns.
Drawing on new material from private collections, including diaries, letters, and Wyatt Earp’s own hand-drawn sketch of the shootout’s conclusion, as well as documentary research in Tombstone and Arizona archives and dozens of interviews, Jeff Guinn gives us a startlingly different and far more fascinating picture of what the West was like. He tells us who the Earps, Doc Holliday and their cowboy adversaries really were, what actually happened on that cold day in Tombstone, and why. The gunfight did not occur in the O.K. Corral, and it was in no way a defining battle between frontier forces of good and evil.
Guinn depicts an accidental, if inevitable, clash between competing social, political, and economic forces representing the old West of ruggedly independent ranchers and cowboys and the emerging new West of wealthy mining interests and well-heeled town folk. With its masterful storytelling, fresh research, and memorable characters The Last Gunfight is hugely entertaining and illuminating.


The genius of (t)his book is that, for all its historical accuracy and sophistication, it still tells a story as stirring as any western.

---, Sunday Times

A book I've been reading with enormous pleasure

Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

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  • Paperback, 416 pages
  • ISBN: 9781849543644
  • 10 October 2012
  • £12.99

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