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OK Corral gunfight hero Wyatt Earp 'no good guy', claims new book

May 21, 2011 - London

A new book has dismissed the theory that American gambler Wyatt Earp was a good guy and that the OK Corral gunfight was a case of good vs evil.

The Earps have always been the good guys and the McLaurys and Clantons, the bad guys.

"In no way did the shootout represent a clearly defined duel to the death between Good and Evil," the Daily Mail quoted former journalist Jeff Guinn, author of the magnificently titled 'The Last Gunfight: The Real Story Of The Shootout At The O.K. Corral - And How It Changed The American West', as saying.

"The poor McLaurys have gotten short shrift all these years, and they don't deserve it," added Guinn.

The shootout lasted just 30 seconds but it continues to reverberate 130 years later.

According to the paper, the immediate cause of the gunfight was Police Chief Virgil Earp's attempt to enforce the local ordinance against carrying firearms. But Guinn's research has revealed that tensions between the Earps and the cowboys had deep roots.

The Earps have come across as straight-shooting, law-and-order types in a series of movies since the 30's, it said.

But according to Guinn Wyatt's own brushes with horse theft and misappropriation of funds, or his time working in the floating brothels in Peoria, Illinois were never mentioned.

Also omitted is the fact that Wyatt's and at least one of his brothers' "wives" were convicted prostitutes.

"[Wyatt] broke jail on a charge of horse theft back in Indian territory as a young man. Technically, he was a fugitive from the law his entire life. Nobody out in the West was completely pristine," added Guinn.


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