Thursday, March 30, 2006

March 30, 2006 Bonus Blog
Bob Nilson from the Benson Chamber of Commerce just called our offices to tell us at least two dozen people have called or come in to find out about the statues of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday "in Benson". They have told Bob that they saw me talking about this on TV (several have said on The History Channel, which many get confused with the Westerns Channel, where it actually is running) and understood me to say that Wyatt shot Frank Stillwell in Benson and the statues are there.

Here’s the actual shooting script:

True West Moment #10: Tucson Train Shooting, Wyatt Earp vs. Frank Stilwell
The train from Benson glided along these tracks on the evening of March 20, 1882. On the train were Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and several others. They were guarding Virgil Earp and his wife Allie who were leaving the territory. Wyatt and his men planned on returning to Tombstone on an eastbound train as soon as Virgil and Allie were safely on their way to California. After reboarding the train, Wyatt, or someone with him, spotted Frank Stilwell lurking in the shadows and fearing he would attempt to shoot Virgil through the window as the train pulled out, Wyatt grabbed a shotgun and along with Doc Holliday, pursued the very man Wyatt believed was responsible for killing his brother Morgan Earp less than 48 hours before. Seeing Earp coming, Frank Stilwell tried to run down this way, but Earp caught up to him. Turning to face Earp, Stilwell cried out, “Morg!” as Wyatt shoved the shotgun up under the cowboy’s breast and gave him both barrels.

The next morning, Stilwell’s riddled body was found a few hundred yards west of the train station on the train tracks. Allegedly, Doc and the others had added their two cents to the outlaw’s body as it lay, crumpled along the tracks.

An eye-witness wrote: “Frank Stilwell was shot all over, the worst shot-up man that I ever saw.”

Today, this statue of Wyatt and Doc stands facing the location of the shooting. A grim testament to a deadly feud.

I’m Bob Boze Bell and this has been a True West Moment.

End of script. As you can see, although Tucson is in the title, it’s easy to understand why someone would think the statues are in Benson, since I don’t once mention Tucson, where the statues are. When I asked Bob Nilson what I could do to rectify the problem he said, “Bring me two statues.” Ha.

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