Friday, October 16, 2009

October 16, 2009
Well, I've been attempting to capture the O.K. Corral fight since 1981 (or earlier if you count my fifth grade version with Elliott Ness style tommy guns). Funny what walking the actual walk will do for artistic enthusiasm. Last Monday I met the Vendetta Riders at Hafford's Corner in Tombstone and I walked and talked them all the way up Fourth Street, west on Fremont Street to the narrow passageway west of Fly's Boarding House.

As I talked and pointed out the major points in the 30 second fight, I was also watching the shadows and the details in the surroundings. Went home for lunch today and finished a new version of the O.K. Corral fight:

Of course I had to fudge a bit on sequence for dramatic effect. Virgil has just shot Billy Clanton (at bottom, right) and turns his attention to Frank McLaury, who Wyatt Earp (second from right, top) has just gut shot. Ike Clanton is running around the front of Fly's (he lost his hat so we can see his bandaged head), while Morgan gets his shoulder blades sliced by a bullet (by who?) and Doc begins his lunge towards Tom McLaury who is trying to retrieve his saddle gun. The only thing missing is the waterline mound in the street, but it just seemed busy enough already. Yes, that's Big Nose Kate in the window behind Virgil and Wyatt, and yes, that's Addie Bourland's shop across the street (copied from Eggenhoffer's rendition of the fight from the original dust jacket of Frontier Marshal). Not perfect, Doc is lunging in the wrong direction, away from Tom, but the action is good, the horses are not pleased and the narrow space seems about right.

"It's okay, but one of these times you'll get it right."
—The Critic In My Head

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