Monday, August 15, 2011

OK Problem Solvers

August 15, 2011

Went into the Beast on Saturday and joined my son Thomas Charles and his girlfriend Pattarapan for Mexican food at Asadero, a street style Mexican grill place on 16th Street, then a movie and wine at the Filmbar. Saw "Armadillo," a documentary about Danish troops at a forward base in Afghanistan called Armadillo. The combat footage is amazing, similar to "Restrepo," and as a matter of fact, the punchline to both docs and "The Hurt Locker" is exactly the same: the combat soldiers all get addicted to the bonding and the action and can't wait to go back.

Here's an update on our Classic Gunfight featuring Captain Emmett Crawford's tragic death in the fight on the Devil's Backbone. At press time I did not have the name of the Cochise County sheriff who showed up 200 miles into Mexico and tried to arrest Dutchie, an Apache scout who was wanted for murder in Arizona. Well, not only did Allan Radbourne send me the name of the sheriff, but he sent me the name of the deputy who came with him: N.F. Leslie. I emailed Allen back and asked, if by chance, this would be the famous Buckskin Frank Leslie of Tombstone fame, and here is Allen's reply:

"The very same. N. F. Leslie had been with Wirt Davis' battalion of Indian Scouts in 1885. He carried dispatches from Davis to Crook at Fort Bowie, from where the the general's aide wrote to Captain Davis on August 18th: "Gen. Crook sends by Leslie the Chiricahua, Dutchy, and another Scout, whom he believes you will find useful." Leslie also carried with him $200 in subsistence funds as the Scouts commands operating in Mexico required cash, specifically coin, to purchase supplies, whereas in the field in the U.S. they would usually have used QM vouchers.

Dutchy was discharged after his service with Davis and returned to Fort Apache, where he was enlisted by Lt. Shipp on 9 November, 1885, for service with Crawford's battalion. It seems likely that Leslie was deputised for the job because he knew Dutchy by sight."
—Allan Radbourne

Round Five of The OK Corral Fight

Started work this weekend on my fifth go round on the Tombstone street fight. My first attempt at capturing the fight—round one—was in 1981:

Rather naive, but I at least got the cane right. At that time I didn't know that Holliday (second from left) was wearing a broad brimmed hat and was dressed in gray. I revisited the sequence in an ambitious round of artwork for my Illustrated Life & Times of Wyatt Earp in 1993. And revisited the fight the very next year when I published The Illustrated Life & Times of Doc Holliday, 1994.

This is Virgil Goes Down done during this period (still doing the cane, ha.). I returned to the fight for Classic Gunfights, Volume II, in 2005:

Did this scratchboard (above) of the fight last year and this led to a different perspective of the OK fight:

This is a study of the Earps and Doc all shooting at Billy Clanton. Perhaps overstated but not far from the truth. Notice that Billy is flipping his pistol to his left hand after being hit in the right wrist by one of the many bullets coming his way.

About a month ago, I started noodling a different perspective of the fight, from deep in the lot, utilizing a Fly photo of the scene (owned by Steve Elliott in Tombstone):

Over the weekend I did ten preliminary skies for my new round of scenes of the fight. It was quite cold and stormy the day of the fight with snow flurries reported, by Parsons, in the Huachucas, so I wanted to capture a stormy sky for my new scenes. This is a study—Wyatt Commences to Fight While The Guy Who Precipitated The Fight Flees:

I'll have more after lunch. So, what do documentaries on Iraq and Afghanistan have to do with the OK Corral fight? Gee, I wonder what ol' Gay has to say about this?

"The real problem is what to do with the problem solvers after the problems are solved."
—Gay Talese

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