Let's be perfectly clear here: I don't buy the argument that John Flood made up anecdotes and events to pad out the Wyatt Earp manuscript. He stretched anecdotes and exaggerated like crazy (see yesterday's post on Wyatt waking up before the gunfight), but all with Earp's blessing. The very idea that Wyatt was somehow duped or out of the loop is laughable. This is Wyatt's story as he and Sadie wanted it to be told. Granted, there's a ton of BS in here (Wyatt claims he bagged John Ringo for example) and Sadie altered quite a bit of landscape to keep herself out of the picture, but the basic premise of every chapter and every event covered in the 348 pages comes straight from the horse's mouth. That is my opinion.
That said, it's hard to believe Wyatt Earp could tell the story of the gunfight in Tombstone and get so much of it wrong. For one thing, Wyatt drew a map of the location of the fight (which is printed in the manuscript) and where everyone stood. Incredibly, Wyatt has the fight taking place in the rear of the O.K. Corral! As we reported in True West magazine recently, that map of the wrong location recently sold at auction for $380,000! Now THAT is ironic.
As I have previously reported there are tons of CRACK! (in my book, "The Illustrated Life & Times of Wyatt Earp," published in 1993 and revised in 1996, I have the number of "Crack!" mentions at 101, but upon closer inspection (thanks to Mark Boardman for letting spend some quality time with his copy), I have accounted for 109 CRACK! mentiones and one BANG!, as in bullets fired by the participants!). The newspapers from back in the day lists the number of shots being fired at approximately 30, which is plenty. I can easily see that this could be Earp and Flood, acting on the advice of William S. Hart, or Tom Mix, or perhaps a screenwriter who tried to help out with the project: "Trust me, the people who love Westerns love to see the word CRACK! You can't put too many in your narrative. Load it up."
Here's how Wyatt describes Doc pulling both triggers on the Wells Fargo shotgun:
"'Doc Holliday and his popgun!' he was furious with the ridicule that was in his mind [Wyatt is assuming Doc will be ridiculed for missing with a shotgun], and raising the weapon above his head, he flung it far across the street."
And here are a couple of scanned pages to prove to you that I am not exaggerating on the number of CRACK! mentions:
Let's Get Crackin'!
And even more cracks: