As I've been reading the Flood manuscript I keep trying to see where Wyatt's wife Sadie may have meddled with the story. All the accounts from relatives she worked with say she was ferocious in her efforts to hide her shameful past. She was mortified by Mattie Earp's suicide and that by stealing Wyatt from Mattie, Sadie caused her death. In most places of the manuscript it's hard to tell, but rereading the telephone page, where Wyatt claims to have received a telephone call from Bob Paul in Benson, I spotted an odd detail:
"A few minutes before eleven p.m., the United States Deputy Marshal at Tombstone was summoned from his rest in the Grand Hotel by the ringing of the telephone bell."
Wait a minute. Wyatt Earp wasn't staying in the Grand Hotel in March of 1880, he was living in a house on west Fremont Street with his second wife Mattie. . .ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh—I SEE. Never mind.
Reading Between The Lines
I can imagine Sadie standing over the kitchen table and berating Wyatt and John Flood about the original version that probably had Wyatt living in a house in Tombstone. "They're going to think I'm a bad woman," she said more than once when she was working with her relatives on her take of life with Wyatt.
Because of her absolute refusal to talk about Tombstone, people have assumed the worst and she has been described in print as a slut, a soiled dove, a home wrecker and a chronic liar. By all accounts she was difficult. When she was young she was beautiful and, in spite of all the above, one man loved her for 46 years. So, what did she really look like in the 1880s? This morning I took a crack at it.
She must have been quite attractive, with, of course, bountiful bosoms.
By the way, I refuse to call her Josie. She was Sadie all her life, through Tombstone and until after Wyatt's death, when she tried to move her past one more notch away from her guilty conscience.