I'm on page 248 of the Flood manuscript—100 to go. It's hard work. Sometimes I have to read a page several times to try and figure out what he's even talking about. And, of course, the real trick is trying to figure out how much is Wyatt and how much is Flood padding out the text by poaching from the pulps, and other sources. Here's an intriguing anectdote on page 45, in the chapter "A New Officer":
"Now Earp, you're a full fledged officer; all you need is a brace of guns; go down to the store and tell them I sent you."
"Guns, Earp!" "Two guns!" thundered the Mayor [of Wichita] only minutes later. "Go back and get another; my men need two guns." "They need them and you will too." The [cut off in the gutter of page] wanted him to have it, and he wanted it more than the mayor or anyone else knew."
End of Flood. Later in Tombstone, Flood has Morgan wearing two guns as well. Which brings up a good question: was Wyatt Earp a two-gun man?
We know, in the thirties and forties, the movie portrayals featured two-guns on Wyatt, although I believe Henry Fonda portrayed him as only carrying one gun in "My Darling Clementine." And, obviously Hugh O'Brian wore two guns portraying Earp in "The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp." Later portrayals revert to Wyatt only wearing one gun: Kevin Costner in "Wyatt Earp" and Kurt Russell in "Tombstone," and I believe James Garner as well in "Hour of the Gun". Which is correct? And why the change? Why did the early movies have Earp wearing two-guns and then the scaling back to only one? I sent this inquiry to one of the foremost experts on Wyatt Earp and got this response:
My guess is that photo scholarship in the mid-twentieth century, did erode the two-gun image, and that the two-gun celluloid marshal started to seem ostentatious and exaggerated, so the later portrayals reverted to the more modest one-gun Wyatt Earp. What's especially interesting to me is that we are all picking and choosing which portions of the Flood manuscript (and Burns and Lake) to believe and which to discard. If we don't like something, we blame Flood and Burns and Lake. If we concur, we say smugly, "Well, at least he got that right. He must have listened to Wyatt."
As I read the manuscript I'm trying to picture the two men sitting at the kitchen table and Flood trying to draw Wyatt out (and Sadie yelling at the two of them at every turn). Thanks to her, Flood has Wyatt and Virgil coming into Tombstone—just the two of them as bachelors on horseback. We know why she insisted on that falsehood, because they actually came in wagons with their wives. And Sadie could not allow that.