Tombstone is a cult-classic Western movie that tells the story of some of America’s most infamous gunslingers, including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
In this film, a gang of outlaws massacres policemen at a wedding as retaliation for killing their friends. The story cuts to respected (but retired) sheriff Wyatt Earp, who is headed toward the town of Tombstone to settle down. They encounter his dear friend Holliday, who is also seeking a quiet place to get some relief from his tuberculosis. The atmosphere gets tense as the townspeople demand that Earp take down the gang, even though he is no longer an officer of the law. But he and his crew take up the call nevertheless.
What ensues is a glorious two-hour film with clever gunfights, ambushes, and classic Old Western-style showdowns between people on opposite sides of the law. The final showdown is not to be missed, involving a shoot-out, a creek, and a duel.
Interspersed between battle scenes are moments of family drama, like the tension between Earp’s common-law wife Josephine and the prostitute who was his companion for several years.
A major theme of this film, and of the legend of Wyatt Earp, is the friendship between Earp and Holliday. This is portrayed beautifully in the modern science fiction series Wynonna Earp, too. In a poignant moment in Tombstone, this historic friendship gets it due:
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Why you doin’ this, Doc?
Doc Holliday: Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.
Doc Holliday: I don’t.
Featuring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, this 1993 blockbuster grossed $56.5 million and was a major box office success. It was shot on-site in Arizona near where the original OK Corral would have been.
If you’re interested in the Wyatt Earp story, go watch Tombstone and then queue up Kevin Costner version Wyatt Earp as well as Melanie Scrofano’s modern interpretation in Wynonna Earp, where she plays Wyatt’s great-great-granddaughter.