We started by visiting Boot Hill graveyard as it was on our way in to town where we bought a self-guided tour booklet. Most of the people interred there seem to have shot one another or the odd Indian got them. Very few out of 250+ died of natural causes. The main street remains a very wide dirt road. All the locals are dressed as cowboys and cowgirls - the buildings are the genuine 1800s. It is quite a big town with shops and restaurants. The first thing we did was buy tickets for the 2pm “Gun-fight at the OK Corral“. Then we walked to a restaurant called “Big Nose Kate“.
Big Nose Kate’s story is quite fascinating. She was the daughter of a Hungarian doctor who was enticed to the USA with promises of riches. When Kate was 12 years old her father and mother died within a month of one another, subsequently her guardian made her pregnant and left her at a convent. After giving birth she abandoned her child and ran away from the convent. In time she became the common law wife of Doc Holliday (of OK Corral fame) who taught her how to gamble and play cards which is how they made their living. When he died she married an Irish alcoholic named Cummings and after he died she joined a friend who ran a brothel in Tombstone. She lived well into her 80’s in a State sponsored home in Prescott, where we will be going on Saturday.
Then we crossed the street again to see the “Gun-fight at the OK Corral” played by local cowboy actors. To this day there is controversy as to who fired the first shot and whether it was the good guys or the bad guys who were killed. Interestingly, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were charged with murder and exonerated.
We then saw a movie show on the history of Tombstone that gave an overview of what the town looked like in the early 1900’s. We walked around the town under the shade of the overhangs and looked at the shops. There were 3 old stagecoaches giving rides around the town.
As we sat and ate an Ice cream before heading back to Tucson a group of tourist cowboy and cowgirls rode into town…the perfect ending to our day.