The Old West's most famous gunbattle lasted all of about thirty seconds, but it left three men dead, three other men shot, and enough questions to occupy historians for more than a century. The gunfight also led to criminal charges being filed against the three Earp brothers (Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan) and Doc Holliday who, near the O. K. Corral on October 26, 1881, decided to enforce the law against four notorious cowboys. The hearing that followed the shoot-out considered the question of whether the Earps and Hollidays killed out of a justifiable fear for their own lives or simply to rid themselves of troublemakers and personal enemies. After listening to weeks of testimony, Judge Spicer gave his answer - but whether his answer was the right one remained a subject of considerable debate long after the silver mines that gave birth to Tombstone, Arizona had vanished.
Douglas O. Linder,
The Earp-Holliday Trial: An Account,
Available at: https://irlaw.umkc.edu/faculty_works/854