On a chilly October afternoon in 1881, two brothers named Tom and Frank McLaury were gunned down on the streets of Tombstone, Arizona, by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. The deadly event became known as the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and in a quirk of fate, the brothers' names became well-known, but only as bad men and outlaws. Did they deserve that reputation?
The McLaurys in Tombstone, Arizona: An O.K. Corral Obituary explores this question, revealing details of their family background and the context of their lives on the frontier. Paul Lee Johnson begins their story with the McLaury brothers' decision to go into the cattle business with an ambition to have their own ranch. When they moved to Arizona, they finally achieved that goal, but along the way they became enmeshed with the cross-border black market that was thriving there. As "honest ranchers", they were in business with both the criminal element as well as the legitimate businesses in Tombstone.
Another principal in this story was an older brother, William, who set aside his law practice in Fort Worth to settle his brothers' affairs, and associated himself with the prosecution of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. Despite his efforts, the Earps and Holliday were exonerated, and the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" became the opening salvo of a feud that took several more lives.
Johnson has interviewed family descendants and mined their sources, government correspondence, and letters that have never before been published to reveal the human lives behind the storied events. For the first time the events of the O.K. Corral gunfight are presented from the viewpoint of the McLaurys, two brothers who lost their lives and reputations, and a family who tried in vain to find restitution.
The book is published by University of North Texas Press.
He [Paul Lee Johnson] skillfully recounts the familiar background story with clarity and freshness, and he has produced a volume that is a notable addition to the literature of Tombstone's most compelling drama." (Journal of Arizona History)
"Paul Lee Johnson is one exceptional researcher. His work on the McLaurys in Tombstone... is the best compendium available of events in that boomtown..." (Wild West History Association Journal)
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A Deeper Look Into An Historic Icon
Eye-opening, Enlightening, Engrossing
To be honest, the entire book. Very much indeed an eye-opening glimpse into a very well know event. Well...what I THOUGHT was well known. This look into the 'other side' of the story proves that every event has two sides, both of which are 'right'.
Claton's voice and pacing is superb, especially for this genre. The way in which Mr. Butcher delivers the story quickly makes it feel as if he was really there - lending an air of validity to it all! I would gladly listen to more books by this narrator.
The Cowboys of Tombstone
- A. Kessel
The study to date on two of the often-misunderstood participants at the gunfight near the OK Corral. It is true that history is written by the winners but now Paul L. Johnson has stepped in to represent two of the deceased. Tom and Frank McLaury were not able to tell their story before their death.
- med c