I was really inspired by the painting of Wild Bill by N.C. Wyeth. It was on the cover of a compilation of western stories I owned back when I was in college. The guy at the back of the painting caught my eye. He looked the way I imagined Doc Holliday should have looked back in the day. Perhaps it’s one of the side-effects of loving the film Tombstone. Now I’m not sure Doc would have looked quite like that, but one thing’s for sure, that painting inspired me to write the following gambling scene in A Wicked Little Town. Continue reading “An Inspiring Painting”
Whenever the subject of personal hygiene on the frontier is raised, everyone rushes to discuss how stinky people were back in the ‘old days’. Granted, I’m sure there were smelly people, but I think it’s unfair to lump all people from that era in one large reeking group. There were different levels of hygiene depending on your situation. How often do you take a bath? I mean literally take a bath? Think about it for a second… Continue reading “Keeping Clean in the Dirty Old West”
One of my favorite scenes in Tombstone has to be the Latin duel. It’s that moment when Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo meet for the first time and realize that they are perfectly matched combatants. The insults fly, but in Latin not English. Ringo pulls some fast moves with his gun that are mirrored perfectly by a very drunk Doc Holliday juggling his tin cup. I know you have questions about the scene. I did the first 100 odd times I watched the movie. Would you like some answers to those questions? Then read on.
I sometimes wonder what Doc Holliday looked like. In fact, if I’m honest, I think about it quite a lot. Everyone knows what Val Kilmer looked like in the film Tombstone, but what did the real John Henry Holliday look like? You’re probably thinking that he was tall, skinny, well-dressed and had a mustache and you would be right, but did he wear glasses? “What?” you say, “Now hold on just a second.” Well yes, there’s a chance, albeit a slim one, that Doc may have worn specs. Continue reading “The Spectacular Doc Holliday”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In 1882, Nellie Cashman organised the St. Patrick’s Day ball in Tombstone. Originally from Co. Cork in Ireland she’s one of Tombstone’s most well known residents. She ran The Russ House restaurant and was well known for her charity and generosity. She ran boarding houses all over Arizona, volunteered as a nurse and also prospected for gold. All of this while looking after her sister’s five orphaned children. Continue reading “St. Patrick’s Day – Tombstone, 1882”
Dodge City has some fantastic stories, especially regarding pranks that some of the gamblers would play on unsuspecting citizens. The Dodge City Gang as they were referred to included well-known names such as Luke Short, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. One of my favorite stories is about a prank that was played on a lawyer that had recently arrived in Dodge City. After getting drunk and passing out, he awoke to find himself laid out in a casket with a funeral service underway. I couldn’t resist this story and chose to include it as part of my Doc Holliday book, A Gentleman in Hell. Continue reading “Dodge City Tales – The Dead Lawyer”
Poker is the most famous type of gambling that’s depicted in western movies. Who can forget Doc Holliday’s opening scene in Tombstone where he stabs Ed Bailey before raking in a fortune of coins and jewellery. It’s not just the movies though, Wild Bill Hickock’s unfortunate departure from the world while clutching aces and eights only helped to fuel the stereotype of the western gambler, but what was it actually like to be a gambler like Doc Holliday? Continue reading “500 Must Be a Peach of a Hand – A guide to gambling in the Old West”