Since I love horses and will watch most westerns because of the horses, the films Tombstone and Wyatt Earp were a great escape for me. But it wasn’t the horses that hooked me, it was Doc Holliday. He was an absolute obsession. Both Val Kilmer and Dennis Quaid did a wonderful job of portraying Doc’s character but I couldn’t help thinking that something was missing from the character. I wanted to find out what that was.
Scotland isn’t the best place to research Doc Holliday. My local library had one Old West book and that was it. I couldn’t even find a photo of Doc at first which drove me nuts. I even went to The National Library of Scotland but all they had was a Wyatt Earp picture book. Not the most helpful thing in the world but it was a start. Happily, there were plenty of books about gunfighters and the Old West so I read everything I could find about that.
Old West websites were my next resource. It was great to be able to discuss Doc with historians and other enthusiasts. One website was run by Brad Sandidge who after loads of e-mails, a long distance romance that lasted a couple of years and several trips to America, became my husband.
Once I was living in America with Brad we decided to take a trip to Arizona. We travelled to Tucson then down to Tombstone to see all of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday’s old haunts. The best thing about Tombstone is sitting on a bench in the morning and watching people going about. There’s a quote from John Clum, editor of the Tombstone Epitaph in the 1880s which pretty much is about the same thing. I think it’s wonderful to be able to connect to history like that. I went on a trail ride through the Dragoon Mountains. It really helped me with landscape details for the Tombstone portion of my book.
If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my book: A Gentleman In Hell.