Wyatt Earp’s Cow-boy Campaign

The Bloody Restoration of Law and Order Along the Mexican Border, 1882

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About the Book

What can be learned from another retelling of the Tombstone saga? Recent revelations challenge the traditional view of Wyatt Earp’s campaign against the Cow-boy confederation as a bloody personal feud à la western fiction. It was a seek and destroy mission sanctioned by the United States attorney general, the U.S. marshal and the Arizona Territory governor, following a year of corrupt law enforcement in league with the Cow-boys’ livestock raids, stagecoach holdups and other atrocities.
Presented in three sections, this book establishes the major players involved in the convergence on Tombstone, provides an account of Earp’s activities during the 18 months prior to the final action and discusses the provenance and credibility of the “Otero Letter.” Discovered in 2001, the letter—believed to be written by New Mexico Territory Governor Miguel Otero—offers evidence that Earp’s party was given government aid.
The author examines the details of the letter, including the shotgun dual between Earp and Curly Bill, the split between Earp and Doc Holliday, sanctuary for the Earp posse in Colorado and Holliday’s extradition fight, Earp’s covert assault resulting in Johnny Ringo’s death, and the controversial courtship and marriage of Earp and Josephine Marcus.

About the Author(s)

Chuck Hornung was a member of the founding board of directors and vice president of the Wild West History Association. He is a member of the Historical Society of New Mexico, the English Westerners Society, the Western Writers of America, past president of the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association and president of the New Mexico Mounted Police Historical Society.

Bibliographic Details

Chuck Hornung
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 316
Bibliographic Info: 29 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6344-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2465-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part One: Frontier Paladins and Some Jokers

1. Wyatt Earp: The Man, the Legend, the Myth 6

2. John Henry Holliday, DDS 14

3. A Man Called Bat 19

4. Some ­First-Class Paladins 22

5. Some ­First-Class Jokers 26

Part Two: “The Lion of Tombstone”

6. The Earp Brothers, Tombstone Businessmen 32

7. The Earp Brothers, Law Enforcement Officers 38

8. The Cochise County ­Cow-boy War 41

9. One for Morg … Another for Morg … and Another … 113

10. Good-Bye, Tombstone 138

Part Three: The “Otero Letter”

11. New Mexico’s Campaign Against the ­Cow-Boys 156

12. Ockham’s Razor: The “Otero Letter,” Fact or Fiction? 163

13. The Otero Family of New Mexico 178

14. Ten Days in New Albuquerque 181

15. Destination: Colorado 218

16. The Legal Fight to Save Doc Holliday 226

17. Wyatt Earp vs. Johnny Ringo 233

18. Wyatt Earp and Josephine Marcus 251

19. Final Observations 269

Epilogue by Jeffrey Wheat 275

Chapter Notes 277

Bibliography 287

Index 299


Book Reviews & Awards

“All Earp publication collectors will want this book…. It is a book that is hard to lay down; one that researchers will return to once and again”—Wild West History Association Journal.