Synopses & Reviews
On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral shaped how future generations came to view the old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons became the stuff of legends, symbolic of a West populated by good guys in white hats and villains in black ones, and where law enforcement largely consisted of sheriffs and outlaws facing off at high noon on the main streets of dusty, desolate towns where every man packed at least one six-shooter on his hips. It’s colorful stuff—but the truth is even better.
As The Last Gunfight makes clear, the real story of the O.K. Corral and the West is far different from what we’ve been led to believe by countless TV Westerns and Hollywood films. Drawing on new material from private collections—including diaries, letters, and Wyatt Earp’s own hand-drawn sketch of the shootout’s conclusion—as well as documentary research in Tombstone and Arizona archives and dozens of interviews, award-winning author Jeff Guinn gives us a startlingly different and far more fascinating picture of what the West was like, who the Earps and Doc Holliday and their cowboy adversaries really were, what actually happened on that cold day in Tombstone, and why.
The gunfight did not actually occur in the O.K. Corral, and it was in no way a defining battle between frontier forces of good and evil. Combining newfound facts with cinematic storytelling, Guinn depicts an accidental if inevitable clash between competing social, political, and economic forces representing the old West of ruggedly independent ranchers and cowboys and the emerging new West of wealthy mining interests and well-heeled town folk.
With its masterful storytelling, fresh research, and memorable characters—the Earps, cattle rustlers, frontier prostitutes, renegade Apaches, and Tombstone itself, a beguiling hybrid of elegance and decadence—The Last Gunfight is both hugely entertaining and illuminating, and the definitive work on the Wild West’s greatest shootout.
“Scrupulously details how this isolated act of violence attained such heroic status. . . . A deeply researched and colorfully written history of one of those dramatic oddments of Americana that never fails to captivate us.”
--Dale L. Walker, Dallas Morning News
“A gripping revisionist account of the famed 1881 showdown. . . . Exhaustively researched, stylishly written. . . . As grimly compelling as a Greek tragedy.”
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“The most thorough account of the gunfight and its circumstances ever published.”
--The Wall Street Journal
“Jeff Guinn took readers down the back roads of Louisiana in his book Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde. He’s back in The Last Gunfight, displaying the impeccable research that is his trademark. . . . Guinn’s story is what really happened. . . . A terrific read.”
Craig Wilson, USA TODAY
“Guinn . . . delivers another double-barrel blast of history and true crime. . . . Superbly detailed . . . . A thorough, thrilling account of the crime and its influence on the history of the West. . . . Absolutely buy this dazzler.”
--Library Journal Express (Starred Review)
“An absorbing, meticulous account of the famous O.K. Corral gunfight as it really happened. . . . Guinn places his complex and nuanced story firmly within the context of the evolving Western frontier. . . . A great story.”
“Jeff Guinn is a straight shooter when it comes to facts. He investigated the story from every imaginable angle, separating truth from tall tale, and now he delivers a factual account of what happened—and why—that’s every bit as riveting as the fantasy.”
--David Martindale, Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX)
Advance Praise for
The Last Gunfight
“Jeff Guinn gives us not only the clashing egos and the mythic gunslingers, but also the larger social forces that converged on a roistering mining town in southeastern Arizona that fateful day in 1881. The result is a kind of anti-Western: The cliches are stripped away, the black hats removed, the ‘rugged individualists’ unmasked, leaving us with real human beings who are swayed and shaped by the forces of history, and trapped in time.”
--Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder
“Jeff Guinn has come up with a new angle and approach to the events of that bloody day in Tombstone. Without that gunfight, Wyatt Earp would have never become a household name a hundred years later. Guinn delves into the myth and separates it from the facts. A terrific read about the West’s most famous lawman.”
“The Last Gunfight
is a portrayal of criminality, greed, ambition, rivalry, fidelity, and law enforcement gone awry. Add in the aspects of vengeance, lust, and enduring love, and you have a riveting book every bit as good as, if not better than, Go Down Together
, Jeff Guinn's much-lauded book about Bonnie and Clyde.”
--Lynn R. Bailey, Tombstone historian and author of Too Tough to Die
Now in paperback, bestselling author Jeff Guinn’s definitive, myth-busting account of the most famous shoot-out in American history—“A terrific read” (Clive Cussler).
The so-called Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (which was actually an arrest gone wrong, and didn’t happen in the corral at all) is the tipping point for widespread misunderstandings about the American West. Overblown accounts exaggerated or completely misrepresented what happened there on October 26, 1881, forming the basis for skewed dime novels, films, and the ubiquitous television westerns of the 1950s and early 1960s, in which good guys shot it out on a regular basis with evil outlaws.
With its masterful storytelling, fresh research, and memorable characters, The Last Gunfight reveals the evolving allure of the American West and how the famous shootout itself represented an accidental, if inevitable, clash between competing social, political, and economic forces.
A andlt;iandgt;New York Times andlt;/iandgt;bestseller, Jeff Guinnand#8217;s definitive, myth-busting account of the most famous gunfight in American history reveals who Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons and McLaurys really were and what the shootout was all about.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral would shape how future generations came to view the Old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons became the stuff of legends, symbolic of a frontier populated by good guys in white hats and villains in black ones. Itand#8217;s a colorful storyand#8212;but the truth is even better.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Drawing on new material from private collectionsand#8212;including diaries, letters, and Wyatt Earpand#8217;s own hand-drawn sketch of the shootoutand#8217;s conclusionand#8212;as well as archival research, Jeff Guinn gives us a startlingly different and far more fascinating picture of what actually happened that day in Tombstone and why.
About the Author
Jeff Guinnandlt;Bandgt; andlt;/Bandgt;is the bestselling author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including andlt;i andgt;Mansonandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;The Last Gunfightandlt;/iandgt;, andandlt;iandgt; Go Down Togetherandlt;/iandgt;, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award in 2010. Formerly an award-winning investigative journalist and now a frequent guest on national radio andandnbsp;TV programs,andnbsp;he lives in Fort Worth, Texas.