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A Tourist's View of Tombstone Arizona
Tombstone Through a Tourist's Eyes
If you are looking for a page full of facts figures and history then this is not the page for you. There are plenty of other sites on the web already that can give you that.
I am a typical tourist and I have been to America many times. This hub will give you a view of my visit to Tombstone. I am not an American so this is as a visitor that comes from another country.
Our holidays in the States have always been of the fly drive variety. Typically we fly into somewhere pick up our hire car and then take off on our holiday.
The only motels that we have booked is for our first night in America and our last. This leaves us free to go where we like and to stay as long as we like.
Tourists in Tombstone
Like most of my generation I learned the names of places in America watching cowboy films at the cinema. I was more familiar with some of the American place names of those of my own country.
Every week there was at least one cowboy film at our local cinema. So we grew up hearing the names of towns such as Dodge, Silver City, and Tucson to name but a few.
Many of the cowboys that we saw on television series and in the films were actually based on real people. Some of the story lines were based on real events like those in Tombstone.
Gunfight at the OK Corral
Shootout at the OK Corral
When we saw Tombstone on the map it conjured up all sorts of images for us. Just about every kid of my generation in England knew of the fight at the OK Corral.
We all has heard of the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday. So of course we jumped at the chance to go and see the actual OK Corral and Tombstone for ourselves.
Tombstone is in our top ten places to visit in the States. It was so good that we even went back a few years later for another visit. I am glad to say that we enjoyed that second visit every bit as much the first.
Many people say that some of the shows are too unrealistic and touristy. But take it from a tourist ignore those comments just judge for yourself.
I think that you will have a real good time watching this excellent show. The show actually portrays realistically the actual events. It is fascinating seeing the real distances involved in the shoot-out at the OK Corral.
I thought that the action would be more spread out than it was. So I was very surprised how close together they all were when the shooting was going on.
As a Brit the only gunfights that I had seen were on the TV and in cowboy films. Most of those had the gunfighters facing each other off at distances of fifteen to twenty feet.
In the re-enactment of the gunfight this was not so. Instead they were standing facing each other at close quarters. The fact they were on a few feet away from each other was quite an eye opener for me.
The actors of course used blanks in the gunfight . But before they started the show they showed us the effect that a blank had on a can of soda pop.
Seeing how the blank made a mess of the can when they fired from close range was another surprise. I had no idea that a blank could do any damage. I thought a blank only made a loud bang sound, but this tore a hole in the soda pop can
Posing or Posers?
The actors and actresses put on a fine show. We saw how the fight went down, in an entertaining way. The portrayal was enough to see that the real thing would not have been at all entertaining.
What happened in Tombstone on the 26th of October 1881 is well known. Through films and TV we are familiar with the events of that day. The day when the Earps and Doc Holliday killed Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury
After the show you could pose for a photo with the actors and actresses that had taken part in the show. Of course we are tourists so we couldn’t pass up that opportunity could we?
Posing or Posers?
Big Nose Kate
Mary Katherine Horony also known as Big Nose Kate was the was the girlfriend of Doc Holiday. The rumour is that she ran a bordello in Tombstone. But there is no evidence to support this although there is a Saloon in Tombstone named ‘Big Nose Kate’
We went into Big Nose Kate’s Saloon where we had a bite to eat and something to drink. It is very much in the style of a saloon in a typical cowboy film. While we were there a woman country and western singer played the guitar and sang.
The singer had a very nice voice and it was a very pleasant atmosphere to sit in and it felt like a Saloon bar.
The Saloon itself and the staff all worked hard to keep the feel of a wild west Saloon. But of course the tourists like us dotted about the place made it hard to keep this illusion up.
Big Nose Kate's Saloon
The Bird Cage
One of the most interesting places in Tombstone is the Bird Cage. It has a reputation of being one of the meanest and wildest places in Tombstone. From the number of bullet holes that you can still see today in the walls, its reputation is well justified.
The Bird Cage
Another Shootout Show
After a spot of lunch we went to see another western type shoot-out show. I know they are a bit corny and not very realistic. But hey when you're a tourist on holiday they can be fun to watch. This show was good fun and very entertaining.
The actors interacted extremely well with the audience. They made the show a very enjoyable experience.
One thing to keep in mind is that most of these shows take place outdoors. We sat in bleachers, they were not uncomfortable but there was no cover. In the hotter months it is a good idea to make sure you have with you sunscreen, a hat and a bottle of water.
Can't resist posing
Needs Killing Law
One of the shops we went into sold among many other things guns. My husband spoke to the shopkeeper for ages about Tombstone. He told us all about the guns in his shop and the law on buying guns.
The shopkeeper told my husband about a very strange law in Arizona. A law only recently taken off the books called the ‘Needs Killing’ law.
If twelve people agree that someone needed killing, then this law applied. Then you could go out and kill that person with the backing of the law.
Now I don’t know how true this is or if the shopkeeper was having a bit of fun with the gullible tourists. But he was convincing at the time and in Arizona it is still legal to walk about wearing loaded guns in plain sight.
I am glad that the Needs Killing Law has been taken off the books. With so many guns about you wouldn't have to upset many people to put yourself in the line of fire would you?
The Gun Shop
We saw and enjoyed many things in Tombstone but the final place we went to, really was, for some their final place. Of course you’ve guessed no trip to Tombstone is complete without a visit to the famous Boot Hill graveyard.
I was a little confused on which Boot Hill is the famous one. I'm confused because there is a Boot Hill in Dodge too. So I guess that Boot Hill is most likely a name given to burial places in the Old Wild West.
Is Tombstone worth a visit?
Is Tombstone worth visiting?
Is it good value for money?
Is there lots to see and do?
To all these questions I would have to say a resounding yes. If we are ever in that part of America again we would certainly go visit Tombstone again.
My little ‘A tourist’s guide to Tombstone’ only just scratched the surface of what we saw and did in Tombstone.
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