WARFARE OF THE EARPS AND CLANTONS
Undoubtedly the most notorious episode of Tombstone's early history occurred October 26, 1881. The Clanton gang of cowboys had refused to recognize the local supremacy of the Earps, and there was bad blood between the factions.
On the night of October 25, Ike Clanton, a prominent, though decidedly not plucky, member of the cowboy faction, had been arrested by City Marshal Virgil Earp and had been fined $50 for disorderly conduct, which appears to have been merely in objecting to the marshal's abuse. On the morning of the 26th of the Clanton gang in Tombstone were Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury, Billy Clanton and Ike Clanton. They had appreciated the intimation that Tombstone was unhealthy for them and had saddled their horses to leave for their home ranch in the Babocomari Mountains. The horses were in the O. K. Corral, which fronted on two streets. Fearing trouble, they planned to leave by the rear gate, on Fremont Street. Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury were not armed, for both the evening before had had their pistols taken from them by the city authorities. The other two had revolvers.
The men were leading their horses out of the gate when they were confronted, almost from ambush, by four of the Earps, Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan and Jim, and by Doc Holliday. Virgil Earp, armed with a sawed-off express shotgun, and accompanying his demand with profanity, yelled, "Throw up your hands." But he didn't wait for the action demanded and shot almost as soon as he spoke. Tom McLaury showed his empty hands and cried, "Gentlemen, I am unarmed." Holliday answered with the discharge of his shotgun. Billy Clanton fell at the first fire, mortally wounded, but rolled over and fired two shots from his pistol between his bent knees. One shot "creased" Morgan Earp across the shoulder and he fell to the ground. Ike Clanton ran into a vacant lot and escaped. Frank McLaury remained, fighting bravely, and, holding his horse by the bridle, fired four sho...