40 Facts About the Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
40 Facts About the Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

40 Facts About the Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

Larry Holzwarth - June 14, 2019

40 Facts About the Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
William Hart was an early silent film star and a friend of Wyatt Earp’s late in the latter’s life. Wikimedia

39. He was hired to work for the Los Angeles Police Department in 1910.

At the age of 62, Wyatt Earp was hired to perform tasks for the LAPD which were “outside the law”. These included, for example, crossing the Mexican border and capturing individuals who were wanted in California, returning them to Los Angeles. Wyatt continued in the role until his health began to wane. In Los Angeles, Wyatt met several stars of the budding film industry and provided advice to Douglas Fairbanks and William Hart on how to portray characters in the developing genre of the western. In 1916 he met with director and actor Charles Chaplin at the home of a mutual friend, and the man who created the Little Tramp later reported being impressed with the man who created a myth.

40 Facts About the Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
Wyatt Earp beside a 1926 Packard limousine which belonged to his friend, film star William Hart. True West Magazine

40. He tried to control his own myth

In his lifetime, Wyatt Earp found tales of his exploits and miscreant deeds reported in newspapers and the pulp magazines and novels of the day. In his later years, he tried to reshape the record with exaggerated or simply made-up stories of his own. He was not a great marksman, he broke the law as he saw fit, and his sense of honor did not preclude him from fixing prizefights or absconding with tax dollars. The famed long-barreled Buntline associated with him only appeared at his side in movie and television portrayals of his myth. He remains famous and infamous, well-known and little understood, lawman and lawbreaker, a symbol of the American West of the late 19th century.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Wyatt Earp”. Complete Program Transcript, The American Experience. WGBH, November 2010

“Who Was Wyatt Earp?” Allen Barra, American Heritage Magazine. December 1998

“Wyatt Earp 1848-1880: The Untold Story”. Ed Bartholomew. 1963

“The Truth About Wyatt Earp”. Richard E. Irwin. 1993

“Wyatt Earp – The Peoria Bummer” Tom Correa, American Cowboy Chronicles. August 11, 2016

“Wyatt Earp Dropped from Wichita Police Force”. This Day in History (April 19) History.com online

“The Real Wyatt Earp: A Documentary Biography”. Steve Gatto. 2000

“Wyatt Earp’s Tribute to Bat Masterson, the Hero of Dobe Wells”. Wyatt S. Earp, San Francisco Examiner. August 16, 1896

“Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier: Wyatt Earp”. W. B. “Bat” Masterson

“Why the West Was Wild”. Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell. 2003

“Wyatt Earp: A Biography of the Legend. Volume 1: The Cowtown Years”. Lee A. Silva. 2002

“Wyatt Earp: A Biography of the Legend. Volume 2: Tombstone Before the Earps”. Lee A. Silva. 2010

“The Earp Brothers of Tombstone”. Frank Waters. 1960

“Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Posse”. Peter Brand, HistoryNet.Com. March, 2007

“Tombstone: Wyatt Earp, The OK Corral, and The Vendetta Ride”. Sean McLachlan. 2013

“Mattie: Wyatt Earp’s Secret Second Wife”. Edward C. Meyers, Ted Meyers. 2010

“Murder in Tombstone. The Forgotten Trial of Wyatt Earp”. Steven Lubet. 2004

“And Die in the West: The Story of the O. K. Corral Gunfight”. Paula Mitchell Marks. 1989

“Wyatt Earp and the Buntline Special Myth”. William B. Shillingberg. 1976

“The Earp-Holliday Trial”. Douglas Linder. Famous Trials. 2015

“The Earps: Josie and Wyatt’s 47 year odyssey”. Harriet Rochlin & Western Jewish History. Online

“10 Earp Vendetta Ride Myths”. Peter Brand. True West Magazine. 2018

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