atm-logoA constable testified that a man he killed on a railroad platform in Willcox, Arizona, in 1881 had been “skylarking.” What is that?

Jack Allen
Phoenix, Arizona

“Skylarking” refers to someone engaged in horseplay. It could also describe a person who plays practical jokes or commits shenanigans. In this case, the constable shot the man for messing around. Willcox was indeed a tough Arizona town.


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.  If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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