ATM_Marshall-Trimble-Logo-with-backgroundSteve Barringer
Phoenix, Arizona

Back then, nearly everyone had rotten teeth. Many cowboys had teeth stained by tobacco and coffee. That’s why people typically did not smile for photographs. Wyatt Earp could have had missing teeth and tooth decay, but I have not seen that noted in any descriptions of him. Mary Doria Russell’s book is historical fiction. She does not know if Earp was missing any teeth, but it’s plausible.

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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