Virgil’s Arm Flapping in the Breeze

Virgil's Arm
Illustration by Bob Boze Bell

On the night of December 28, 1881, City Marshal Virgil Earp was ambushed and hit with buckshot crossing the intersection of Fifth and Allen Streets in Tombstone. His left arm was shattered and doctors had to saw off his elbow, and up his arm, sans elbow, so that his arm hung limp without a bone connection. The tough old lawman got around fine. In fact, in 1887 Virgil joined a Tombstone posse looking for train robbers. He freaked out a Mexican tracker when an early morning gallop showcased Virgil’s lack of an elbow joint, his arm flailing in all directions. Everyone had a good laugh about that one.

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