ask the marshall true west

What happened to the guns used in the Gunfight behind the O.K. Corral?

Brian Madison
Venice, Florida

Simple answer: nobody knows.

Arizona Territory researcher Jeff Morey says Frank McLaury’s and Billy Clanton’s six-shooters were identified by their serial numbers at the Spicer Hearing, but nobody knows what happened to the firearms afterward. Weapons belonging to the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday were not identified at the time.

Earp authority Casey Tefertiller adds, “[The gunfight] did not seem like a big deal at the time. Nobody thought folks would still be talking about it a century later.”

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, e-mail him at

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