Who Started It?

Ike Clanton

Armchair authorities and Hot Stove Historians continue to argue as to who or what started the “Street Fight” near the OK Corral. I like the late Roger Jay’s succinct description of what caused the preceded the fight: “It seems none of the combatants were expecting it to turn into a full-blown gunfight except maybe Ike Clanton, the guy who did all the boasting about how he was going to kill the Earp’s and Holliday. He ran away when the fight commenced. Billy and Frank were armed, angry and on edge after learning of the pistol-whipping of Ike and Tom earlier that day. The Earp’s and Holliday became edgy when they saw two of the cowboys were armed.  Virgil and Wyatt had put away their pistols after Behan told them he’d disarmed the Cowboys. Doc leveled his shotgun as they approached causing Frank and Billy to draw their pistols. After that things started to unwind.”

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