Showdown Gunfighters Doc Holliday John Ringo Tombstone True West Magazine

Who stopped the near-showdown between gunfighters “Doc” Holliday and John Ringo?

Paul Gortarez
Phoenix, Arizona

Jim Flynn stopped the near-showdown.

After the O.K. Corral street fight on October 26, 1881, Virgil Earp was suspended temporarily. Flynn, Virgil’s deputy, was named acting chief of police for Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Virgil reclaimed the position after he was cleared by the Spicer Hearings.

When assassins shot and crippled Virgil on December 28, a special city election was held on January 3, 1882; Flynn was defeated by Dave Neagle, but kept his deputy badge.

John Ringo and “Doc” Holliday got into an argument on January 17. “Much blood in the air this afternoon. Ringo and Doc Holliday came nearly having it with pistols….Crowded street and looked like another battle. Police vigilant for once and both disarmed,” wrote George Parsons, chronicler on Tombstone’s
early days.

Flynn was the vigilant policeman. He had arrested Ringo, Holliday and Virgil’s brother Wyatt for carrying concealed weapons. Wyatt was released because he was a federal officer (deputy U.S. marshal), while Ringo and Holliday were each fined $32.

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, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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