Why wasn’t James Earp a major player in the Tombstone troubles in the early 1880s?
James was severely wounded in his left arm during a skirmish in Fredricktown, Missouri. Since he did not have much function in that arm, he did not join in the gunfight. Plus, he was older (40) than his brothers and Doc Holliday, and his age may have played a factor.
Earp expert Casey Tefertiller shares how James did help out his brothers: “James Earp dealt with some issues, such as getting the warrant when Wyatt Earp discovered the stolen horse in Charleston with Billy Clanton. The Earps also needed someone who was not fighting to make sure their affairs were taken care of in the event something went wrong.”