atm-logoWyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson remained fairly loyal to each other over the years.  Considering their self-serving natures, how did that happen?

Jim Gaines
Orangevale, California

Those men lived by a code that demanded a mutual respect and loyalty among the like-minded, which is why famous gunmen seldom faced off against each other. As the axiom went, “One man was scared, and the other was glad of it.”

Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp hung out in a society of unsavory characters who included prostitutes, gamblers, gunmen, drifters and cowboys. Their mere presence could prevent trouble among the lawless element. The three were not plaster saints, though; once the danger had passed, the “good” citizens wanted them gone too.


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.  If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

Related Articles

  • A question came up the other day, how does Bat Masterson match up with Wyatt…

  • bat-masterson-blog

    Bat Masterson was the real deal. He came west in the 1870s and was at…

  • Wyatt Earp

    So what caused Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday to split up—as friends and Vendetta Ride…