August 15, 1873. Ellsworth, Kansas. Gunmen Ben and Billy Thompson get into a confrontation that leads to the death of Sheriff Chauncey B. Whitney. More than 55 years later, a book claims that Wyatt Earp stepped in that day, arresting Ben Thompson for disturbing the peace.
But there’s no evidence that Earp was in Ellsworth at that time. Newspapers of the time don’t mention Earp. Hotel records don’t include his name on guest registers. Ben Thompson’s own account of the event doesn’t include Earp.
The story likely came from Wyatt Earp’s aging brain, or the pen of his biographer Stuart Lake.