Twenty years ago the scholarship on Wyatt Earp was a controversial mess. We had the glorifiers on one side and the debunkers and the bashers on the other, or, as Casey Tefertiller puts it, a “mass of contradictions amid a stew of controversy.” Thanks to some well-balanced and comprehensive research on Wyatt Earp by Tefertiller and many other hard-working researchers, scholars and history buffs, we now have a much clearer view. Culled from two new books—A Wyatt Earp Anthology: Long May His Story be Told edited by Roy B. Young, Gary L. Roberts and Tefertiller and Ride the Devil’s Herd: Wyatt Earp’s Epic Battle Against the West’s Biggest Outlaw Gang by John Boessenecker—that contain everything you ever wanted to know about the true life of the “Lion of Tombstone,” we can now see a balanced view of the actual man. Somewhere between the magnificent hero and the lowly villain lies the real man. Read on. You are about to meet him.
—Bob Boze Bell