The bizarre event began at the Wigwam Saloon in Winslow, Arizona, on April 8, 1905. Two cowboys, John Shaw and Billy Smythe, ordered drinks, but decided to hold up a nearby dice game first—then they ran for it before downing the booze.
A posse caught up with them near Flagstaff and in the ensuing shoot-out, Shaw was killed and Smythe captured.
The next evening, some of their pals were drinking in a Winslow saloon and lamenting the fact that Shaw never had the chance to finish his last drink. Loaded to the gills, they boarded a train and headed to Shaw’s last resting place. They dug him up; while one friend poured a glass of whiskey down his throat, another took a photo with a Kodak box camera. The dearly departed sported a death grin, which made it look like he was enjoying the occasion.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org