The Reel Walk Downs The walk that never ends.


The walk down to the lot behind the O.K. Corral has become a ritual in Tombstone productions—re-created, imitated and parodied in perhaps two dozen movies and TV shows, the first step of which, like the crossing of the Rubicon, changes history and becomes mythology. Here are eight of our favorites.


F_Reel_WEB_Tombstone-Val-Kilmer-Sam-Elliott-Bill-Paxton-Kurt-Russell_scaled

Tombstone (1993)

For historical accuracy in positioning (Doc Holliday on the right flank, with Wyatt Earp on the left) and authenticity in clothes, this shot from Tombstone is spot-on. The building on fire behind them makes the boys look like they just walked out of hell—and hell’s comin’ with them. Kurt Russell has a long-barreled Colt in his right pocket. Curiously, he’s the only Wyatt Earp in movies ever to have carried one to the gunfight, even though testimony at the coroner’s inquest indicated that Wyatt did indeed carry a 10 inch gun.
– Courtesy Buena Vista Pictures –

The Walkdown

The Wild Bunch (1969)

They aren’t headed toward the O.K. Corral; they’re headed for a shoot-out a lot bigger and uglier, but Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden and Ernest Borgnine were clearly set up in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch to look like the Earp brothers and John Henry “Doc” Holliday on their walk down.
– Courtesy Warner Bros. –

The Walkdown

Gunfight at the
O.K. Corral
(1957)

Burt Lancaster’s Wyatt and John Hudson’s Deputy Virgil—Wyatt was the marshal in this telling of the tale—carry two shotguns, but then, they’re headed for a bunch of Cochise County Cowboys (including John Ireland’s Johnny Ringo) that is practically platoon strength.  The lot in which they clash is the same one at Old Tucson where John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan rout the bad guys in 1959’s Rio Bravo.
– Courtesy Paramount Pictures –

The Walkdown

Wyatt Earp (1994)

For sheer grimness, this walk to the O.K. Corral in Wyatt Earp is unsurpassed. To look at those faces, you’d think these guys were climbing Mount Everest instead of walking a block-and-a-half to that open lot next to C.S. Fly’s photography studio.
– Courtesy Warner Bros. –

The Walkdown

“Doc” (1971)

Harris Yulin as Wyatt (far left) and Stacy Keach (left) as Doc carry double-barreled shotguns in preparation for mowing down the Clantons and McLaurys in this Vietnam-era parable of the Earps-Cowboy war. (Screenwriter Pete Hamill suggested an unsubstantiated homosexual relationship between Wyatt and Doc, the only writer to do so until Andrew C. Isenberg in his 2013  book, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life.)
– Courtesy United Artists –

The Walkdown

Hour of the Gun (1967)

John Sturges directed this darker, more accurate version than his previous Earp film, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Jason Robards is old enough to be Doc’s father, but he wields a mean shotgun as the deadly dentist. James Garner, this film’s Wyatt, also played an older and considerably lighter Wyatt in 1988’s Sunset.
– Courtesy United Artists –

The Walkdown

Anchorman:
The Legend of Ron Burgundy
(2004)

Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, David Koechner and Steve Carell head for the lot to face foes more ruthless than any ever encountered by Wyatt and Doc: reporters from competing networks, including public television and Spanish-language news.
– Courtesy Paramount Pictures –

The Walkdown

Four Brothers (2005)

In the most urban setting of all O.K. Corral walk downs, Mark Wahlberg and his brothers—that’s right, brothers—head to a confrontation Earp-style to avenge the death of their mother. They tuck their guns in their back waistbands.
– Courtesy Paramount Pictures –

Related Posts

  • wyatt-earp-film-wannabe-look-a-like-actors_true-west

    More than 40 actors have portrayed Wyatt Earp, but few have even slightly resembled him.…

  • It was the most famous stroll in American history. Neither fast nor slow. Purposeful, with…

  • Harrison Ford apparently likes his boots and saddles, because, following Cowboys & Aliens, Ford intends…