Tombstone grew quickly after prospectors found silver. This 1880 image, taken by Carleton Watkins, depicts a silver mine in Tombstone. Maintained today at Yale University, the caption says: “Old South Shaft Ore Quarry, Face of Tough-nut Mine, part of Town of Tombstone, Arizona. Dragoon Mountains, with Cochise Stronghold in background." Mammoth plate, by photographer Carleton E. Watkins. Online at Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript LIbrary, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Click on the image for a better view.


Too much liquor makes a man do stupid things. On the night of October 25, 1881, Ike Clanton had too much liquor.

Drinking in the Alhambra Saloon, Ike started making more threats against the Earps and Doc Holliday. Hearing the threats, Doc entered the saloon and tried to provoke Ike to draw his gun. Ike wasn't armed. Tombstone had a law against being armed in town.

Not letting things get in his way - even the law - Holliday tried to convince one of the saloon patrons to get Ike a gun. Doc's apparent plan was to shoot Ike. Folks still remember Doc's famous retort when Ike threatened to shoot him:

You're a daisy if you do.

Morgan Earp, recently deputized by his brother Virgil - the city Marshall - broke up the fight, but it continued in the street. When Ike saw Wyatt Earp, he told him he'd have him "man for man" the next day.

After he made the threats, Ike gambled most of the night. (A very popular game at the time was called "faro.") His partners for at least some of the all-night card game were Sheriff Behan and Virgil Earp!

Because he played cards all night, Ike never had a chance to "sleep it off." By the next morning, the 26th of October, Ike's mouth was still working hard. Running through town with a rifle he had managed to get, Ike threatened to shoot the first Earp he saw.

Virgil, acting in his official capacity, hauled Ike Clanton to court to prosecute him for violating the town ordinance. Before they arrived at court, Virgil knocked Ike down with his pistol. In court, Clanton was fined $25 and had to give up his rifle. He was left unarmed.

Upset, Ike threatened to get even with the Earps. Wyatt gave Ike his now-famous response:

If you are so anxious to make a fight, I will go anywhere on earth to make a fight with you.

On his way out of court, Wyatt Earp met Tom McLaury. Still upset from his confrontation with Clanton, Wyatt had words with the Cowboy. Saying he was unarmed, Tom did not draw a gun. Responding with force, Wyatt pistol-whipped Tom and left him bleeding in the street.

That was just the beginning.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jun 06, 2019

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"THINGS GET WORSE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 2001. Feb 22, 2020.
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