Joyce A. Aros
BJ/ Costner's version...
Sun Dec 11, 2022 16:54


Actually, believe it or not, I like this version best as Costner does a good western and he tries to examine and develop the characters without going too far. His Holliday was much better and more believable. Even the Earps were more acceptable.

I don't want to be critical as I realize much had to be sacrificed for drama and excitement and the over-all effort was a good one...in my opinion.

However, you asked what I noticed about the gunfight itself. I have to rely on witness testimony and not personal opinion if I can, though my observations may seem nit-picky to many people. I only watched it once so might have missed something though I saw it several times some time ago.

The first thing I noticed was the arrival of Holliday. Actually, he was the first guy on the scene along with Virgil; both standing in the intersection of Fourth and Allen. It was here that Behan connected up with those two before Wyatt, who was down at the gun shop, and Morgan (don't really know where he was right then, perhaps on his way) joined them. Perhaps when Virgil and Behan went into the saloon, these two connected up there. Shortly after the saloon confab, all four of the 'posse' headed toward Fremont.

By this time, Behan had already worked his way down Fremont running into Frank talking with someone. They separated, Frank and Behan stopped at Bauer's, Tom had just been there and then moved on toward the lot where the others were. It appears they were simply waiting on Frank.

Fast forward to the walk-down. They were unable to walk four abreast as they started out on the narrow boardwalk and so they were two ahead, two behind. Mrs. King identified Holliday as the man in front on the inside. Wyatt identified Virgil as the man in front so Costner has them out of order.

When they passed Bauer's and chose to ignore Behan they apparently stepped off the walkway and stepped out into the street, spreading out a little in front of the lot entrance. Behan saw the situation was out of his control and stepped into the lot near Fly's corner and far enough in to connect up with Claibourne in time to push him to safety. Virgil did not respond to Behan as the movie portrays.

Behan did not go inside Fly's and look out the window.

The ranchers are portrayed as reaching for their guns and therefore triggering the whole thing. Costner does not show that the 'posse' approached with guns in hand. These ranchers were not rank amateurs. They knew no man would be fast enough to out-draw a gun already pointed at them. They did not attempt to draw their guns. Billy had been told by the sheriff of the county he could keep his gun so he raised his hands chest level and put them out in front to show he was no threat. Actually, he is the one who would have been the greatest threat according to his reputation. Frank was described as holding his horse's bridle, not reins, with one hand. The other was about shoulder high. He did not reach for a gun. Ike was unarmed and stepped forward to ask what the trouble was. Tom held both hands out with his vest in them to demonstrate he was not armed and not a threat.

From then on, the whole scene is extended and the shootings are not in proper sequence. Tom did not survive trying to reach Frank, ect.

That is pretty much what I saw in it without going in to excessive detail. Anything is better than the 'TOMBSTONE' movie but this was fairly well does except for a scrambled gunfight.





  • Costner’s scripted GunfightB.J., Sun Dec 11 2022 4:48
    Joyce, I would be interested in your perspective of Costner’s interpretation? Would you please specify exactly what you feel is not correct? It’s my observation that Costner at least tried to get... more
    • BJ/ Costner's version... — Joyce A. Aros, Sun Dec 11 2022 16:54