Butch, you may disagree with my angle but here it is. I am sure we cannot come to any agreement with many other posters and writers in evaluating what happened until everyone gets over their automatic response to Ike Clanton's testimony. He is viewed as a drunken boob who started the whole mess. To my mind, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Note in testimony, not ONE witness on either side claimed Ike was drunk at any time during this event, the 25th or the 26th. Did he go in a couple of saloons, have a drink or two and complain about the treatment he got from the Earp crowd? Of course! Who wouldn't?
But Ike was never questioned about any drinking. Two other witnesses were questioned about their possible hang-overs, and Wyatt himself even testified that Doc was 'pretty tight,' but Wyatt and Virgil never accused Ike of being drunk; it would have been to their advantage! This demonstrates that Ike, though angry, was under control and had no intention of screwing up. Cowboys and ranchers came to town seldom, usually on cattle business with the butchers or for supplies. You cannot leave a ranch and stock for more than a couple of days, believe me!
AS they came in seldom, they usually took advantage of a business trip to get a good hotel room, a bath and shave and a haircut, and they put on a business suit as they dealt with businessmen and bankers. These guys were not slobs. None of them. Not then, and hopefully, not now.
They drank and gambled a little to see their friends, but their record shows they never got rowdy or caused trouble in town.
Cowboys (ranchers) were basically honest and straight forward. It is typical that Ike did not back down even against the odds and did not go looking for Tom to help him. He didn't trigger trouble, but it was his problem and he would handle it, even if it cost him. That's the nature of frontiersmen.
Ike's testimony was straight forward and believable. One place looked like he lied but it was so obvious it had to be tampered with. That's my take. People need to smarten up and reconsider Ike for the real problem.
came into town for a night of drinking and gambling. OK, this couldn't be more wrong, especially for historians such as Metz and Marks. Somebody needs to get a handle on what went on the night before.... more