Tombstone (film)

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Tombstone is the name of a 1993 Western movie written by Kevin Jarre and directed by George P. Cosmatos.

Wyatt Earp (played by Kurt Russell), a retired peace keeper with quite a reputation, reunites with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) in Tucson, Arizona where they venture on towards Tombstone, a small but growing mining town to settle down. There they encounter Wyatt's longtime friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer of Top Gun) a southern rogue who seeks relief from his tuberculosis in Arizona's drier environment.

All is not perfect however. Wyatt's wife is slowly becoming dependent on laudanum (opium) which she acquired to heal her headaches. Just as Wyatt and his brothers begin to benefit from the rebuilding of a saloon's below average prospects, they make their first meeting with the Cowboys, an organized crime ring headed by 'Curly' Bill Brocious (Powers Boothe) that wear red sashes around their waist to mark their affiliation. Conflict is narrowly avoided upon Wyatt's insistence that he is retired and no longer interested in pursuing a career in law-keeping. This also marks a less than ideal first meeting for Doc Holliday and his Cowboy counterpart, the psychopathic Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn of The Terminator), as both begin a tense conversation in Latin.

Also just arriving in town are theatre performers Joseph Marcus (Dana Delany) and her unnamed actor companion (Billy Zane of Titanic).

Wyatt, although no longer a law-man, cannot betray his good-qualities, and in a town inundated with Cowboys it isn't long before tensions rise. An intoxicated Curly Bill is shooting aimlessly at the sky after his visit to a Chinese opium house and is approached by town marshall Fred White to reliquish his firearms before any harm is done. Curly Bill shoots Marshall White and is subsequently knocked unconscious from behind by Wyatt. Tension mounts as Curly Bill's subordinates, intent on rescuing Curly Bill, are turned away by Wyatt, his rifle-toting brothers, and Doc. Curly Bill later stands trial but is not found guilty and released.

Wyatt also makes run-ins with Josephine, who unlike other ladies of her time is quite forward towards Wyatt. Although their actions are quite innocent there is a spark between them that neither can deny.

Further dealings with the Cowboys prompts the legendary battle at the O.K. Corral. The result of the which is many Cowboys being killed. It is at this point that we learn that the county sheriff is in league with the Cowboys. Later, Virgil, unable to tolerate the lawlessness of Tombstone becomes the new town sheriff (replacing Fred White) and imposes a weapons ban in town limits. As retribution for the Cowboy deaths Wyatt's younger brother Morgan is shot and killed, while Virgil's arm is shot and requires amputation. Wyatt and family decide to leave Tombstone and head back to Tucson to board a train. Followed by the Cowboys, Wyatt sees that his family leaves safely while he deals with them. Wyatt announces that he has become a US Marshall and that he intends to kill any man he sees wearing a red sash. He lets one Cowboy return to send the message and enters a vengeful stage in his life when he, Doc, Cowboy deserters and loyal acquaintances join forces to wipe the Cowboys out.

At another epic battle Wyatt is ambushed in a riverside forest by the Cowboys. Wyatt is beckoned by the river and seeks out Curly Bill who obliges and a knee-deep water gunfight is over before it begins with Curly Bill laying in the water dead. Johnny Ringo is now the head of the Cowboys.

At one of their lower points, Doc's health is under assault and they depend on the accommodations of Henry Hooker (Charlton Heston). It is learned that Billy Zane's character was shot by Cowboys who wanted to steal Josephine's watch. Due to his now distant relation (geographically and in closeness) with his wife, Wyatt reaches a point of understanding here where he realizes what he wants in life and who (Josephine).

Ringo sends the message that he wants a showdown with Wyatt to end the hostilities and Wyatt is in agreement. Although Doc is a better match for Johnny he is currently in no condition for a gunfight and cannot join Wyatt.

Wyatt with his entourage approach the agreed-upon area. Unknown to Wyatt however is a healthy Doc beating them to the scene. Doc confronts a now nervous Ringo and a lengthy staring/drawing contest ensues, Doc taunting Ringo, "I'm your huckleberry!" As both men lift their guns, Doc gets the first shot off, hitting Ringo in the head and killing him. Wyatt runs when he hears the gunshot only to encounter who he though was his ailing friend on his feet and well. They then press on to finish the job of wiping the Cowboys out.

Doc is later admitted to a sanitorium in Colorado where shortly after a visit from Wyatt he dies. Wyatt decides to pursue Josephine and the movie ends with an account of the events to occur in the following years.

Historical inaccuracies

A number of factual inaccuracies feature in the film. See the external link for more details.

External link



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