Tombstone

Deliberate mistake: When Wyatt comes out of the Orientalist and joins his brothers in the street to tell them he's acquired a quarter interest in a game, a herd of cattle is passing them in the street but there's no dust kicked up by the cattle, when in reality there would be a lot of dust on a dry desert street in Arizona.

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Continuity mistake: When Curly Bill is shooting up the town while drunk, he fires about 10 more rounds than his six shooter can hold without reloading (so too many shots even if he had a second gun), and still has a round remaining when he shoots Marshal Fred White. In the 1880 court hearing held after Marshal White's death, Curly Bill still had 5 rounds remaining in his pistol.

Factual error: In the scene just before the fight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt is talking to his brothers and Doc on the porch of the town marshal's office. There is an American flag flying behind him with 50 stars on it when in fact there were only 38 stars on the flag in 1881.

Factual error: During the gunfight in the lot behind the OK Corral, Tom McLaury is firing a six shooter at Doc just before Doc fires his shotgun in the air to scare Tom's horse away. The mistake is that Tom McLaury wasn't armed during the actual gunfight. He was shot by Doc while he was reaching for the rifle he had stored in his saddle. (01:14:58)

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Suggested correction: The events have been intentionally adjusted by the filmmakers to create a coherent and entertaining movie. It's based on true events; it's not a day-to-day account of the events of 1880 through 1882. Artistic license does not constitute a movie mistake.

Brenda Elzin

Changing facts in historical material does constitute factual mistakes, whether anybody wants to call them that or not.

It really depends on the degree to which the film-maker alters the facts, and whether that alteration is glaring or changes the story line. For most, it doesn't. Tom got shot and Doc shot him. There is an implicit duty of the audience to "suspend disbelief" - an acknowledgment that it is impossible to get every small detail correct.

Revealing mistake: When Wyatt Earp and the actress, whom he marries later in the movie, meet on horseback, they go on a fast paced ride that concludes after going down a steep hill. If you look at the actress' feet, you will see she is riding side-saddle - a very difficult feat considering the riding they do. If you look closely you can see her real leg, safely on the other side of the horse. The side-saddle leg must be fake.

Factual error: Three of the Earp brothers arrived in Tombstone on December 1, 1879. They served as lawmen during 1880/81 and fought the Cowboys in the famous gunfight on October 26, 1881, They left the area in April 1882. In the movie the Earp's arrive in Tombstone in 1881 and ride past Boot Hill Cemetery. The tombstone displaying one of the most famous epitaph ever written is visible: "Her lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les, No more." The problem is that Lester Moore wasn't killed until 1884. So it's impossible for his tombstone and famous epitaph to be in Boot Hill when the Earps arrived.

Continuity mistake: In the beginning, when Doc Holiday is playing poker with Ed Bailey, they tell Doc to drop his cards. He does so, and reveals a poker of queens. In a fury, Ed Bailey stands up pushing the table. When he does this, you see Doc's cup with liquor in it fall and roll off the table. Doc even watches it fall off the table onto the floor. When they show Doc again, the cup is right there where it was before, in perfect stance. Doc even drinks the rest of the liquor inside it, a little bit later on in the scene. (00:11:55)

Continuity mistake: Just prior to the actual gunfight scene as both sides have their hands on their guns waiting for something to happen, Frank McLaury is first shown wearing his hat. A few moments later he is shown by himself, looking to his right, without the hat. Then again, moments later, the hat reappears.

Other mistake: When the Earp Brothers first arrive at Tombstone Fred White is telling them about the Cowboys and says "there's three of them now," the camera then shows four people wearing the red sash of the Cowboys.

Continuity mistake: In the first scene when the priest, bride, and groom, etc. come out of the church you can see the priest putting on his hat in two different angles.

Revealing mistake: When Wyatt and the others leave two cowboys hanging in front of the Dragoon Saloon, you can see that neither man actually has a rope on his neck. As the one man swings around, on his vest you can see the outline of the rope going straight down into the harness that's holding him. (01:25:35)

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Suggested correction: The two men are already dead when strung up. The shot is not of a hanging, it's of displaying two dead "cowboys". Therefore, the rope need not be around their necks.

The rope was made to outwardly appear as if it's a simple noose, whether or not it was the cur's death by actual hanging. The outline, however, that we can see under the clothes reveals that the noose part of the rope goes all the way down his back into a stunt safety harness, under the man's clothes. To think that Wyatt and his men would have removed the man's clothing to configure a custom harness to go around the man, then redressed him, and finally strung him up for display, is ridiculous. The correction is rubbish, and the mistake is valid IMHO.

Super Grover Premium member

So they go to the trouble of fashioning a harness instead of just hanging a rope around their necks?

MovieFan612 Premium member

Continuity mistake: During the fight at the O.K Corral Doc empties one of his guns into the man with the blue shirt on, then the man starts shooting through the window and Wyatt shouts "Doc, behind us." Doc Holiday immediately empties both his guns into the building without time to reload one.

Factual error: When the Earps first arrive in Tombstone (in 1880), they go past the Bird Cage Theater, which wasn't built until 1881.

Visible crew/equipment: When Virgil goes outside on the night of the storm after seeing Wyatt and Morgan, the arm of a crane is visible in the background behind the roof of a building. It sticks vertically up in the air, probably for mounting lights.

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Revealing mistake: When Morgan dies his eyes are wide open. As Wyatt lays him down rolling his head to the side Morgan's eyes continue to focus at the ceiling instead of turning with the motion of his head as dead eyes would do.

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Factual error: In the scene when Virgil returns to the Oriental after being shot, Wyatt and Morgan are sitting at a table eating Chinese noodles with vegetables, among which is broccoli. Broccoli was practically unknown in the United States until it began to be commercially cultivated in California in the 1920s.

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Continuity mistake: In the scene where McMasters is looking through his eyeglass and telling Wyatt how many cowboys there are, there's a shot of Doc coughing with a bloody rag up to his mouth. The camera goes back to Wyatt, and when it goes back to Doc, there is blood dripping out of his mouth and all over his bottom lip and chin. In the very next shot when Doc falls off his horse, about two seconds later, his mouth and chin are completely clean.

Continuity mistake: When Doc and Kate are leaving the saloon after he stabbed Ed Bailey, as they stand in the doorway facing the people In the saloon, the light outside shows bright sun with shadows from the buildings, indicating it is mid to late afternoon. When they step outside, there is no bright sunlight and the entire street is in dusky shadow.

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Visible crew/equipment: In the opening sequence where Curly Bill and gang are walking toward the church, a microphone with a furry wind sock can be seen in the lower left just before Ike Clanton passes.

Johnny Tyler: Is something on your mind?
Wyatt Earp: Just want to let you know you're sittin' in my chair.
Johnny Tyler: Is that a fact?
Wyatt Earp: Yeah, it's a fact.
Johnny Tyler: Well, for a man who don't go heeled you run your mouth kind of reckless, don't you?
Wyatt Earp: No need to go heeled to get the bulge on a tub like you.
Johnny Tyler: Is that a fact?
Wyatt Earp: Mm-hmm. That's a fact.
[Johnny Tyler stands up.]
Johnny Tyler: Well, I'm real scared.
Wyatt Earp: Damn right, you're scared. I can see that in your eyes.
[Wyatt walks up to Johnny as Johnny reaches for his gun.]
Johnny Tyler: All right now.
Wyatt Earp: Go ahead. Go ahead, skin it. Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens.
Johnny Tyler: Listen, mister, I-I'm gettin' awful tired of your-
[Wyatt slaps Johnny hard in the face.]
Wyatt Earp: I'm gettin' awful tired of your gas. Now jerk that pistol and go to work.
[Johnny doesn't do anything and Wyatt slaps him in the face again.]
Wyatt Earp: I said throw down, boy.
[Wyatt slaps Johnny harder and when Johnny turns to look at Wyatt his mouth is bleeding.]
Wyatt Earp: You gonna do somethin' or just stand there and bleed?
[Johnny still doesn't do anything.]
Wyatt Earp: No? I didn't think so.

More quotes from Tombstone

Trivia: Val Kilmer has been quoted as saying that screenwriter Kevin Jarre insisted the actors wear real wool costumes, in accordance with the time period. During the scene in the Birdcage Theater, Val Kilmer says, a thermometer was placed on the set, and it read 134 degrees Fahrenheit. Kilmer suggested jokingly that this was the reason Doc Holliday killed so many people: "It's just, like, he wore wool in the summer, in the Arizona territory, and that made him mad."

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More trivia for Tombstone

Question: Whatever happened to Morgan's wife and Kate? They are never mentioned by the narrator at the end of the movie.

Answer: Morgan's wife, Louisa "Lou" Earp accompanied Morgan to be buried in California. She remarried Gustav Peters in December of 1885 and died in 1894, at the age of 36, in Los Angeles. Kate "Big Nose Kate" Haroney is thought to have spent time with Doc Holliday during his time in Colorado until his death in 1887. Afterwards, she married a man and moved to a town near Tombstone until she left him for another man. She lived with the other man until his death in 1930 doing odd jobs in hotels and for the railroad. She died in the Pioneer's Home in Arizona in 1940 just a few days before her 90th birthday.

Zwn Annwn

More questions & answers from Tombstone

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