Tombstone

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 is not a documentary. This film is loosely 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.

How does changing the facts make it a good movie? I guess it might entertain those who know nothing about the facts. But for those who have studied and read up on things, going way out of the story does little in making a good story. That is why I like "Wyatt Earp" MUCH more than "Tombstone." No, "Wyatt Earp" is not a documentary. It, too, has altered some facts. But, to me, it is much closer to the truth. Even some of the dialog is from the Tombstone Epitaphs reporting of the incident.

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 Earps arrive in Tombstone in 1881 and ride past Boot Hill Cemetery. The tombstone displaying one of the most famous epitaph ever written is visible: "Here 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.

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Suggested correction: Fact is nobody knows who Lester Moore is. They believe he was a mail clerk who was shot and killed over a dispute over a package, but they cannot prove it. There is no date on the tombstone, plus the fact that there was never anyone by that name ever killed in the Arizona territory makes this tombstone even more mysterious.

lartaker1975

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

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.

MovieFan612

Factual error: At the end of the movie, the narrator says that Ike Clanton was shot and killed during an attempted bank robbery. Ike Clanton was actually killed while attempting to flee from Detective Jonas Brighton who was sent to arrest him for the crime of cattle-rustling.

Factual error: When Doc is playing poker with Ed Bailey and Doc lays his guns on the table, in the middle of the table is the reverse (back) of a Washington quarter. These type of Washington quarters began being minted in 1932.

MovieFan612

Factual error: Billy Breakenridge in real life was a large man who was almost certainly not gay. He certainly wasn't effeminate as the film makes him out to be and he was known as a good shot and a tough individual.

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.

More mistakes in Tombstone

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."

MovieFan612

More trivia for Tombstone

Chosen answer: A reckoning is like a judgment day, exacting retribution for one's actions. Doc was very well educated and had a very large vocabulary. He was correctly pointing out the subtle difference between revenge (to make Wyatt feel better about losing Morgan and about Virgil's crippling injury) and the fact that Wyatt was bringing about a judgment day (or reckoning) for each of the men who hurt his family.

MovieFan612

Answer: I've spent a lot of time thinking about this very question, and here's what I've come up with. I think there are at least two differences between revenge and a reckoning. First, I think it has to do with the scale of the response to an offending action. Revenge, in my mind, is an eye for an eye, i.e, "You killed my brother and wounded another, so I will inflict the same action on your family (or group, gang, whatever). " A reckoning is less a measured response to an offending action and more of a full-scale punishment, i.e, "You killed my brother and wounded another, so I will now slaughter your entire family-including those who were not directly responsible for the offending action." Second, I think there is also a difference in motivation. Revenge tends to be a very personal response to something, whereas a reckoning tends to be more of a response fueled by a need for justice. In Wyatt's case, it was both. He was enraged by what happened to his family, but was also a lawman.

Franklin Vaughn

Thank you for this response! I've only seen Tombstone a million times and asked the same question every time. It's hard to separate the difference between the two but I believe you nailed it. Well done.

I'm thinking the opposite in terms. Revenge is "Reflexive" and is generally any means necessary (out of an abundance of pain or rage) to hurt the other party. "Revenge is a dish best served cold." If one is exacting justice there's no need to be cold hearted. Therefore, Reckoning is (to me) a fair balancing of the "scales" hence "an eye for an eye." Not only consequences of actions as it were but a corrective action to an incorrect circumstance. Just my understanding.

The problem with that theory is there is no difference in the end because the end result was the same...the killing. True reckoning could have only been achieved though the apprehension and punishment by trial and jury, anything other than that is simply revenge.

More questions & answers from Tombstone

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