Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp
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Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp by Ann Kirschner is the definitive biography of a Jewish girl from New York who won the heart of Wyatt Earp.
For nearly fifty years, she was the common-law wife of Wyatt Earp: hero of the O.K. Corral and the most famous lawman of the Old West. Yet Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp has nearly been erased from Western lore. In this fascinating biography, Ann Kirschner, author of the acclaimed Sala's Gift, brings Josephine out of the shadows of history to tell her tale: a spirited and colorful tale of ambition, adventure, self-invention, and devotion. Reflective of America itself, her story brings us from the post–Civil War years to World War II, and from New York to the Arizona Territory to old Hollywood.
In Lady at the O.K. Corral, you’ll learn how this aspiring actress and dancer—a flamboyant, curvaceous Jewish girl with a persistent New York accent—landed in Tombstone, Arizona, and sustained a lifelong partnership with Wyatt Earp, a man of uncommon charisma and complex heroism.
Cowboys”: Aside from his accomplishments as an actor and stuntman, Tom Mix appears on the album cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (third row). 153 “It haunted his mind”: Roger S. Peterson interview of William S. Hart Jr., April 6, 1983, Roger S. Peterson Collection. 155 Hooker drafted a manuscript she showed to Wyatt: The manuscript, “An Arizona Vendetta: The Truth About Wyatt Earp and Some Others,” is in the Southwest Museum, Los Angeles. 156 “Doc Holliday was
203 in Utah, Colorado, and Idaho, 71–73 in Yuma, Arizona, 89–90, 92 Tombstone years: affair with Josephine Marcus, 49–50, 63, 186 arrives in Tombstone, 1879, 24, 32 Behan rivalry with, 43–44, 49, 51, 252n 74 Benson stagecoach attackers sought by, 51–52 brother Morgan killed, 61–62 brother Virgil shot, 61 business ventures in Tombstone, 38–39, 59, 65 charges and trial following Gunfight (Spicer hearing), 57–59 Cochise County sheriff position sought by, 43–44 departure from, 66 as
information furnished by relatives of the Earps,” the Times now knew that the Earp brothers had “nothing in common with the bandit gangs, but that, instead, they did everything in their power to protect the people and to uphold law and order.” In fact, the Los Angeles Times went so far as to repeat the assertion of relatives that “none of the Earp brothers ever opened a saloon or a gambling house.” If there was irony in the Times retraction, Josephine cared not. She had a strategy for public
advances on their shared royalties. She was now almost the age that Wyatt had been when he died. She had lived without him for more than ten years. Like the two women she had met so long ago, the maid in Salt Lake City and Baby Doe Tabor in Denver, she had ended up childless and penniless, protective of her husband to the bitter end. She was a frail old lady, weighed down by a large black knit purse that she always carried. At the least sign of interest, she would snap open the purse’s large
Marie’s, 1993); Anne M. Butler, Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West, 1865–90 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985); and Anne Seagraves, Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West (Hayden, Idaho: Wesanne, 1994). 49 “the key to the whole yarn of Tombstone”: Stuart Lake to Ira Rich Kent, February 13, 1930, Houghton Mifflin Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. 53 “very grave results will follow”: Quoted in Paula M. Marks, And Die in