Wyatt Earp: a distant relative returns

Wyatt Earp will perform "Wyatt Earp: Life on the Frontier" during Tombstone's Wyatt Earp Days, May 23-25, 2015. (Photo Courtesy of Wyatt Earp)
Wyatt Earp will perform “Wyatt Earp: Life on the Frontier” during Tombstone’s Wyatt Earp Days, May 23-25. (Photo Courtesy of Wyatt Earp)

A story about Tombstone isn’t complete without a story about Wyatt Earp.

On May 22, the great-grandnephew of Wyatt Earp, also named Wyatt, will perform a one-man play titled “Wyatt Earp: Life on the Frontier” for Tombstone’s annual Wyatt Earp Days, in Tombstone. 

“I want people to experience a story that Hollywood never told. There are far more adventures and mystique than in the movies,” said Earp. He has performed this piece close to 750 times, all over the country and world.

A self-proclaimed bio-dramatist, Earp enjoys spending his time making the life of another person come alive.

Earp hasn’t performed this piece in Tombstone in 15 years, and is looking forward to returning to the town that is home to the story of the legendary Wyatt Earp.

Although Earp now resides in Moon Valley, Arizona, he has traveled the world entertaining the public with the ultimate Old West history. Earp has performed across the United States, England, Scotland, Hungary, Canada and Panama.

The original Wyatt Earp is known as Arizona’s most infamous gunman, who was involved in the deadly shootout in Tombstone at the O.K. Corral on Oct. 26, 1881. Hollywood has prospered off the life of Earp, creating many movies revolving around his career and family, including the properly titled movie, Tombstone.

Earp’s wife, Terry, wrote the play and received interest from many Hollywood hotshots.

In 1996, the couple decided to cast Wyatt as his famous great-granduncle.

“’Wyatt Earp: Life on the Frontier’ depicts the literal history of Tombstone,” said Earp, rather than just what Hollywood chose to show.

The bio-drama is set in 1925 and Earp details the chronicles of his life to a pesky reporter.

In addition to his performance during Wyatt Earp Days, Earp also performs as part of the Arizona Gunfighters. According to Earp, the Arizona Gunfighters have a higher level of authenticity in their gunfights, and will be performing throughout the weekend’s events.

“I believe that what keeps Tombstone alive is its history,” said Earp. “The town is made up of things that most people don’t expect to see, including the courthouse and Bird Cage Saloon.”

Lauren Niday is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at laurenniday@email.arizona.edu 


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