Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend

Written by Gary L. Roberts
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Born John Henry Holliday, Doc Holliday became a legend in the American West, primarily due to his association with the Earp brothers and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1882. Brought up in Georgia, Holliday was reared a “southern gentleman.” Schooled as a dentist, he moved west and soon became enamored with gambling and drinking. His poor health, coughing spells brought on by consumption, and his tendency to always be in trouble would lead him to have many enemies. When he arrived in Tombstone, he and Wyatt Earp became friends, and he inadvertently joined the Earps’ cause to bring law and order to the town.

The townspeople were continuously threatened by the Cow-Boys, led by the likes of the Clanton family and John Ringo, known for stealing horses from across the Mexican border. The Earp brothers’ actions against these men would cause a division in allegiance between the two factions among the citizens of Tombstone.

The author used first-person accounts of the events that took place in the locales where Doc Holliday lived, along with newspaper articles. The book is well-researched and includes 85 pages of notes. If you are interested in the American West and the people who lived and died during those years, this book is a must for your bookshelf.