Tombstone Local Custom Tips by Kaspian Top 5 Page for this destination
Tombstone Local Customs: 12 reviews and 39 photos
The American Wild West had lots of customs, most of which still apply in some variation today. Here are a few of the most important among them:
- Rule #1: Never, ever mess with the following three things: a man's hat, a man's horse, and a man's gun. Don't even touch them without permission. Back in the day, loss of any of these items could result in a person's death so this is serious business. "Horse" could now even apply to "vehicle", so always ask first.
- Do not (and this is also an important one) criticize the cooking even if it's bad. During the old cattle-runs this was a surefire way at the chuck wagon that next time the cook would either spit in your food or not give you your fair share. Help the cook with whatever he/she needs and don't touch/taste ingredients, equipment, or food without permission.
- As in Mexico, keep your hands above the table at all times while seated for a meal. People never knew back then when somebody might have a six-shooter pointed straight at their guts, so it's best to keep them reassured you don't.
- "Howdy" was and is still a proper greeting.
- When greeting a woman, stand up and remove your hat. This also applies when a woman first walks into a small room or whenever you enter into someone else's home. "Miss" or "Ma'am" (depending on marital status), is the proper way to address the fairer sex. Stand up if a woman has to leave a dining table or room early. Lift or tip your hat when you pass on the street or boardwalk.
- Don't take your dog to another cowboy's ranch. Also, don't ever scold his/her dog.
- If you're horseback riding on an open plain (and not a narrow trail), don't ride directly in front of somebody--it's considered rude. Also don't get between a cowboy and the herd.
- Don't brag or talk too highly of yourself (they'll make fun of you if you do) and don't interrupt others.
- Don't make fun of suspenders. Suspenders were often used because they are more comfortable while in the saddle than a belt is.
Despite the rugged image, cowboys are still among the most gentlemanly people out there. Keep it in mind that manners are important and you won't wind up in a pine box.
"Being polite means always being a little nicer than you have to be."
Tombstone Courthouse - Wyatt Earp (2008)
Wyatt Earp: Gambler, entrepreneur, and lawman from Dodge City. Middle brother to Virgil and Morgan. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral and emerged unscathed. Later married Josie Marcus.
Virgil Earp: Longtime career lawman and town-marshal of Tombstone. Older brother to Wyatt and Morgan. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral and was shot in the right calf but survived. Virgil was ambushed by the Cowboys two months after the gunfight and shot again in the back and arm with buckshot but survived this as well.
Morgan Earp: Deputy of Tombstone. Younger brother to Wyatt and Virgil. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral and was shot in the back but survived. Fatally wounded in an ambush by the Cowboys 5 months later at a billiard hall.
Doc Holliday: Dentist, professional gambler, drinker, southern gentleman, intellectual, quick wit, and gunfighter. Sickly and dying of tuberculosis. Close friends with Wyatt Earp and arch-enemy of Johnny Ringo. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral on the side of the Earps but received only a minor flesh wound on the hip.
Frank McLaury: Cattle rancher and member of the Cowboys gang. Older brother to Tom. Killed in the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Buried in Boot Hill Cemetery.
Tom McLaury: Cattle rancher and member of the Cowboys gang. Younger brother to Frank. Killed in the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Buried in Boot Hill Cemetery.
Billy Claiborne: Outlaw, gunfighter, and cattle rustler. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral on the side of the Cowboys, may have fired several shots, and then ran away.
Ike Clanton: Ill-mannered ranchhand, cattle rustler, and member of the Cowboys gang. Older brother to Billy. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral on the side of the Cowboys but ran away when the shooting started--shouting that he was "unarmed". Ike is often credited with provoking the entire battle in the first place.
Billy Clanton: Well-mannered, well-liked, and hardworking ranchhand and member of the Cowboys gang. Younger brother to Ike. Participated in the Gunfight at the OK Corral and was fatally wounded. Buried in Boot Hill Cemetery.
Josephine Marcus (AKA "Josie Marcus", "Sadie Jo", "Shady Sadie", "Josephine Earp"): Professional dancer and actress, possibly a high-priced call girl. Girlfriend, then wife to Wyatt Earp.
Mary Katherine Horony (AKA "Big Nose Kate","Kate Fisher", "Kate Elder","Mary Katherine Cummings"): Longtime girlfriend of Doc Holliday and owner of a boarding house in Globe, Arizona. There is no historical evidence whatsoever that Kate was a prostitute or operated a brothel while in Tombstone.
William Brocius (AKA "Curly Bill"): Outlaw, rustler, excellent gunfighter, and high-ranking member of the Cowboys gang. Accidentally shot Marshal Fred White while in a drunken stupor one night. Curly Bill was later hunted down and killed by Wyatt Earp in retaliation for the Cowboy's assassination of Morgan Earp.
Fred White: A young man and first town Marshal of Tombstone. Accidentally shot by a drunken Curly Bill (although the two had been friends prior) and died several days later.
John Peters Ringo (AKA "Johnny Ringo", "Johnny Ringgold"): Mean-tempered drunk, murderer, and high-ranking member of the Cowboys gang, Ringo was often called "the King of the Cowboys". Arch-enemy of Doc Holliday. He was found dead of a bullet wound to the head in West Turkey Creek Valley. He was possibly killed by Wyatt Earp in retaliation for the Cowboy's assassination of Morgan Earp or he committed suicide. The name "Johnny Ringo" was later often used for characters in 1950s and 60s Western movies.
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