|Entertainment Magazine: Arizona: Tombstone: Doc Holliday
The Bloodless Duel with Doc Holliday in Tombstone
A Story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Johnny Tyler and the Old West by Casey
By Charles Casey
Lou Rickaburgh was feeling the pressure. He had a pretty good thing going in Tombstone's Oriental saloon, being the principal owner of the gambling concession. But that Johnny Tyler-- he sure was making things tough.
Now, Johnny Tyler was a professional gambler, but he wasn't quite as civil as some of the others in town. And Johnny was very ambitious. Johnny had asked Rickabaugh for a partnership in the Oriental Saloon. Rickaburgh decided against the partnership, Johnny became perplexed by this and made a nuisance of himself.
Johnny had brought in some cronies who kept the Oriental Saloon in a constnt state of agitation--screaming, yelling, harrassing dealers and even starting fights. The more Tyler's boys did, the more resolved Rickabaugh was to keep Tyler out of a partnership. Not making this decision Tyler's henchmen became rowdier.
Soon after, business was going bad and there was little Rickabaugh could do
. The law was weak and he'd have to pay to have his place protected by private individuals grasping straws, Rickaburgh finally decided to cut someone in on his concession for "protection."
That someone had to be a good gambler and have a reputation with a gun.
Wyatt Earp fit this description. In addition, Wyatt had three brothers in Tombstone-- all gamblers and gunmen.
His brother Virgil had recently been appointed a special deputy by Marshall White. There was Wyatt's pal Doc Holiday.
Everybody knew Doc was dying of "Tuberculosis,." Nobody wanted to get in a fight with a man who had nothing to lose.
So early one evening Rickabaugh offered Wyatt a quater interest in his concession, with the understanding that Wyatt would take care of Tyler and keep the Oriental Saloon peaceful.
Knowing a good thing when he saw it, Wyatt immediately snapped the offer up, then told his brothers, warning them there could be trouble. A few minutes later he ran into Doc Holiday.
Noting Wyatt Earp newfound swagger, Doc asked him,"What's up?" Wyatt quickly related the story.
"So you have to tame Johnny Tyler?" asked Doc.
"Yes, I don't expect much trouble," said Wyatt. "Think I might as well take care of it tonight."
Doc Holliday's fingers speculatively twirled his handle-bar moustache. Wyatt was usually a pretty cool customer, but he occasionally jumped into things a little quickly. "Well,Wyatt, I might as well tag along for the fireworks.
Wyatt grinned at his friend.
The Oriental was very noisy but only half full when the pair entered. Tyler's men were hear the bar talking loudly and insulting the cardship. Tyler himself was standing by a table, talking to some more cronies.
Doc stood by the door, wondering what Wyatt Earp would do and keeping an eye on the door. Wyatt swaggered up to Tyler and grabbed him by the arm, literally pulled out of the saloon.
The crowd at the bar looked upset when they saw their boss manhandled, but before any could react, they were looking down the bore of Doc's colt .45.
After Wyatt and Tyler disappeared, Doc smiled and put his gun away. With their boss gone, the men at the bar turned back to order drinks and everyone relaxed. Spying some friends in the back of the room, Doc settled into a game of poker. He had been through two hands when he suddenly heard yelling at the door.
"Where is Wyatt," hollered Johnny Tyler, with the six-gun strapped to his side. Surveying the room, his eye finally found Doc Holiday, lifting the shot-glass to his lips.
Tyler started at Doc Holliday for along time, silence fell over the room. Suddenly he spit out a challenge.
"Holiday, you think your good with a gun. Let's step out into the street."
Doc set his glass down and smiled across the room standing up, he slowly walked to within a foot of Tyler, holding his coat back so that his gun was clearly visbile.
In his soft southern accent, Holiday asked, "Why should we go into the street, Johnny? Let's have it out here. Ready?"
A sudden scraping of chairs was heard as men dove under tables and jumped behind the bar. Tyler stared at his adversary, the color slowly draining from his face. "No, no" he sputtered, "The Street." His head nodded vaguely in the direction of the door.
Doc didn't move. "You want to fight. Go for it!" His body archeed tensely, like a cat ready to spring.
Tyler looked into the pail blue eyes, and suddenly turned a bolted out the door.
After a few seeconds Doc went to the door and looked out. Turning back, he found all eyes staring at him in awe. With a nod towards the door he said. "Johnny's still running."
Everyone in the Oriental laughed and relaxed. During the next few days Tyler was greeted with "Still running, Johnny?" where ever he went.
He soon left Tombstone, with the laughter still ringing in his ears.
Where to Go: Place to visit in Tombstone | Events | Dining | Videos of Tombstone
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Tombstone History: Legends of Tombstone
Watch and Download Free Western movies online"The Outlaw" is directed by Howard Hughes. This is the story of Billy the Kid, Doc Holiday, and Pat Garrett.
(Sometimes, the spelling might be Doc Holiday, but the correct spelling is with 2 l's- Doc Holliday)
© 1996-2012. EMOLorg. Tombstone Entertainment Magazine. All rights reserved. Republished from Entertainment Magazine, July 1984. Robert Zucker, publisher.