|Median resident age:||23.2 years|
|Arizona median age:||34.2 years|
Zip codes: 86538.Estimated median household income in 2007: $39,356 (it was $30,089 in 2000)
Tombstone, Arizona, one of the most lawless mining camps in the American West, was soon dubbed “The Town Too Tough to Die.”
The mining camp was born when a prospector named Ed Schieffelin looked out on the mountains from where he stood at Camp Huachuca, Arizona. Thinking that the rich colors of the mountains looked like a promising place to prospect, he commented on this to a nearby soldier. However, the soldier was quick to warn him that the area was controlled by Apaches and responded him "All you'll find in those hills is your tombstone."1881 - Wells Spicer, District Attorney, in a letter: Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." Front Street, 1874. Wyatt Earp.
The celebrated fame of Tombstone largely lies in the gunfight between the Earp brothers, with their friend Doc Holliday, and members of the outlaw gang "The Cowboys".
"You are under arrest for attempting to disturb the peace," Virgil announced. As senior officer, he displayed only a non-threatening walking stick, having given his shotgun to Doc to carry. The rustlers tightened and Morgan and Doc simultaneously braced for action. "Hold on, I don’t want that!" cried Virgil.
What happened next was a blur, occurring in about 30 seconds. The shooting started when Billy Clantonand Frank McLaury cocked their pistols. It is not really known who fired the first shot, but Doc's bullet was the first to hit home, tearing through Frank McLaury's belly and sending McLaury’s own shot wild through Wyatt's coat-tail. Billy Clanton fired at Virgil, but his shot also went astray when he was hit with Morgan's shot through his rib cage.
Billy Claiborne ran as soon as shots were fired and was already out of sight. Ike Clanton, too, panicked and threw his gun down, pleading for his life. "Fight or get out like Claiborne!" Wyatt yelled and watched Ike desert his brother Billy, as he ran towards the door of the photography shop. But, Ike then withdrew a hidden gun firing one more round towards Wyatt before disappearing. The sound distracted Morgan, enough so that Tom McLaury sent a bullet into Morgan's shoulder. Doc instantly countered, blowing Tom away with blasts from both barrels of his shotgun. Desperately, wounded and dying, Billy Clanton fired blindly into the gun smoke encircling him, striking Virgil's leg. Wyatt responded by sending several rounds into Billy. .
Photo of John Henry "Doc" Holliday upon graduation from dental school. "I found him a loyal friend and good company. He was a dentist whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long, lean blonde fellow nearly dead with consumption and at the same time the most skillful gambler and nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun I ever knew." – Wyatt Earp speaking of Doc Holliday
Though she was born to a prominent family, Big Nose Kate would grow up to be just one of the many "soiled doves" of the American West, as well claiming a small slice of fame as Doc Holliday's on and off girlfriend.Big Nose Kate The famous Bird Cage Theatre opened its doors on Christmas Day in 1881 and for the next eight years would never close, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Also called the Bird Cage Opera House Saloon, the establishment featured a saloon, gambling parlour, theatre, and a brothel. In no time, the “theatre” gained a reputation as one of the wildest places in Tombstone. so bad that the few self-respecting women in town refused to even walk near the place. The New York Times reported in 1882, that "the Bird Cage Theatre is the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast." The hand painted stage, which once featured the likes of Eddy Foy, Lotta Crabtree, Lillie Langtry, Lola Montez, and Lillian Russell still stands, along with the orchestra pit and its massive Grand Piano. Lotta Crabtree.
During the years that the theatre was open the wicked little place witnessed a number of gun and knife fights that took some 26 lives, and left 140 bullet holes in the ceilings, walls, and floors, many of which can still be seen today.
The theatre was called the "Bird Cage" because of its 14 crib style compartments suspended from the ceiling. Here, the painted ladies would pull the drapes and “entertain” their customers at some of the most exorbitant prices ever heard of in the Old West.
For one of these unfortunate souls, prostitution would not be her worst fate; instead she would succumb to one of the hazards of the business – murder. When “Margarita” was sitting on the lap of a gambler named Billy Milgreen, in flounced one of her co-workers, who went by the name of “Gold Dollar.” Seeing Margarita on the lap of her best customer and “boyfriend,” Gold Dollar stuck a double edge knife into her chest, intending to cut her heart out. Having almost completed the task, she was interrupted by the sounds of the marshal coming and ran out the back door. Covered in blood, she hid the knife somewhere out back. Because the murder weapon couldn’t be found, no murder charges were filed. Amazingly, more than a century later, the stiletto was found behind the Bird Cage Theatre and is now displayed at the museum.