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Tombstone: The Town That Never Quit

Tales of when the west was still wild still seem to dot movies and campfire tales, but hearing and seeing are a different story all-together as ghost towns and historic towns dot the southwest just waiting to be explored.   Where better to stop off in our pursuit of seeing history unfold before us than Tombstone.  

I will say this; we were warned by natives that Tombstone is a tourist trap.   And there was a lot of validity to that statement as everything seemed to be pay to play kind of exhibit.   Still, the intrigue was high as we stopped in and found parking, just past the original Courthouse building. 

Walking toward downtown, history oozes from every building, even the homes dotting the busy streets echo tales long  past as the possibility of famed western faces.   The boardwalk alongside the streets creeks beneath your feet and as re-enactors and promoters catch your attention you feel more and more as though you slip into a time more simplistic. 

But with all the options of things to do, what is the most iconic?  Well the O.K. Corral of course!  The famed shootout is recalled 3 times a day through performances and a unique museum is available displaying a frozen in time depiction of the west and how it was both won and lost throughout the years.   

For only $10 you can watch the story unfold, gain admission to a special historic portrayal of the times and pick up your own copy of the days facts at the local newspaper and feel as though you are a part of the history frozen in time.

If you are inspired to see more of the true historic nature of the once bustling town, you can dare to take a trip to the depths of the mining industry which brought life and livelihood to Tombstone residents.  Or perhaps take a trip to the Boot Hill Cemetery where legends lay at their final resting place.

It is surreal to say the least to see the town which will simply never quit as a typical day in the life is somewhere between modern and days past as residents look to preserve their longstanding history while also bringing about local life on a modern scale.

We explored for a couple hours, chatted with the locals and really took in the feel of the times as we enjoyed the blast from the past and really grew to further appreciate the convenience today.   Though a tourist spot, the history far surpassed our expectation.

Distance To Large Cities: 

Tucson:  72 Miles

Phoenix: 185 Miles


Odd Facts About Tombstone:

Despite the movies depiction of Tombstone with only 3 Earp brothers, there were in fact 5 brothers. James and Warren (the oldest and youngest) were not mentioned in the movie at all instead only Virgil, Wyatt and Virgil were featured.

There is an infamous glitch in the movie and the reality in that the Bird Cage Theater was not built until 1881 yet was featured in the scene as the Earp family entered Tombstone in 1880.

During its boom, Tombstone was producing between $40 and $85 million in silver bullion, it was the largest producer in all of Arizona.

The O.K. Corral was most famously known for the phrase 30 bullets in 30 seconds, as there were approximately 30 bullets exchanged in the epic showdown in such a short time.

Within 2 years of being established the town of Tombstone was known for some 110 saloons, 14 gambling houses, 2 banks, a school, an ice house, 4 churches, 3 newspapers, a bowling alley, ice cream parlor and numerous dance halls.

Tombstone was shut down by both fire and flood numerous times, yet rebuilt each time.



  • This location cost varies based on participation in various options, come prepared to spend anywhere between $10 and $100 on average per person.  

  • Gun fights are loud if you have sensitive ears this might be difficult to tolerate so approach with care.

  • Parking is available near the Courthouse for most vehicles (approximately 1 block away from the action) I recommend using this rather than searching for other parking, it is both easy to park in the spaces provided and not overly crowded when leaving.

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