A transcript of one of the most famous events of the Wild West period in American history has been re-discovered – The Gun Fight at the OK Corral.

Wyatt Earp

The handwritten transcript completed after the coroner’s inquest was last seen in the 1960s when it was photocopied. It resurfaced in pile of dusty files 125 years after the shootout in Tombstone, Arizona.

Historically important coroner’s transcript

The inquest was completed after Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday confronted a gang in the streets of Tombstone and killed Frank and Tom McLaury and Bill Clanton.

Officials showed off just one page of the transcript on Wednesday – a thick sheet of paper with blue lines and sloppy cursive writing in dark ink. It appeared to contain the beginning of the testimony of William Claiborn, identified by a historian as a friend of the three dead outlaws.

I was present on the afternoon of Oct. 26th ’81 when the shooting commenced between outlaw parties”, the testimony reads.

The document is now being restored by archivists. Once the work is completed, the files will be scanned and made available on the internet.

The importance of transcription

This just goes to show how important transcripts of events are. The coroner’s office in Tombstone couldn’t have known at the time what a historically important event the gunfight at the OK Corral was. And without the court transcripts maybe the story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday wouldn’t have grown to the legend that spawned so many films and books.