Tombstone

It’s fitting that “The Town Too Tough To Die” isn’t allowing anything to stop the celebrations of its long and storied Western heritage.

About an hour-and 20-minute drive from Tucson, Tombstone, Arizona, will take you back to the days when it was a booming mining town, populated with hardworking regular folks, and more than just a few people whose deeds are written in blood.

One of the biggest annual events is Helldorado Days, held the third weekend of the month. Launched in 1929, this event began to honor the locale’s 50th anniversary. Ninety-one years later, the three days of activities includes a parade, Cowboy Walk-down on Allen Street, live entertainment from re-enactment groups, line dancers, storytellers, musicians, and even a beard and mustache contest.

Helldorado Days falls on Oct. 16-18, happening a little more than a week ahead of the anniversary of the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral, which went down about 3 p.m. on Oct. 26, 1881.

But there are other October events, too, such as Schiefflin Days (Oct. 9-11), named after the prospector who discovered silver in the Tombstone area; and Great American Adventures — Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride (Oct. 11-16). The latter is a horseback ride and tour of landmarks that Wyatt stopped by in March and April 1882 while seeking revenge for the murder of Morgan Earp.

Back in town, historians, film buffs, and fans of the myths and legends of the Old West can visit places such as the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, The Bird Cage Theatre, Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone Epitaph Museum, and other spots, original or re-created.

Tombstone weaves in and out of the narratives of locations throughout Arizona, with tales of the Earps, Doc Holliday and others a constant thread. To enhance your enjoyment of the area, there are several books you may want to seek out. Around Tombstone: Ghost Towns and Gunfights by Jane Eppinga (Arcadia Publishing, 2009), which includes a plethora of period photos of miners, cowhands, merchants, gunfighters and the places they frequented in Cochise County.

Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen by Marshall Trimble (The History Press, 2015), a page-turning account of the lives (and deaths) of some of the largerthan- life individuals whose exploits are the stuff of Western novels and movies. Lastly, check out Graveyards of the Wild West by Heather L. Moulton and Susan Tatterson (America Through Time. 2020), which devotes a chapter to Boothill.

Live help

Recommended for you