The Real Wild West
Nothing says ‘wild west’ quite like stories of Tombstone, Arizona. On our journey driving from Bisbee back to Phoenix, we decided to make a stop off at Tombstone. One of the last frontier boomtowns in the American West, Tombstone was an old mining town producing millions of dollars worth in silver. In recent times, it now brings in almost all of it’s revenue from tourism.
Walk in the footsteps of the Earp brothers gunfights, or take a drink at the famous O.K Corall, watching a live re-enactment in the middle of Allen Street. The town slogan for Tombstone is ‘the town too tough to die’ and that sounds pretty bad-ass doesn’t it?
The Town Too Tough To Die
Tombstone is a pretty small place, but it’s got a great sense of walking back in time. Almost everything is preserved as it was, and you’ll even find the odd bullet hole in the walls from it’s many shoot-outs! Enjoy a drink at the famous Big Nose Kate’s, one of the first founded spotting houses in Tombstone famous for it’s cheap whisky.
By 1881, Tombstone was home to 8,000 people and boasted more gambling houses, saloons and the largest red light district in the Southwest. If you’ve ever seen the film ‘Tombstone’ you can live the real life shoot-outs between the law and the lawless, of the likes of the Clanton Gang, Doc Holiday and the Earp brothers.
What to do in Tombstone
Although Tombstone isn’t terribly big aside from the main street, it’s still got lots for you to do there. Take a dance on the stage of the Birdcage Theatre, which in 1882 brought culture to the community. Although it did also serve as a saloon, gambling hall, and a brothel! The Bird Cage Theatre later became the scene for 26 deaths during just eight years of business.
Take a look into the mine and enjoy your own guided tour; or take a ride around the town on traditional horseback and carriage. Watch a gun fight re-enactment outside of the famous O.K Corall. Then see where the famous dead lie on Boothill Graveyard up on the hill.
Be sure to drive up the hill for a great view over the surrounding mountains and vista. It was here upon taking a photograph of the view that I heard a rustle amongst the trees behind me; turning around to find a herd of deer staring back at me in a moment of silence. In total stillness and calm we stared at each other for a moment. They approached with caution then as quickly as they came, they left.
Tombstone might only be a small town, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you have an interest in the history of the wild-west and cowboys alike. It’s something you can easily do in a day, or even an afternoon on your way passing through.
You can read more of my Arizona and USA posts – here.