4 June 2004 | DocHollidayIV
Very enjoyable film
I've done extensive reading and research on Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and this era. With that as a start, let me continue.
The roles of Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp were well-cast and portrayed. The actors bore reasonable physical resemblance to the real men. Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday was superb; I thought his portrayal was more accurate than that of Val Kilmer in "Tombstone", his personality and his appearance.... although with friends, Doc Holliday was a pretty affable gentleman.
The story was a nice story, although there were significant problems with some of the historical accuracy. First, Morgan and Virgil were NOT shot on the same night... actually 3 months apart. Things like that bother me when seeing a supposedly historically accurate film. But what I considered the weakest part of this movie (and "Tombstone" as well) was the very incomplete and weak buildup to the gunfight. There was so much more that happened, so much that affected the relationship between the good guys and the bad, so much missing that both films almost made the fight look like a spur of the moment battle... which is far from factual. What many people don't realize is that Bat Masterson spent time in Tombstone during this era, although not directly involved in the "action"; also, Luke Short was a major ally of Wyatt's throughout this time.
I very much liked that Wyatt's young life was shown... his time as town constable, his marriage to Urilla Sutherland, her death and his resulting devastation, his pony stealing in Arkansas... all things that most folks never realized.
I would very much liked to have seen more of Wyatt's revenge ride and subsequent deaths and scattering of the Clanton gang. Also, the absence of any sequence involving the robbery of the Benson stage and the killing of Bud Philpot and Peter Roehrig is regrettable, as this was a major factor leading to the battle. Also, as a result of the stage robbery, we should have seen a sequence regarding Wyatt's agreement with Ike about turning in the robbers. Finally, how Behan backed out on his deal with Wyatt regarding the sheriff's office... a major factor in the animosity between the two men.
Yes... there are many other missing historical incidents that would have made the film more accurate and real.
Anyone who has an interest in this era should see the film. If you're not a stickler like I am for total historical accuracy, you should enjoy the film.