TOMBSTONE, ARIZONA is another of my favorite places. As I write this my brethren (and sistern) of the spaghetti western community in America are showing up there to party, visit, watch westerns, and pontificate. I cannot be there this year, but thought I'd do this blog on the town to ease my pain at not attending.
I don't need to go into the history of Tombstone here. it's been done time and again better than I could do, and most folks are familiar with it. These days Tombstone exists for the tourist trade; folks come to gawk at the colorful characters who roam the streets; black-clad gunmen with wide-brimmed hats, hombres wearing dusters and holstered six-guns, fine dance-hall ladies displaying their sumptuous charms and best of all, the re-enacters. Our favorite is Stephen Keith who becomes Doc Holliday when he's on the street; never out of character, his portrayal rivals that of Val Kilmer in the movie TOMBSTONE, and after awhile you find yourself being very cautious around this hot-tempered, arrogant gambler with the slow, southern drawl.
The Tombstone Courthouse is worth touring. A wondeful old building, you can spend your entire day there if you're not careful looking at antique firearms, old mining tools, a stunning moment by moment dissection of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral done in photo-realistic paintings. My favorite spot was the courtyard (see photo).
Another highlight of Tombstone are the many eating places; our favorite was Nellie Cashman's for fine old-fashioned breakfasts with plenty of choices and large servings, and Big Nosed Kate's for booze, music, and noshings. One memorable night here we witnessed Wyatt Earp and one of the cowboys re-enact the scene between Kurt Russell and Joe Bob Biggs from the beginning of Tombstone right down to the ear-twisting!
Unfortunately the city fathers are trying to put a stop to impromptu scenes like this. They want to make tourists pay for the privelege at the legitimate places and have started citing violators. If they keep going in this direction, they're going to kill off the very thing that makes Tombstone unique, and it will be as sleepy and quiet as it was before the re-enacters and the tourists came to town.