MANY GUNFIGHTS AT THE O.K. CORRAL – Marilyn Armstrong

The first movie I remember seeing with my mom was “Gunfight at OK Corral.”

It was a busy day at the Utopia Theater which was a small movie house. There were hardly any seats left by the time we got there, having walked from home. I had a non-driving mom who believed in healthy outdoor exercise.

Wyatt Earp at about age 33.
Wyatt Earp at 33. (Photo: Wikipedia)

We found a seat in the second row. Burt and Kirk had heads 20 feet high. It left an indelible mark on my mind. I became an O.K. Corral aficionado, catching each new version of the story as it was cranked out by Hollywood. When videotaped movies became available, I caught up with all earlier versions, too.

I stayed with “Gunfight” as my favorite for a long time. Maybe I’m just fond of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. Garry generally favors “My Darling Clementine” but he is a John Ford fan.

In 1993, along came “Tombstone.” One viewing and it was my favorite version of the gunfight story. A few more viewings and it morphed into my favorite western. There are a lot of contenders for second place.

I don’t love it for its historical accuracy, though It is nominally more accurate than other movie versions. It omits more than it includes, but if you are looking for accuracy, you should consider reading a book. There are quite a few written and some are excellent. The Earps were a wild and crazy family. Doc Holliday was even wilder and crazier.

They were a lot wilder and crazier than depicted in any movie made about them. They are always shown as lawmen, but in those strangely shady days, there was an exceedingly thin line between law enforcers and lawbreakers. The Earps fell on both sides of it, depending on which account you’re reading.

English: John Henry "Doc" Holliday, ...
John Henry “Doc” Holliday (Photo: Wikipedia)

They were all lethal and no more honest then they needed to be.

There were also other Earp brothers who are left out of the story, maybe because they weren’t in the peacekeeping business. Dad was a real piece of work and deserves a movie of his own. Although I tend to be prickly about historical details, I do not watch westerns for historical accuracy. There are just some genres that don’t work if you are searching for accuracy and westerns are a big one.

I watch westerns because I love horses, deserts, the great blue sky of the west, and dusty old towns with wooden sidewalks. Really, I will watch anything about horses. You could just run films of horses in a field and I’d watch that too.

Tombstone

Next, I love westerns because when I was growing up watching Johnny Mack Brown movies on the old channel 13 (before it became PBS) in New York, I always knew the guys in black hats were villains and the ones in white hats were heroes. It appealed to my 8-year old need for moral simplicity.

In westerns, revenge and righteous violence are good, clean fun. Not merely acceptable, but desirable. In the Old West, when you find a bad guy, get out the six-shooter, shotgun, or both — and mow’em down. Justice is quick and permanent. Without guilt. You can be a wimp in real life, but watching “Tombstone,” as Kurt, Val and the gang cut a swathe of blood and death across the southwest — I cheer them on.

“Tombstone” is deliciously violent. The gunfight at O.K. corral is merely the beginning. There’s a deeply satisfying amount of killing to follow. I revel in it. When Kurt Russell declares that he’s coming for them and Hell will follow … I am there. Yes, kill the bastards. It’s so cathartic!

Garry and I made a personal pilgrimage to Tombstone.

Tombstone shopping

I have argued with people who keep saying the movie was filmed on a sound stage. Unless everyone in Tombstone was the victim of a mass hallucination  — note that mass hallucinations are not nearly as common as Hollywood suggests — during which time a movie company rebuilt the town to look like historical Tombstone, then the movie was  filmed in “Tombstone.

I have pictures of Tombstone. We bought tee shirts. It was our favorite part of a long summer’s vacation in Arizona. Although there may have been some re-shooting on a set, the bulk of the film was shot in Tombstone. It was and remains the only thing of note to happen there in the past 100 years.

August was not the best time to visit, but our host worked. It was hard to find a good time to visit. The mercury climbed to 124 and never dropped below 120 while the sun shined. It was a heat wave, but heat waves seem to be pretty common there.

I think that’s why they invented awnings over the wooden sidewalks. It certainly isn’t to keep the rain off.

It was painfully hot. Maybe that how come everyone was shooting everyone else. Who wouldn’t want to shoot people living in that heat without air conditioning? It makes one cranky.

I don’t watch movies for a dose of reality. I have plenty of reality. I watch westerns for escape and entertainment. Westerns let me immerse myself in a kind of violence I normally abhor but somehow when they are shooting their 145th bullet from a six-gun, I forgive them.

IT ALL LINES UP – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday: PATTERNS

I like the patterns formed by nature. Rows of trees all lined up. Rows of matching (identical?) houses. Brownstones in the city.

Bricks and angles on Beacon Hill
Saguaro cacti lined up along the edge of the mountains

Rows of boats in the marina. Ripples of waves near the shore. Palm trees all lined up.

 

 

MORE SPIKY SQUARES FROM THE SUPERSTITIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

SPIKY MARCH SQUARES

Once I got to editing, cacti and other pointy things just went mad in my pointy brain! So here are some more square yet pointy, spiky, jagged pictures … and keep them away from your eyes! You could put your eye out with one of those pointy things!

I don’t even know what these are. Maybe the edges of young ironwood tree?
Cactus! Let’s not always see the same hands!

Those are some amazing barbs, too. You get close to these and they hop right on to your pants legs. These are jumpers!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things and that’s certainly one of them.

THE SUPERSTITIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

The Superstitions: Most Jagged Mountains – 03/19/19

The Superstitions, known locally (I am told) as “The Supes” are a heap of jagged rocks. Nothing except cactus grows there. Maybe the odd bit of ironwood too. It’s pretty barren and very harsh.

Perfect for this challenge!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things and that’s certainly one of them.

PLACES WE’VE VISITED – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Visit


We honeymooned in Ireland. That was definitely special!

Gotta love the bullet holes in the signs, all of which are in Irish … and all the maps were in English. I didn’t put the holes there, but I could see the point.

Then, we went to California. Remarkably, I don’t have any pictures. I think that was one of the times I was between cameras. When I first got back from Israel, I didn’t get a decent camera for a bunch of years. The one I took to Ireland was a cheapie and I really wish I’d spent money on something better.

Three mountains in Arizona

We went to Arizona — twice and Vermont, also twice.

Mountainous

We also went to Florida a couple of times and Disney World twice.

Attean View – Sunset – Jackman, Maine

And Maine — maybe half a dozen times? And the Cape, of course. And Ogunquit.

Sunrise in Rockport and Ogunquit …

Golden sky in Rockport

And most of the time, we’ve just stayed home and enjoyed the scenery!

RUGGEDLY SILENT – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Tuesday – RUGGED and FOWC with Fandango — Silent

Rugged and silent, the Superstitions loom over the bleak desert near Phoenix, Arizona

Following them … and not by much of a distance, either … were a mixed bag of posse wannabes. A few professional lawmen, a clutch of bounty hunters, and anyone else that had a gun and a horse and could be drug up by the sheriff and the railroad people.

A cactus sunset near the Superstitions

The horses were exhausted and it wouldn’t be long before they collapsed unless they were allowed to stop, rest, drink, eat. For that matter, it wouldn’t be much longer before they, themselves, collapsed.

Whose idea was this, anyway? They could have hit a bank or a Wells Fargo shipment. Hell, they could have hit half a dozen stagecoaches without setting off this kind of frenzy. It was those railroad guys. They really didn’t like bandits. Which they were. Damn.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

It was getting dark, now. The sun was setting over the mountains. Where could they go? Ahead were the Superstitions … and there was nothing up there but jagged rocks. Where was water? Some grass for the horses and a place to lay themselves down and breathe.

In the distance, they could hear the hoofbeats of oncoming horses. They looked into the fading sun and they knew.

It was over. For good, this time.

ARIZONA SUNSETS – Marilyn Armstrong

ARIZONA SUNSETS – Marilyn Armstrong


I was amazed at the sunsets everywhere in Arizona. Maybe it was because it never rained, but the colors were amazing. Just when I thought they couldn’t be better, the subsequent night would be even more extraordinary.

And so it went from one night to the next night, glorious sunset after sunset. In the mountains and even from city streets. Some nights, the sunset was so red it turned the mountains red, too.

Sunset – Phoenix