"He was the most skillful gambler, and the nerviest, fastest, deadliest man with a six-gun I ever saw." - Wyatt Earp, who apparently knew a few things about deadly men.
When old men and young boys talk about the Old West... few characters dominate the conversation like Doc... the orginal fatalist.
"Live like you were dyin' " is a cute phraze sung by a manicured pretty-boy pretending to be a cowboy. But Doc... Doc Holliday was dyin'... and he lived like it. He came to the sensible conclusion that for a man damned to a slow, painful, degrading death... A quick end should be preferable.
Would that we could see that so clearly today.
It's amazing what a man who has no fear of death can do. Every enemy of the Earps that died at the OK Corral was shot at least one time by Doc. Johnny Tyler pulled a gun on Doc in a saloon, and before he could shoot.... Doc snatched out his blade and disembowelled him. Apparently bringin' a knife to a gun fight wasn't such a bad deal for ol' Doc.
What isn't told about Doc is that at least 3 times he tried to settle down... in fact he even hung out his shingle a few times... returning to his previous profession as a dentist.
Ordinary life just couldn't hold the man's interest though... and besides... young punks kept wanting to get shot.
When I think about all the stories.. I wonder... just who was the best? Doc? Wyatt? What about the James boys? On the surface it may be a simpe... as we all have our favorites... but... aw hell... ya know... I wouldn't really wanna know the answer... even if I could.
Me and ol' Jim are gonna need somethin' to talk about when we finaly settle our bourbon and pistol disputes.
Till then... Bookers... Springfield... and Doc Holliday says I.