TOMBSTONE. A former silver boomtown located east of the San Pedro River valley in southeastern Arizona, Tombstone is some twenty-five miles north of the Mexican border. Prospector Ed Schieffelin, who discovered silver nearby in 1877, named the site as he did because of remarks by soldiers at Camp Huachuca that the only thing he would find was his tombstone. Large-scale silver production began in 1880. The district yielded about $30 million over the next thirty years and about $8 million thereafter. Politics, feuds, greed, and conflicting town lot claims produced violence that culminated in the 26 October 1881 shootout near the O.K. Corral between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday on one side and the Clantons and McLaurys on the other. Labor strife and flooding curtailed mining operations in the mid-1880s. Despite extensive efforts to pump water out of the underground shafts, nearly all the mines were abandoned by 1911. Tombstone's population declined from 5,300 in 1882 to 849 in 1930. In 1929 the Cochise County seat was moved from Tombstone to Bisbee. With the publication of Walter Noble Burns's Tombstone, an Iliad of the Southwest (1927) and Stuart Lake's Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal (1931), along with the institution of the town's first Hell-dorado Days celebration in 1929, Tombstone capitalized on its notoriety as The Town Too Tough to Die. Subsequent books, motion pictures, and television shows have enhanced its reputation as a place where legends of the Old West were played out. The town became a national historic landmark in 1962, and is a major tourist attraction. Its population was 1,504 in 2000.
Marks, Paula Mitchell. And Die in the West: The Story of the O.K. Corral Gunfight. New York: Morrow, 1989.
Shillingberg, William B. Tombstone, A.T.: A History of Early Mining, Milling, and Mayhem. Spokane, Wash.: Arthur H. Clark, 1999.
Tombstone ★★★ 1993 (R)
Saga of Wyatt Earp and his band of lawabiding large moustaches beat the Kasdan/Costner vehicle to the big screen by several months. Legendary lawman Wyatt (Russell) moves to Tombstone, Arizona, aiming to start a new life with his brothers, but alas, that's not to be. The infamous gunfight at the OK Corral is here, and so is best buddy Doc Holliday, gunslinger and philosopher, a role designed for scenery chewing (Kilmer excels). Romance is supplied by actress Josephine, though Delany lacks the necessary romantic spark. Russell spends a lot of time looking troubled by the violence while adding to the body count. Too selfconscious, suffers from ‘90s western revisionism, but blessed with a high energy level thanks to despicable villains Lang, Biehn, and Boothe. 130m/C VHS, DVD . Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, Sam Elliott, Dana Delany, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Stephen Lang, Jason Priestley, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Billy Zane, Thomas Haden Church, Joanna Pacula, Michael Rooker, Harry Carey Jr., Billy Bob Thornton, Charlton Heston, Robert John Burke, John Corbett, Buck Taylor, Terry O'Quinn, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Chris Mitchum, Jon Tenney; D: George P. Cosmatos; W: Kevin Jarre; C: William A. Fraker; M: Bruce Broughton; Nar: Robert Mitchum.
Tombstone, city (1990 pop. 1,220), Cochise co., SE Ariz.; inc. 1881. With its pleasant climate and legendary past, Tombstone is a well-known tourist attraction. The city became a national historic landmark in 1962. Silver was discovered there in 1877 by Ed Schieffelin, a prospector, who two years later laid out and named the city. Tombstone quickly became one of the richest and most lawless mining towns in the Southwest. Its newspaper, Epitaph, was first published in 1880. The city was county seat from 1881 to 1929. Large-scale mining ended by 1890. Among Tombstone's many picturesque landmarks are Boot Hill Graveyard, where many desperados are buried; Bird Cage Theater, now a museum; and O.K. Corral, scene of a climactic gun battle between the Clanton gang and Wyatt Earp, his brother Virgil, and Doc Holliday. The city's violent past is reenacted each year at the 3-day Helldorado celebrations. Nearby are the beautiful Dragoon Mts., onetime stronghold of the Native American chief Cochise.
tomb·stone / ˈtoōmˌstōn/ • n. 1. a large, flat inscribed stone standing or laid over a grave. 2. (also tombstone advertisement or tombstone ad) an advertisement listing the underwriters or firms associated with a new issue of securities.
Tomb·stone / ˈtoōmˌstōn/ a historic frontier city in southeastern Arizona, the site of the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral; pop. 1,220.