Wyatt Earp is one of those Western cowboy legends whose real life was as exciting as the fiction about him. His father was a mean drunk, and Earp ran away several times as a teen in an attempt to fight in the Civil War — but he never made it to battle. Earp lost his young wife and unborn child to typhus around 1870, a tragedy that sent him careening into horse thievery and other criminal activity. He proved to have a flexible moral code, working as a bouncer at a brothel in Wichita, Kansas, while also arresting law-breakers as a part-time police officer. In 1879, he joined a couple of his brothers in Tombstone, Arizona, where he was involved in the infamous 1881 gunfight at the OK Corral that killed some of his associates and injured his best friend, Doc Holliday. In the name of justice, Earp went on a killing spree that left an indelible mark in the annals of Western frontier history.
Author Mark Warren takes on the scope of Earp’s life in his exhaustively researched historical fiction trilogy. Adobe Moon (2017) follows Earp from his adolescence in Iowa to his twenties in Kansas. Earp meets Holliday in Born to the Badge (2018). And in the just-published third book, Promised Land (Five Star Publishing, 332 pages, $25.95), Tombstone is experiencing a silver strike and an influx of cattle-rustling Texans. Earp and his brothers walk the tightrope as part of Tombstone’s law enforcement, as well as its seedy underbelly.
Warren reads from and signs copies of Promised Land at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Collected Works Bookstore (202 Galisteo St.). Admission is free. For more information, call 505-988-4226 or go to collectedworksbookstore.com.