Wyatt Earp is probably the most infamous gunman to emerge from America’s Old West. He is mostly remembered for his part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral that saw the death of three cowboys in just 30-seconds. Earp worked in a number of roles throughout his life; he was a gambler, conman, prospector, and even a Hollywood film consultant, so it’s quite shocking how factually inaccurate the movies that depict him are. But it shouldn’t always be about the famed gun-totter though, so get to know the greatest sheriffs in these Wyatt Earp movies.
Sheriff Cotton Wilson, “Gunfight at the OK Corral”
Renowned for being factually inaccurate, John Sturges’ epic shows the fight to be a medium-ranged, heavily armed shootout rather than the face-to-face, 30 second encounter it actually was. So, maybe we shouldn’t regard Frank Faylen’s portrayal of Cotton Wilson as the definitive account, with the veteran lawman having reached the end of his patience and all but given up.
Sheriff Johnny Behan, “Wyatt Earp”
Mark Harmon stars as Johnny Behan, the sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona, whose wife, Josephine Marcus, is seduced by Wyatt Earp. Josephine later leaves Johnny for Wyatt and Johnny remains as the sheriff of the town during the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which he later testified to at great lengths.
Wyatt Earp, “My Darling Clementine”
John Ford is regarded as a cinematic deity in Hollywood due to his sterling work during the golden era of American filmmaking. “My Darling Clementine” is his look at the rivalry between the Earp brothers and the Clanton gang. It sees Wyatt taking the job of town Marshall as he looks to avenge the death of his younger brother James by meeting with local powers in the town. Once again it’s factually inaccurate but is a damn good watch.
Sheriff Johnny Behan, “Tombstone”
Jon Tenney’s Johnny Behan is shown to have a strong allegiance to Wyatt Earp’s cowboy rivals who threaten Wyatt, his brothers, and Doc throughout the move with our main man finally coming out on top at the end…naturally.