Tombstone History Archives

 Chronicles of Tombstone's TurbulEnt Years

End Notes To “Mythmaker


by Gary L. Roberts




1. Frank Waters, The Earp Brothers of Tombstone (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1960): 3-10.


2. This use of the term “Wyatt Earp syndrome” is not synonymous with the term as used by C. L. Sonnichsen in veral articles.


3. Loren Estleman, author of Bloody Season (a novel about Tombstone) and a target of Glenn Boyer’s in recent years1 struck close to the truth in 1994 when he wrote: “Specialist historians, for whom color and consistency of the lint in Morgan Earp’s pocket carries greater significance than the moral and political climate of America’s most volatile era, squander their scholarship on poison-pen letters to obscure publications whenever a writer unknown to them trespasses on their staked-out territory.” Introduction to the Pocket Books Reprint Stuart N. Lake, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal (New York: Pocket Books, 1994): xvi.


4. Gary L. Roberts, “The West’s Gunmen: II,” The American West, 8 March, 1972): 61-62.


5. Jeffrey J. Morey, “The Curious Vendetta of Glenn G. Boyer,” Quarterly of the National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History. XVIII (1994): 22- 28; Jack Burrows to the Editor, True West, 42 (March 1995): 4.


6. Glenn G. Boyer, The Suppressed Murder of Wyatt Earp (San Antonio: The Naylor Co., 1967).


7. Ibid., p. xviii-xix.


8. Burton Rascoe, Belle Starr, The Bandit Queen (New York: Random House, 1941): 3-13. See also Ramon F. Adams, A Fitting Death for Billy the Kid (Norman: University of 0klahoma Press, 1960): 102-140; and Roberts, “West’s Gunmen,” pp.61-62.


9. Glenn G. Boyer, An Illustrated Life of Doc Holliday (Glenwood Springs, Colorado: The Reminder Press, 1966).


10. “Introduction” to re-release of Ibid., 1989.


11. Ibid.


12. Gary L. Roberts to Glenn Boyer, February 26, 1969; Boyer to GLR, March 9, 1969; GLR to Boyer, April 1, 1969; Boyer to GLR, undated, 1969, from Author’s files.


13. GLR to Boyer, December 30, 1969; Gene Gressley to GLR, February 18, 1970 (with enclosures); GLR to Boyer, March 17, 1970; Boyer to GLR, undated, 1970. Author’s files.


14. Boyer to GLR, undated, 1970, Author’s files.


15. Boyer, Illustrated Life, pp.8-10.


16. Mabel E. Deutrich to GLR, January 6, 1970, Author’s files.


17. Boyer to GLR, undated, 1970, Author’s files.


18. Elmer 0. Parker to GLR, February 3, 1972, Author’s files.


19. Elaine C. Everly to GLR, June 3, 1974, Author’s files.


20. Boyer to Susan MeKey Thomas, June 15, 1974, copy in Author’s files.


21. Glenn G. Boyer, editor, I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press): 247- 256.


22. Larry Tritten, “On the Trail of Wyatt Earp,” The American Legion Magazine, 137 (October 1994): 70.


23. Glenn G. Boyer, “Response from Glenn G. Boyer,” NOLA Quarterly, XIX (January-March, 1995): 24A.


24. Wyatt S. Earp, Wyatt Earp’s Autobiography. Edited by Glenn 0. Boyer (Sierra Vista, Arizona: Loma V. Bissette, 1981).


25. Glenn G. Boyer, “Postscripts to Historical Fiction about Wyatt Earp in Tombstone,” Arizona and the West 18 (Autumn, 1976): 217-236; A. W. Bork and Glenn G. Boyer, “The 0. K. Corral Fight at Tombstone: A Footnote by Kate Elder,” Arizona and the West 19 (Spring, 1977): 65-84.


26. A complete review of the literature is beyond the scope of this article. For the controversy with the Western Writers of America, see issues of The Roundup from February to October, 1968. Especially important is Boyer’s “The Pen Outdraws the Gun,” in the April, 1968 issue, pp.5-6. It is an especially cogent piece in which he affirms the position he took early in Suppressed Murder effectively. His troubles with the Tombstone Epitaph (National Edition) over his effort to expose Wayne Montgomery is detailed in the Epitaph in 1977 from February to July. This controversy led to a lawsuit by Boyer which resulted in a settlement which is detailed in the Tombstone Epitaph Journal, August, 1980.


27. Glenn G. Boyer, Wyatt Earp’s Tombstone Vendetta (Honolulu: Talei Publishers, Inc., 1993).


28. See Morey, “Curious Vendetta,” for an interesting analysis.


29. Videotape of Boyer’s presentation, WOLA, 1994.


30. Glenn G. Boyer, “Wyatt Earp, Legendary American,” True West, 40-41 (October, 1993-September, 1994).


31. Boyer “Legendary American: Tombstone’s Helen of Troy,” (July 1994): 17. This “interview” should have raised more suspicion because it is peppered with profanities unlikely to find their way into a nineteenth century journalist’s interview.


32. Glenn G. Boyer, “The Boyer Response NOLA Wouldn’t Let You See,” Newsletter of the Western Outlaw- Lawman History Association, IV (Spring/ Summer 1995): 5-7.


33. Boyer, Vendetta, pp. xvi-xix; Boyer, “NOLA Response,” p. 24D; Boyer, WOLA Response,” p.6.


34. Boyer, “WOLA Response,” p.6.


35. ibid.


36. Glenn G. Boyer, Wyatt Earp: Facts, Volume Three, Trailing an American Myth and Those Marryin’ Earp Men (Rodeo, N. M.: Historical Research Associates. 1997): 6n.


37. Glenn G. Boyer Curly Bill Has Been Killed at Last, Volume IV Wyatt Earp, Family, Friends, & Foes (Rodeo, N.M.: Historical Research Associates, 1997): 7n.


38. Bob Candland, “Boyer, ‘I am not an Historian,”‘ Tombstone Tumbleweed, XI (October 16, 1997): M2.


39. Ibid.


40. Boyer, “Legendary American: Tombstone’s Helen of Troy,” p.13.


41. See the Lake Collection at the Huntington Library and the Hart Collection at the Los Angles County Museum of Natural History. Also useful are the letters of Mabel Earp Cason to Eleanor B. Sloan, Historical Secretary, Arizona Pioneers Historical Society, May 20. September 2, 1959, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson.


42. Glenn G. Boyer, “Editor’s Foreword,” an unpublished early version of his introduction to I Married Wyatt Earp, pp. 1-2, Author’s files.


43. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, pp.51, 255.


44. Mrs. Charles Colyn to GLR, November29, 1970, Author’s files. See also her letter to Boyer, December 9, 1965, Suppressed Murder, pp.107-108.


45. Glenn G. Boyer. “Trailing an American Myth,” Real West (January, 1981): 14-22.


46. Boyer, Earp Facts, Volume Three, p. 12n.


47. Boyer, “Editor’s Foreword,” pp.1-2.


48. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, pp.51- 52.


49. Boyer, Earp Facts, Volume Three, p. 12n


50. Glenn G. Boyer, Who Killed John Ringo (Rodeo, N. M.: Historical Research Associates, 1997): 2-4.


51. ibid., p. 3n.


52. Boyer, “NOLA Response,” p. 24D.


53. Boyer to Mullin, January 18,1977, Mullin Collection, J. Evetts Haley History Center, Midland, Texas, quoted in Morey, “Curious Vendetta”, p.25 copy in Author’s files.


54. Boyer, “Legendary American,” (July 1994), p.13.


55. Boyer, Earp Facts, Volume Three, p. 12n.


56. Boyer, “Trailing an American Myth,” p.15.


57. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, p.266.


58. Boyer, Earp Facts, Volume Three, p. 5; Boyer, “Legendary American, Tombstone’s Helen of Troy,” p.13.


59. Glenn G. Boyer to Stuart N. Lake, undated 1955, Stuart Lake Collection, Box # I, Folder #73, Huntington Library, quoted in full in Morey, “Curious Vendetta,” pp.24-25.


60. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, pp.34- 36.


61. Boyer, “Postscripts,” p.227-230.


62. Boyer, “Legendary American, Tombstone, 1881,” (May, 1994): 18.


63. William M. Breakenridge, Helldorado: Bringing Law to the Mesquite (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1928): 212-213.


64. Casey Tefertiller, “Resolving Earp Myths,” NOLA Quarterly, XXI (October- December 1977): 3.


65. This article, without attribution as to source, first appeared in Walter Noble Bums, Tombstone: An Illiad of the Southwest (New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1927): 171-172. Breakenridge, Helldorado, p.212-213 makes it appear that the story is part of the Star account of March 24.


66. Tefertiller, “Earp Myths,” p.3, borne out by my own research on the subject.


67. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, pp.84- 85.


68. W. R. McLaury to D. D. Applegate, November 9, 1881, New-York Historical Society


69. Tefertiller, “Earp Myths,” pp.4-S.


70. Silver City (N.M.) New Southwest and Grant County Herald, August 20, September 3, 1881. Also check the sources cited in Casey Terfertiller, Wyatt Earp, The Life Behind the Legend (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997): pp.97-100.


71. Jack Ganzhorn, I’ve Killed Men (New York: Devin-Adair Company, 1959): 26-27 (This is from the first American edition of a book published in England in 1940); Carl W. Breihan and Wayne Montgomery, Forty Years on the Wild Frontier (Greenwich, Conn: Devin- Adair, Publishers, 1985): 68-71


72. For sources, see note 25.


73. Boyer, Vendetta, p. 221; Boyer, “Legendary American,” (July 1994), p. 17.


74. Wayne Montgomery, “The Missing Revolver,” Frontier Times, 40 (February- March 1966): 43, 61-64; and “I Witnessed the OK Corral Fight,” True West, 18 (January-February, 1971): 62- 63.


75. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, pp. 124, 127.


76. Josephine Earp, Mabel Earp Cason, and Vinnolia Earp Ackerman, “She Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Earp.” Copy of a typescript in the C. Lee Simmons Collection, pp. 233-234.


77. Boyer, I Married Wyatt Earp, pp.124, 127.


78. See documentation in Morey, “Curious Vendetta,” p.27.


79. Earp, Cason, Ackerman, “She Married Wyatt Earp,” p.186.


80. John D. Gilchriese, “The Odyssey of Virgil Earp,” Tombstone Epitaph, National Edition, Fall, 1968. For other examples of the same tactic used by Boyer see Morey, “Curious Vendetta,” pp.23-24.


81. Boyer, Who Killed Ringo, pp.2,7.


82. Boyer, ed., Wyatt Earp’s Autobiography, pp. iv-v


83. Boyer, Who Killed Ringo, p.14.


84. See Bob Boze Bell, The Illustrated Life and Times of Wyatt Earp (Phoenix: Tr Star Boze Publications, Inc., 1993). Even Boyer, Wyatt Earp: Facts, Volume Two (Rodeo, N.M.: Historical Research Associates, 1996): 1-6, is unclear, attributing it to a woman whose last name he is not sure of and concluding simply, “If it isn’t Josie, it ought to be.”


85. Glenn G. Boyer, “Morgan Earp–Brother in the Shadow,” Old West, 20 ( Winter, 1983); 16-20; “Those Marryin’ Earp Men,” True West, 23 (March-April, 1976): 14-21, 36; Earp Facts, Three, pp. 29-45. The Noah Rose quote is from Ed Bartholomew, Wyatt Earp, the Man & the Myth (Toyahvale, Texas: The Frontier Book Co., 1964): 67. Mrs. Wyatt Earp to Stuart N. Lake, April 26, 1929, Lake Collection, Folder 36, explicitly states, “… you will be somewhat pleased… I believe, when I tell you that I have found a portrait of Morgan Earp and also one of James; it makes me feel that, after all, my efforts were not without reward.”


86. To appreciate the importance of this, consider these examples, John Daniel Daily, “The Gunfight Next to Fly’s Boarding House,” Denver Westerners’ Roundup, XLIX (May-June, 1993): 3-20 presents a cogent argument that the Earps committed perjury at the Spicer hearing, based largely on Boyer’s argument–supposedly from Josephine Earp–that Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp precipitated the fight. Without that source, Dailey’s argument collapses. An even more insidious example is the impact of Boyer’s work on Richard Maxwell Brown’s coverage of Tombstone in No Duty to Retreat: Violence and Va1ues in American History and Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991): 74-86. He relies heavily on Boyer for his conclusions, Paul Andrew Hutton, “Showdown at the Hollywood Corral,” Montana, the Magazine of Western History, 45 (Summer, 1995): 2- 31 acknowledges criticism of Boyer but still relies on Boyer for some of his interpretations. Consider also the trilogy of Michael M. Hickey, Street Fight in Tombstone, “Los Dos Pistoleros Earp,” and The Cowboy Conspiracy to Convict the Earps (Honolulu: Talei Publishers, Inc., 1991, 1993, 1994), which are all derivative from Boyer. In short, Boyer’s work is so enmeshed into the literature that if it is discredited virtually everything written since I Married Wyatt Earp was published is suspect to the extent that its conclusions are based on material drawn from Boyer.


87. Note, for example, Boyer’s comments about Joseph W. Snell and Nyle H. Miller in “Legendary American: The Wichita Lawman,” pp. 16-17. Yet without their Why the West Was Wild (Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1963), his section on Kansas would be thin indeed.


88. Even a casual review of “Legendary American” and the endless array of photographs that should credit to others. In Earp Facts, Volume Three, p.32, Boyer, in describing the flap over the Newton Earp family photograph published in the San Francisco Examiner in 1994, says that the photo first appeared in “Those Marryin’ Earp Men” in 1976. Actually, the photo was first published in my article, “Some Notes on Newton J. Earp,” The 1962 Brand Book of the Denver Posse of the Westerners. Edited by John J. Lipsey (Denver: Johnson Publishing Co, 1963): 49, along with other photographs provided me by Mrs. Frank S. McKenzie, Newton’s granddaughter.


89. See Morey, “Curious Vendetta,” pp. 22-23, for a few examples of a practice common in his work.


90. Edwin V. Burkholder, “The Truth About Wyatt Earp,” Argosy (July, 1955): 21-23; 64-70. Burkholder later worked for Real West as author and editor. He wrote for that publication under the pseudonyms, “George Carleton Mays” and “J.S. Qualey.” See, for example, George Carleton Mays, “What Really Happened at the OK Corral,” Real West, I (January, 1958): 14-17, 50-51. Burkholder was also accused of making up letters to the editor purporting to be from old timers.


91. Rogers S. Peterson to Terry “Ike” Clanton, January 25, 1998,


92. Boyer, “WOLA Response,” p.7.


93. Boyer, “Introduction” to re-release of Illustrated Life, p.2.


94. Tombstone Tumbleweed, October 16, 1997


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