The Rockhopper Posse


Shootout at the OK Corral: A Summary

Original story by Amy Murphy. Used by permission.

Our findings are based on these websites

An Excellent Reference Site with Historical Research and Information

The Aftermath of Tombstone (from the above site)

The McLaury Brother's Tombstone Story pt. III

The Testimony of the Sheriff

The Writings of The Crime Library

The Clanton Gang

Rude Awakening for the Earp Boys

O,K. Corral Gunfight


The Rockhopper Posse and the Shootout at the O.K. Corral

The scene... The Hills, just outside of Tombstone ... sage brush an’ tumbleweeds are blowin’ ‘cross the dusty earth, coyotes are howlin’ at the moon which shines it’s light over the desert floor, and desert creatures o’ the night can be heard rustlin’ about. Four figur’s bent and huddled near the firelight from a campfire can be seen in the distance. By the shadows o’ the beaks that come outta their hats you can be certain it ain’t no other group than..... The Rockhopper Posse..

Chinstrap Derrel, Humboldt Shelby, Magellanic Tam and Adelie Am were wrappin’ up the case between the Earps and the Clanton’s and McLaury’s. Mind y’all, the Rockhopper Posse don’t refer to jumpin’ or skippin’ rocks, but t’ the reputation of them posse folk. Y’see those four got such a name fer themselves because their mind’s was as cold and sharp as steel. They could figur out anythin’ what was set to ‘em. An’ the only thing cold round these parts was them pictures in the local saloon a’ those feathered creatures from way down yonder in the icy south.. sometimes referred to as Penguins.. all huddled up an’ all. That’s how the match was made, and them four was referred to as Rockhoppers from early on...

Anywho... the Rockhopper Posse was hired to finish up the case an’ set ever’one straight. This is what they found.

Magellanic Tam poured the coffee as Humboldt Shelby leaned forward to stir the fire and began.

"I think Ike and Doc are guilty of initiatin’ this whole thing and the result was bloodshed for ever’one.” Chinstrap Derrel and Adelie Am pondered over her thinkin’ and nodded slowly.

Chinstrap chimed in, “That's what I see -- mutual culpability. If this were a stagecoach accident, who would get charged for the re-pairs?" Magellanic nodded, leaned back into her bed roll and replied,

"And even though it is reported that Doc shot first, no one could ever confirm that. He just had the first wound. Besides, Earp's group was shot up as well. They just weren't shot enough to die."

Chinstrap stared into the fire as Adelie moved out of the smoke and he asked again, "Stagecoach accident, wouldn't both get fined?”

Adelie sat down again, next to Magellanic, and continued the puzzle. “That’s right, Chin, and be-sides, hadn’t we better look a little more at what was goin’ on before the shootout? Seems there was quite a bit of instigatin’ on both sides.”

Chinstrap nodded and said, “We know that thar sure was a lot a mighty hard words and happ’nin’s b’tween these groups afore one shot was even fired. ‘Member that Earp had given McLaury a lashin’ fer bein’ armed in town, but didn’t actually find any guns? That couldn’t a’ helped things and prob’ly contributed to the risin’ a’ hot blood. Not only that but earlier durin’ the summer, those Clanton’s were heard makin’ all sorts a’ threats and talkin’ bad ‘bout the Earps. Jus’ stirrin’ ever’thin’ up.”

“Right,” Adelie agreed, “and didn’tchya say that Ike had been all over town de-nouncin’ the Earps and Holiday, claimin’ to do them violence? Sounds like both parties involved were a little trigger happy that day. No big surprise that shots were fired all over the place.”

Humboldt poked at the fire again and laid things out for the Rockhopper Posse to see clearly.
“Okay, so what we have here are some low-down cattle rustlers and general thieves and rufians, and a group of law-abidin’ (fer the most part) men, lawmen and a sharp-shootin’ gambler; pretty upset at each other, makin’ threats at each other, in kinda a tit-for-tat relationship until things got outta hand and sparks really flew.”

“Don’t forget the complaint though, that the Earps and Holiday were all armed but only two of the others were,” added Magellanic. Chinstrap, Adelie and Humboldt all nodded into their coffee mugs.

Adelie stirred the fire and added, “That’s right, but quite a few people found it interestin’ that the unarmed boys were able to wound the Earps.” Magellanic smiled over her mug at Adelie while Humboldt and Chinstrap fired their “finger pistols” at each other and then played dead.

“All right you feather-brains,” Magellanic teased, “We’ve been hired for a reason and we’ve got to get the verdict back to town by sun-up. So where do we stand?”

“I think we’re all in agreement that the blame lies with both parties and that each was responsible for the events leading up to the shootout,” Chinstrap offered.

“Agreed,” replied Adelie.
“Agreed,” stated Magellanic.
“Agreed,” said Humboldt.

The fire crackled as the Rockhopper Posse shook the last drops of coffee into the flames. The four settled into their bedrolls for the night and gazed up at the night sky. The moon had traveled from the sky and only stars remained, dozens of them. As their eyes drifted from Orion, the Hunter, to Ursa Major a strange constellation caught the attention of the posse. It seemed as if they, themselves, were represented in the sky. The four sat up and pointed simultaneously to what appeared to be a group of penguins huddled near a woman attempting to herd an exorbitant number of felines. The four Rockhoppers fell back into their bedrolls holding their bellies and laughed heartily.

Their modern-day counterparts concur. After reading and deliberation in Tapped In and Instant Messaging, we find the above to be our stand in the matter. To address the journey to our findings...
We collaborated, we researched, we conversed but wanted to do more reading, we looked at websites, we inquired of friends who knew the story, we referred to stories, movies, newspaper articles, testimonials, and transcripts.

The final discussion was quick. We shared information from our research and brought our views together into one and concurred on supporting evidence. In effect, we built collaborated knowledge from our individual experiences and now share that knowledge with you, the reader. While our short story is brief, it highlights the key factors that led us to our decision. Links below will take you to the various places we found most interesting in our research.

The Rockhopper Posse

Chinstrap a.k.a Derrel, Humboldt a.k.a. Shelby, Magellanic a.k.a. Tammy, and Adelie a.k.a. Amy

Original Transcript Follows:
DerrelF projects shootout.
Based on the testimony of the sherrif ( and the writings of the The Crime Library (, this looks more like an accident based on bad blood between the two rather than an intentional act. Both had culpability for the circumstances leading to the meeting. However, it seems the Earp group shot first at a group of which only a couple were armed. In that scenario, the Earp group is the bad guys.
TammyAF says, "Let's go now. We basically need to construct a paragraph."
TammyAF says, "Some reports say they shot first because of people moving
their hands quickly. They thought the clanton gang was drawing guns."
TammyAF says, "So therefore, they did it in self defense."
ShelbyM says, "I think they ike and doc are guilty and the result was..everyone getting involved"
ShelbyM says, "seld defense or just kind of started and snowballed from there"
TammyAF says, "Obviously no one was an angel."
ShelbyM says, "out of everything I read the only truths that I see is that like Tammy angels"
DerrelF asks, "That's what I see--mutual culpability. If this were an auto accident, who would get the ticket?"
TammyAF says, "And besides, Earp's group was shot up as well. They jsut weren't shot enough to die."
DerrelF asks, "Wouldn't both get a ticket?"
ShelbyM says, "right"
ShelbyM asks, "I think?"
ShelbyM says, "the police chief was even in on it..not much has changed since the wild west huh"
ShelbyM says, "I think its important to look at the different sites and discuss the truths..."
ShelbyM says, "you can debate everything else until the cows come home"
TammyAF says, "Considering the time period though....the trial showed that the Earps acted within the law"
TammyAF says, "So for those times....they were not guilty, but rather getting rid of some hoodlums."
ShelbyM says, "really? what site did you use"
DerrelF says, "But should we look at it through the lens of that time, or through the lens our our time."
ShelbyM says, "Derrel..I love always make me think outside my box"
DerrelF blushes
ShelbyM says, "I would think their's since that is when the story was told"
TammyAF exclaims, "That's why he's a teacher Shelby!!"
DerrelF says, "But we can also look at it from our perspective."
ShelbyM says, "its a part of their thruth...we can't ignore it..hold on you guys I have a call"
DerrelF says, "We judge many events in history based on current views rather than the views of the time."
TammyAF says, "I think the whole thing could have been avoided, but no one took that initiative to do that."
TammyAF says, "Clanton could be at fault for just building this thing up."
DerrelF asks, "So, the question is "who were the "bad" guys?"
DerrelF says, "A valid answer to that is, "They all were.""
TammyAF says, "In my opinion they all were."
TammyAF asks, "Can we go with that?"
DerrelF says, "I can go with it. Let's get Shelby's take on it when she gets back."
TammyAF says, "I say we should. Especially since it came to consesus that way."
TammyAF says, "Sounds good."
TammyAF asks, "So, what about this paragraph?"
TammyAF asks, "Should one person write it? Should we write it now?"
DerrelF says, "Write it now."
TammyAF says, "OK"
DerrelF says, "Toss out ideas, then we cut and paste."
TammyAF says, "Try to arrive at a consensus within your group arguing your group's collective response to the question posed."
TammyAF says, "6. Develop a paragraph or two arguing your group's decision"
TammyAF says, "We're still waiting for Shelby i guess."
DerrelF says, "So, maybe we should list a few of the provocations on each side, with links, then sum up by pointing out that the shootings were just a minor escalation from what had been going on."
TammyAF says, "So, what do we want to name ourselves...our posse name"
TammyAF asks, "?"
TammyAF says, "That sounds great Derrel. We need to be sure to talk about what each group did wrong to escalate the situation."
TammyAF says, "Let's start with Earp's group...."
DerrelF says, "Ok"
TammyAF says, "Obviously they were the first to shoot."
TammyAF asks, "Did you read anywhere that Clanton and McLaury cocked their pistols first?"
TammyAF says, "When Behan approached them, they did not back down or disarm themselves."
DerrelF asks, "No, I didn't. Did you?"
TammyAF says, "I did read that somewhere."
TammyAF says, "Now I wish I remembered where"
DerrelF says, "Yes, but I thought that was earlier if we look at his testimony"
TammyAF says, "OK"
TammyAF says, "A third Earp mistake was getting Doc involved when they knew about the confrontation with Ike."
DerrelF says, "So, earlier, W. Earp pistol whipped McLaury because he claimed he was armed, but he did not get a gun off o him."
DerrelF says, "That was on October 26, and pointed out in"
ShelbyM says, "ok I'm sorry"
TammyAF says, ""
DerrelF says, "Getting Doc involved was a mistake since he was always spoiling for a fight."
TammyAF says, "this is the site that said about them cocking this
pistols first. However, I wouldn't consider this to valid."
TammyAF says, "there's not much there."
TammyAF asks, "Hi Shelby,how do you feel about who the bad guys are?"
ShelbyM says, "sorry..was"
ShelbyM says, "scanning the tranny"
TammyAF says, "Derrel and I agree, we just wanted to know what you thought."
ShelbyM says, "what do you guys think again"
TammyAF says, "We both said that both were at fault for escalating the shootout and doing nothing to stop it."
ShelbyM says, "doc...ike...virgil..earp..right I agree.."
DerrelF says, "Yeah, Tammy, that site doesn't have much to back it up, and that wasn't in Behan's testimony."
ShelbyM says, "that's the snow ball effect I spoke of earlier"
TammyAF says, "Right...I noticed that when I went back to look at it."
TammyAF says, "OK, so we are all in consensus."
ShelbyM says, "So we are all inagreement"
TammyAF says, "So, we started listing the mistakes of the Earp group."
ShelbyM says, "ok"
TammyAF says, "Then we will do the same for the Clanton group."
ShelbyM says, "let me look at the sights I used..I'll be going back and forth..ok"
ShelbyM says, "Before Ike could find Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp snuck up on Ike and pistol"
ShelbyM says, "whipped him to the ground. He was taken to court and fined $27.50 for carrying firearms in city limits. To no avail, Ike was"
ShelbyM says, "claiming self defense, because of Holliday?s threats against his life. Mean time, Ike?s younger brother Billy and Frank McLaury"
ShelbyM says, "ride into Tombstone to hear of the trouble."
ShelbyM says, "ke and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne are seen outside the Gun shop on Fourth Street. Here Frank"
ShelbyM says, "McLaury begins to show his anger as he learns that his brother Tom has also been pistol whipped by Wyatt Earp for supporting"
ShelbyM says, "Ike Clanton?s claims of self defense"
TammyAF asks, "OK, so where are we at?"
TammyAF asks, "Do we have enough on the Earps?"
TammyAF asks, "Should we go on to the Clantons?"
DerrelF says, "But on October 25, Ike had been going around denouncing the Earps and Holliday, and claiming to do them violence."
ShelbyM says, "earp and gang pistol whipped..that's not nice..we can go th clantons"
ShelbyM says, "earp went looking for them..."
DerrelF says, "Apparently, during the summer there had been plenty of threats against the Earps."
ShelbyM says, "ike didn't look for the earps"
ShelbyM says, "the earps looked for the big mouth"
ShelbyM says, "who it seemed like was all talk"
TammyAF says, "Again, the clanton group did not give up their weapons either, since some of them were armed."
ShelbyM says, "right"
TammyAF says, "Ike was the main escalator in this group, with all his bad mouthing the night before."
DerrelF says, "But not all were armed. A couple were unarmed at the time."
TammyAF says, "correct"
ShelbyM says, "but he still didn't look for them with all his loud talking the earps found him and kicked his butt"
DerrelF says, "Yes, and his friends were not nice people, either."
TammyAF says, "The McLaurys could have left town as they had intended to do, but instead stayed to confront the Earps."
ShelbyM says, "right is just talk until you do something more"
DerrelF says, "And there is speculation that they were gunning for Doc Holliday, which is why they were in the vacant lot."
TammyAF asks, "gunning?"
ShelbyM says, "he's into the story..."
DerrelF exclaims, "Yep, pardner!"
ShelbyM says, "see"
ShelbyM says, "so what do we have so far in contrast to what we need"
TammyAF says, "Ok, so does our blame seem even at this point according to the things we put up."
ShelbyM says, "for the class"
ShelbyM says, "I think so tam"
TammyAF says, "I think we are almost there Shelby"
ShelbyM says, "I'm not rushing just making sure we are on the right track"
TammyAF says, "We just need someone to put this all together from the tranny into a cohesive paragraph and cite some websites."
DerrelF says, "In Earp's testimony, he says, It was generally understood among officers, and those who have information about criminals, that Ike Clanton was a sort of chief among the cowboys; that the Clantons and McLowrys were cattle thieves, and generally in the secrets of the stage robbers; and that the Clanton and McLowrvs ranches were the meeting place, and place of shelter for the gang."
TammyAF asks, "What are you wanting to pull from this Derrel?"
ShelbyM says, "just a bunch of dirty people"
TammyAF asks, "that the Clantons/McLaurys are theives?"
TammyAF asks, "Sort of deserved some sort of justice?"
DerrelF says, "Ah, no... Looking at Earp's view of them and his possible motives."
ShelbyM says, " they had something coming to them because of their lifestyle"
ShelbyM says, "That's what I was thinking one's lifestyle speaks to their motives"
ShelbyM says, "and way of thinking"
TammyAF says, "do we need motives, or just the reasons they are at fault."
ShelbyM says, "I think they are equally important...cause and effect"
TammyAF asks, "So, what is the Clantons motives then for killing Earp?"
TammyAF says, "I guess you are right Shelby."
TammyAF says, "not killing Earp"
ShelbyM says, "the Clantons..whatcha think Derrel"
TammyAF says, "but shooting at them or confronting them"
TammyAF asks, "just that Earp was giving them a bad name?"
ShelbyM says, "huh..are you saying tammy that they didn't kill earp"
DerrelF says, "Hmm....."
ShelbyM says, "maybe he was threated by these people in some sense"
DerrelF asks, "Who fired first?"
TammyAF says, "no, they didn't kill Earp Shelby"
ShelbyM says, "ok..."
DerrelF says, "No one seems to know."
ShelbyM says, "know what Derrel"
DerrelF says, "Who shot first. Or I missed it."
ShelbyM says, "I'm looking now....but I don't see it...still looking.."
TammyAF says, "Doc H"
TammyAF says, "He shot first."
DerrelF asks, "Where was that? Did I miss the eyewitness who said he did?"
TammyAF says, "October 26 1881 2:30pm"
TammyAF says, "THE SHOOTOUT"
TammyAF says, "Doc Holliday would be the first to fire and here's why . Doc and Tom were across from each other on the Freemont side of the lot and Billy Clanton would be the third man in. Doc being no stranger to gunplay knew that he had to keep his eyes mainly on Tom but not to neglect the other cowboys. He would be aware that Tom went to open his coat to declare that he was unarmed. Out of the corner of his eye he would have saw Billy Clanton thrust his arms forward and could have very easily mis read that as Billy drawing a weapon. Doc would have responded by shooting Billy Clanton."
TammyAF says, "Morgan would fire the next shot shortly after Doc's. Morgan would fire the next shot and after a slight pause all hell broke loose. Almost all of the eye witnesses claimed that Holliday fired first followed by someone else in the Earp party most likely Morgan."
ShelbyM says, "Here the Earps and Doc Holliday confront the four cowboys, only two of the cowboys are armed. As Virgil Earp tries to calm"
ShelbyM says, "everything down, Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp murderously open fire on the cowboys. Here in the background, you can see an"
ShelbyM says, "un-armed Ike Clanton, still bleeding from the head, running for his life, just as the gunfight begins."
TammyAF says, ""
DerrelF asks, "Shelby's is from, right?"
ShelbyM says, "the statement I just pasted is from"
ShelbyM says, "right"
ShelbyM says, "bias"
ShelbyM asks, "?"
TammyAF says, "No one could later target who had shot first, but Doc Holliday seemed to have scored the first hit."
DerrelF says, "I think so. The other, from Printmaster, pins the blame on the Earps, but we really don't know the long history between them."
TammyAF says, "got that one from"
TammyAF asks, "So, why do you want to know this Derrel?"
DerrelF says, "The history between them? Or who fired first."
DerrelF says, "Both groups were hot heads."
TammyAF says, "who fired first"
ShelbyM says, "A witness to the shoot-out, R.J. Coleman, later testified:"
ShelbyM says, "...after the first two [shots] Tom McLaury ran down Fremont"
ShelbyM says, "Street and fell. [Tom was mortally wounded.]"
ShelbyM says, "Johnny Behan, the Sheriff, saw the shoot-out. He recalled:"
ShelbyM says, "...the first man that I was certain that was hit was Frank"
ShelbyM says, "McLaury, as I saw him staggering and bewildered and knew he"
ShelbyM says, "was hit...Ike Clanton broke and ran after the first few shots were"
ShelbyM says, "fired; Ike, I think, went through Fly's Building; the last I saw of"
ShelbyM says, "him he was running through the back of Fly's Building towards"
ShelbyM says, "Allen Street."
ShelbyM says, "sorry you guys..."
DerrelF says, "Hmmm..."
DerrelF says, "I still see it as a case of a bad conclusion to escalating incidents between the groups."
ShelbyM says, "one more"
ShelbyM says, "Virgil and Morgan Earp were both shot by Billy Clanton. R.J. Coleman saw"
ShelbyM says, "it happen:"
ShelbyM says, "Billy Clanton stood in the same position when I first saw him;"
ShelbyM says, "saw him fire two or three shots in a crouched position; one of"
ShelbyM says, "them hit Morgan Earp , who stumbled or fell, he jumped up"
ShelbyM says, "again and commenced shooting...I think Billy Clanton must"
ShelbyM says, "have been struck, but was down in a crouching position, and"
ShelbyM says, "using the pistol across his knee and fired two shots, one of"
ShelbyM says, "which hit Marshall [Virgil] Earp; Wyatt and Morgan were still"
ShelbyM says, "firing at him, when he raised himself up and then fell, still"
ShelbyM says, "holding his pistol in his hand."
ShelbyM says, "Billy died soon after. So did Tom and Frank McLaury."
ShelbyM says, "Doc Holliday was also shot by Frank McLaury. The only armed person"
ShelbyM says, "who remained unscathed was Wyatt Earp."
ShelbyM says, "When the smoke cleared, Sheriff Behan was on the scene to arrest Wyatt"
ShelbyM says, "Earp for murder. Witnesses heard Earp tell Behan:"
ShelbyM says, "I won't be arrested today. You deceived me Johnny when you"
ShelbyM says, "said they were not armed."
ShelbyM says, "Three days after the shoot-out, the coroner held an inquest. In the"
ShelbyM says, "meantime, the Earps moved into the Cosmopolitan Hotel where they"
ShelbyM says, "would be safer than in their own homes."
TammyAF exclaims, "I agree with you Derrel!"
TammyAF exclaims, "WOAH Shelby!"
ShelbyM says, "that's from"
ShelbyM says, "I'll stop..sorry you guys..wanted to give both sides"
ShelbyM says, "I'm finished"
DerrelF asks, "Okay, so we have enough for a paragraph?"
DerrelF says, "I have to go in four minutes...."
ShelbyM says, "I'm sure but who will type it"
DerrelF asks, "Can we pull it together in the next 3 1/2 minutes?"
TammyAF says, "I vote Amy."
TammyAF says, "I don't think so Derrel. It's easier if one person does it."
ShelbyM says, "and let her add hwe points"
DerrelF says, "Will she be able to do so? I vote her also if she has the time."
TammyAF says, "We can email Amy the tranny."
DerrelF says, "Good plan! :-)"
ShelbyM says, "right..want me to call"
TammyAF says, "I think she will have time."
ShelbyM says, "I can"
ShelbyM says, "hold on"
TammyAF says, "Sure Shelby. Just let he know to read the trann"
TammyAF says, "and then summarize our points for each group along with a website for each point"
TammyAF says, "She'll do a great job of putting into wild west terms and maybe even naming our posse."
TammyAF smiles
DerrelF says, "And if it is more than a couple of paragraphs, it's wayyyy too much."
DerrelF -)
TammyAF exclaims, "Two paragraphs max!"
DerrelF says, "Well, I have to run. Email me if there is more that I need to do."
TammyAF says, "i would even make a chart of the two groups"
TammyAF says, "OK Derrel."
TammyAF exclaims, "Thanks!"
DerrelF says, "Okay, see you later. Tell Shelby Bye when she gets back."
DerrelF has disconnected.
TammyAF says, "Will do."
ShelbyM says, "ok any said its coool"
TammyAF exclaims, "awesome!!!"
TammyAF says, "Derrel says good bye"
TammyAF says, "he had to run"
TammyAF exclaims, "I guess we are done here!"
ShelbyM says, "she will do it..can you email it to her"
TammyAF says, "Good work was fun and productive."
TammyAF says, "I will email it to her."
TammyAF says, "Have a good one"
TammyAF waves
ShelbyM says, "right...enjoyed it..bye"
TammyAF has disconnected.
Disconnected from TAPPED IN on Sun Nov 11 20:01:35 2001 PST.



Created Fall, 2001

Last maintained 11/15/2003


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