Tombstone has always been one of my favorite movies. It helps that the movie starred Kurt Russell (a childhood favorite of mine, and I can still get down with some Captain Ron!), and Val Kilmer, who was such a wonderful and charming Doc Holliday.
I went to the O.K. Corral and nearby area (where the famous gunfight actually occurred) as a little girl with my parents who, like many tourists, were drawn to the history of the area. I saw the old Boot Hill graveyard where Billy Clanton and some of the others are buried. That was before the famous Tombstone movie had been filmed, but being there brought the scene to life. As a child, I was taken with the idea of the “wild west,” where men were men and women were not always what they seemed. I drank a sarsaparilla on a barstool in this historic old town, and a passion in my little girl heart began to form.
I am currently listening to an audiobook of Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell and narrated by Mark Bramhall, a historical but fictional retelling of the life of John Henry “Doc” Holliday, the famous dentist, gambler and gunslinger of the Tombstone legend. Tragically diagnosed with tuberculosis in his early twenties, Doc heads west in hopes of improving his health. There he meets the Earps and the rest is history.
The book is well written, focusing primarily on the life of Doc and those in his close associate, such as the infamous Kate, and of course the Earps. However, the story twists and turns, telling the stories of the lives of those around him, and in doing so, sets the scene for life back in those days, the hard living and the crude conditions. What brings it to life, however, is the voice of Mark Bramhall. I have never heard his narration before this, and I am impressed by his inflection and range as he retells the dialogue. His performance in this book will ensure that I seek out other works that he has narrated.
Doc Holliday was an enigma of weakness and vice but also of tremendous courage and charm. The fictional retellings of his life are always a delight to the imagination, going back to those days in the late 1800s and imagining the Earp Vendetta Ride, with Doc Holliday in poor health but full of courage, riding alongside. This audiobook brings Doc Holliday back to life, and I highly recommend that anyone fascinated by this time period or these larger than life characters check it out!
You’re a daisy if you do!