Rebecka Bustos

Written by Rebecka Bustos

Modified & Updated: 22 Jul 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Tombstone is a classic Western film that has captivated audiences since its release in 1993. Directed by George P. Cosmatos, the movie tells the story of the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the legendary figures who became embroiled in the conflict. With its stellar cast, including Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, and Sam Elliott, Tombstone has become a beloved cinematic masterpiece, showcasing intricate storytelling and memorable performances. In this article, we delve into 36 fascinating facts about the making of Tombstone, shedding light on behind-the-scenes anecdotes, production challenges, and the enduring impact the film has had on the Western genre. So, saddle up and get ready to uncover the untold stories behind one of the most iconic Westerns of all time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tombstone is a 1993 Western film with an amazing cast, authentic setting, and iconic quotes. It’s a must-watch for fans of action-packed historical dramas and Wild West enthusiasts.
  • Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday in Tombstone is legendary, earning critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. The film’s themes of loyalty, justice, and redemption make it a timeless classic.
Table of Contents

1. Star-Studded Cast

Kurt Russell played the lead role of Wyatt Earp, while Val Kilmer starred as the legendary Doc Holliday, delivering performances that became instantly iconic.

2. Historical Setting

The movie is set in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, during the late 1800s, capturing the essence of the old west.

3. The Earp Family

Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton played Wyatt’s brothers, Virgil and Morgan Earp, integral to the Earp Vendetta Ride.

4. Directorial Challenges

Director George Cosmatos was brought in to replace the original director, bringing his own unique vision to the film.

5. Behind The Scenes Leadership

Although Kurt Russell is credited only as an actor, he took on a significant role in directing the film, ensuring its completion.

6. Doc Holliday’s Wit

Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday is remembered for its sharp wit and memorable lines, epitomizing the character’s intelligence and charm.

7. Historical Accuracy

The film strives for historical accuracy, depicting many events that really occurred, including the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

8. Kevin Costner Controversy

Kevin Costner was initially interested in the film but left to produce his own Earp movie, creating a rivalry of sorts between the two projects.

9. Real-Life Inspirations

Many characters were based on real people, including Johnny Ringo, Billy Clanton, and Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan.

10. Billy Bob Thornton’s Role

Before his rise to fame, Billy Bob Thornton appeared in a memorable scene as a troublemaker who confronts Wyatt Earp.

11. The Earp Vendetta Ride

The film depicts the aftermath of the O.K. Corral shootout, focusing on the Earp Vendetta Ride as a key plot point.

12. Josephine Marcus Storyline

Dana Delany plays Josephine Marcus, who becomes Wyatt Earp’s love interest, adding a romantic subplot to the film.

13. Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo

Michael Biehn plays the role of Johnny Ringo, Earp’s nemesis, bringing intensity to the film’s conflict.

14. Wyatt Earp’s Lawman Background

The film highlights Wyatt Earp’s reputation as a lawman and his efforts to bring order to Tombstone.

15. Jason Priestly‘s Character

Jason Priestly plays Billy Breckinridge, showcasing the diverse cast and characters within the film.

16. The Theme of Friendship

The relationship between Earp and Doc Holliday is central to the film, highlighting themes of loyalty and friendship.

17. John Wayne Influence

The film pays homage to classic Westerns, with John Wayne‘s spirit felt throughout the movie’s style and storytelling.

18. Billy Zane‘s Theatrical Role

Billy Zane appears as a traveling actor, adding a touch of culture and contrast to the rough world of Tombstone.

19. Real Tombstone References

The movie meticulously recreates the look and feel of the real Tombstone, Arizona, during its boom years.

20. Doc Holliday’s Illness

The film accurately portrays Doc Holliday’s battle with tuberculosis, adding depth to Kilmer’s portrayal.

21. Iconic Lines

I’m your huckleberry,” said by Doc Holliday, became one of the film’s most famous lines, epitomizing the character’s readiness for a fight.

22. The O.K. Corral Shootout

This pivotal scene is historically recreated, showing the famous gunfight that lasted only 30 seconds in real life.

23. Fred White‘s Tragic Death

The town marshal, Fred White, is depicted in his interaction with the Earps and his untimely death, which is rooted in historical events.

24. Real Genius Behind the Scenes

The film’s script and direction were influenced by the real-life genius of the actors and crew, bringing authenticity to the screen.

25. Curly Bill‘s Role

Powers Boothe plays Curly Bill, the leader of the cowboys and a key antagonist in the film.

26. The Earp Brothers’ Unity

The film emphasizes the bond and unity among the Earp brothers, showing their collective effort to enforce law and order.

27. Long Life of Wyatt Earp

The movie touches on Wyatt Earp’s long life after Tombstone, hinting at his future endeavors and legacy.

28. New Mexico Scenes

Although set in Arizona, some scenes were filmed in New Mexico, showcasing the beautiful landscapes of the American Southwest.

29. The McLaury Brothers

Frank and Tom McLaury, played by Robert John Burke and John Philbin, represent the real-life brothers involved in the O.K. Corral shootout.

30. Top Gun Connection

Both Val Kilmer (Doc Holliday) and Tom Skerritt (Virgil Earp) appeared in Top Gun, showcasing their range as actors across genres.

31. Hollywood’s Western Revival

“Tombstone” contributed to a revival of the Western genre in Hollywood during the 1990s, inspiring future films.

32. Three Cowboys’ Fate

The film concludes with the fate of the three cowboys who survived the O.K. Corral, adhering to historical records.

33. Lawman Legacy

Wyatt Earp’s legacy as a lawman and his friendship with Doc Holliday are celebrated, influencing Western lore.

34. Historically Accurate Costumes

The costumes in “Tombstone” were designed to be historically accurate, adding to the film’s authenticity.

35. Outlaws and Brothers

The dynamic between the Earp brothers and their outlaw adversaries adds complexity to the film’s portrayal of good versus evil.

36. Movie Magic and Real Life

Tombstone” blends movie magic with real-life events, creating a compelling narrative that respects the historical context while entertaining audiences.


Tombstone is undoubtedly an iconic movie that has captivated audiences for years. With its gripping storyline, stellar cast, and memorable quotes, it continues to hold a special place in the hearts of film enthusiasts. The 36 facts provided in this article shed light on the behind-the-scenes details, trivia, and interesting tidbits about the movie that add to its allure.From the intense performances of Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, to the breathtaking cinematography that transports viewers to the Wild West, Tombstone is a film that showcases the power of storytelling. It beautifully brings to life the legendary events of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the characters who played pivotal roles in that historic event.Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the Old West, a lover of action-packed movies, or simply someone seeking a thrilling cinematic experience, Tombstone delivers on all fronts. So, grab your popcorn, sit back, and immerse yourself in this remarkable tale of honor, justice, and friendship.


1. Who directed Tombstone?

Tombstone was directed by George P. Cosmatos.

2. When was Tombstone released?

Tombstone was released on December 24, 1993.

3. Is Tombstone based on true events?

Yes, Tombstone is based on the events surrounding the gunfight at the O.K. Corral that took place in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881.

4. Who portrayed Wyatt Earp in the movie?

Kurt Russell portrayed the iconic character of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone.

5. Did Val Kilmer win any awards for his role as Doc Holliday?

Yes, Val Kilmer won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Doc Holliday and was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe.

6. What are some memorable quotes from Tombstone?

Some memorable quotes from Tombstone include “I’m your huckleberry” and “You tell ’em I’m coming and hell’s coming with me!”

7. How did Tombstone perform at the box office?

Tombstone was a moderate success at the box office, grossing over $56 million worldwide.

8. Are there any sequels or remakes of Tombstone?

No, there are no official sequels or remakes of Tombstone.

9. Where was Tombstone filmed?

Tombstone was primarily filmed in Arizona, including the town of Tombstone itself.

10. Has Tombstone achieved cult status?

Yes, Tombstone has gained a significant cult following over the years due to its timeless storytelling and memorable characters.

If you enjoyed learning about Tombstone, why not explore more fascinating facts about the talented Kurt Russell, who brought Wyatt Earp to life on the silver screen? Discover the rich history and culture of the Western Pomo people, whose ancestral lands are nestled in Northern California. For another thrilling journey through the Wild West, delve into the captivating details surrounding the Wyatt Earp movie, which offers a different perspective on the legendary lawman's life and adventures.

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.