In old Western movies the aftermath of a gunfight is pretty much routine.  As the smoke clears and the sheriff arrives witnesses loudly declare “It was a fair fight” and “He went for his gun first, Marshal!”  That seems to be the end of it as the winning duelist holsters his pistol and strides off the scene.  Of course this fable has no parallel in real life, or real history, and this book by Steven Lubet is a great way to introduce anyone to what really happened in the aftermath of a western gunfight.  The street battle known as the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” is recognized worldwide, and the image of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and his brothers facing down the bad guys has been etched into our collective memories as the archetypal example of western violence.  However, the legal proceedings which followed the gun smoke have rarely been discussed or analyzed until now.  Steven Lubet is a Northwestern University law professor who has gone over the O.K. Corral inquest with a fine toothed comb, presenting insights on Arizona territorial law and jurisprudence that are as fascinating as they are thorough.  This is a whole new way to look at the American western myth and I highly recommend this book!

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