Classic Western Setting 2; or, Tombstone, Boots, and Val Kilmer Souvenirs

The rental car rocked and shook on the narrow trail–I mean, road. Tucson and its spangly lights and hard-hearted soiled doves had been left far behind. My urban cowboy and I were heading south toward the frontier, toward adventure, toward a date with destiny and hopefully some great souvenirs.

I had high expectations of Tombstone. OK Corral. Gunfighters. Boot Hill. A particularly hard, bright light that would desiccate life to stark right and wrong.

Marty Robbins gets what I'm trying to say.

I was looking a bullet hole, a trace of a boot heel, a wind-whipped street, a rolling tumbleweed bouncing by, grim men in long dusters shooting back rye in a saloon, smiling women in beribboned dresses waiting for the next stranger to buy them a drink.

Picture of Tombstone circa 1908. Library of Congress, copyright West Coast Art Co.

What I got was a little different.


A little more mall-like.

A little more kitschy. (Including, no lie, Val Kilmer/Doc Holliday ceramic tiles. Of which we purchased many.)

A little more reenactment. Every hour on the half. They were good, these re-enactors.

And it had wooden sidewalks on which I could clomp my new cowboy boots just like a gunslinger.

These would be the boots. Bought from a cowboy-poetry spouting antiques store proprietor off Allen Street.

Cowboy boot porn

And it had lots of “this guy killed that guy” signs. Bloodthirsty. And awesome.


And, by god, it had Boot Hill. The Boot Hill.

Tombstone was all what it was supposed to be, more, and less.

Just another day in the New West, home of the good, the bad, the fugly.

Tomorrow: Tombstone as it was and how it should be.

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