|Wyatt Earp once
wrote of his friend Doc Holliday: "He was a dentist, but he preferred to be
a gambler. He was a Georgian, but preferred to be a frontiersman and a
vagabond. He was a philosopher, but he preferred to be a way. He was long,
lean, ash blond and the quickest man with a six-shooter I ever knew."
Bat Masterson said simply that he "had a mean
disposition and an ungovernable temper, and under the influence of liquor
was a most dangerous man."
There was one point they could agree on: Doc
Holliday was not a man to trifle with. Suffering from tuberculosis and
alcoholism, he had one foot in the grave from the start. Opponents who met
him across a gaming table or a dusty Western street looked in to eyes that
held no fear of death, and maybe even an eagerness for it.
Unlike other famous gunslingers, who fought
out of greed or duty, to defend the law or defy it, Doc seemed drawn to
danger for its own sake. He once admitted, "I mixed up with everything that
came along. It was the only way in which I could forget myself."
Today Doc Holliday endures as one of the most
compelling figures in the saga of the American West. His story is told and
retold, in many forms, to each new generation of Americans. And now his life
is celebrated with the Doc Holliday Tribute Revolver from America Remembers.
Featuring the classic design of the Single
Action Army revolver, made famous by Samuel Colt's legendary company, the
Doc Holliday Tribute is elaborately covered in handsome 24-karat gold and
silver decorations and limited to an edition of just 200 guns.
The Deadly Dentist
the age of 21, young John Henry Holliday was a graduate of the Pennsylvania
College of Dental Surgery, with a bright future ahead. By age 28, he was one
of the most feared and infamous figures of the West, and at 36, he was dead.
When Holliday was 15, his mother died of
"consumption," know today as tuberculosis. At age 21, after graduating
dental school and setting up practice in Atlanta, he learned he also had
On the advice of his doctor, Doc headed West,
where the drier climate might prolong his life. Settling first in Dallas,
Texas, he opened a dental practice and took up two new habits: alcohol to
ease his pain and gambling to occupy his mind.
Gambling brought its own set of risks,
however. Losing hurt the wallet, but too much winning could be fatal.
Knowing he was unlikely to survive a brawl, Doc made himself an expert with
the knife and gun.
At 24, Doc was arrested for the first
time, this time for shooting at a saloon keeper. A second arrest found him
in the company of his longtime lady-friend, Mary Katherine Haroney, a.k.a.
"Big Nose Kate."
In 1877, the other major friendship of Doc's
life began when he met Wyatt Earp in Fort Griffin, a friendship that led
Earp to invite Doc to Tombstone, Arizona, which he promised was "very
lively" and where, so far, there were "no dentists."
Doc came to Tombstone, and he brought his
reputation with him. Within weeks, he was involved in a shooting incident at
the Oriental Saloon, and when a failed stagecoach robbery left a local man
dead, suspicion focused on Doc. He replied indignantly, "If I had pulled
that job, I'd have got the eighty thousand."
"I'm Your Huckleberry"
Although it sometimes seemed Doc Holliday was
concerned only with himself, there was one man he'd follow to the ends of
the Earth. That man was Wyatt Earp.
Exactly why Doc took to Wyatt is a matter for
speculation, but there's no doubt Wyatt benefited from the association. He
once claimed that while he was lawman in Dodge City, Doc "came to my rescue
and saved my life when I was surrounded by desperadoes."
On October 26, 1881, their friendship was put
to the test. Wyatt and his brothers Virgil and Morgan were gearing up for a
bloody showdown with the Clantons and McLaury's, local cowboy/rustlers who'd
been a thorn in the lawmen's sides for over a year. Doc would be the only
man to stand with the Earps.
As the lawmen headed for the O.K. Corral and
a showdown with the cowboys, Doc Holliday joined them. Wyatt gave him a
chance to back out, saying, "This isn't your fight, Doc." Doc, genuinely
hurt, answered, "That's a hell of a thing for your to say to me." As Bat
Masterson would later remark, "his whole heart and soul were wrapped up in
Once the shooting began, it took only about 30
seconds of blood and thunder to leave three men dead and three wounded. By
all accounts it was a terrifying display, but witness R.F. Coleman said,
"Doc Holliday was as calm as if at target practice."
The cowboy gang was wiped out, but things
didn't end there. Wyatt and Doc were jailed for a time but never stood
trial, and even though they soon left Arizona, they would remain targets for
friends of the Clantons and McLaury's seeking revenge.
On January 17, 1882, Johnny Ringo challenged
Wyatt and Doc to a gunfight, and while Wyatt chose to walk away, Doc pointed
to his chest and answered, "I'm your huckleberry. That's just my game."
Lawmen had to separate the two.
By May of 1886, Doc Holliday was nearing the
end of the road. Though still in his thirties, tuberculosis and alcohol had
given him the look of a much older man. In a last-ditch effort to beat his
illness, he checked in to Glenwood Springs Hotel, a health resort in
Here, he lived out the last year and a half
of his life. The hotel bellboys said he wore his pistols even in bed. Doc's
old friend Wyatt Earp visited on November 7, 1887, and the next day Doc
The Doctor's Most Useful Instrument
A life as unforgettable as Doc Holliday's
deserves a fitting tribute, and America Remembers has commissioned some of
the world's finest gunmakers to create one.
The result is a spectacular, and fully
functional, working .45 caliber firearm based on the legendary Single Action
As the sidearm of choice for real-life
Westerners like Bat Masterson and Wild Bill Hickok, and for movie heroes
like John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, it's know around the world as
"The Gun That Won The West."
Doc Holliday once told his nephew that he
used a Colt Single Action Army in all his adventures in the West, and it was
known to be a favorite with his friends the Earps as well.
The Doc Holliday Tribute from America
Remembers features a 7 1/2" barrel, a handsome blue finish and a host of
elaborate silver and 24-karat gold decorations, applied by the most
accomplished craftsmen in the United States for America Remembers.
Each revolver now
available in this edition is produced for us by the master craftsmen of
Uberti, who have expertly created this classic firearm just as they have
created so many of the western classics since 1959, and have established
themselves as the premier maker of historical firearms recreations.
For decades, their craftsmen have combined modern high-grade materials
with the time-honored methods of finishing creating exquisite, working
reproductions of history's greatest firearms.
Honoring A Western Legend
||Along the left side of the barrel is the
inscription, "Doc Holliday," in 24-karat gold Western-style lettering, while
on the right, also in gold, are his famous words to Johnny Ringo: "I'm Your
On the gun's right side, Doc is shown in his
favorite activity, a card game. On the left, Doc indulges his other passion,
gunfighting, here with Frank McLaury at the O.K. Corral.
The cylinder is also handsomely decorated. On
each chamber is an attractive design representing the four suits of a deck
of playing cards. Here silver and 24-karat gold are delicately intertwined
to stunning effect.
A silver inscription can be read by revolving
the cylinder: Doctor John Henry Holliday. Born 14, August, 1851: Spalding,
Georgia. Died 8 November, 1887. Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
The grips are of handsome faux ivory, etched
with a detailed full-figure illustration of Doc dressed, as always, in high
style. Here he's shown with the string tie, wide-brim hat and gray frock
coat witnesses said he wore at the O.K. Corral. In his hands is the walking
cane Virgil Earp took from him to hand him a shotgun.
With its stylish design, celebrating both the
life of a gambler and a shootist, this tribute would no doubt have appealed
to Doc Holliday himself.
Tools of the Gambler's Trade
As a special bonus, each display case
features a pack of replica vintage playing cards and two antique Faro chips.
To display and preserve the beauty of the Doc
Holliday Tribute, a special presentation case has been designed. The case is
elegantly lined and contoured to the shape of the gun. An attractive glass panel in the lid
allows easy viewing of the firearm, and inside, a handsome brass plaque
bears the inscription, "Doc Holliday Tribute, Single Action Revolver,
Authorized By America Remembers."