Hollywood’s Legendary Lawman
October 24, 2011 Leave a Comment
Watch Wyatt Earp: American Experience 9 p.m. Monday,
Oct. 24 on Wisconsin Public Television.
From Dime Novels and Spaghetti Westerns to more recent Western genre remakes a lá True Grit, the image of the Western lawman has been firmly impressed in the minds of Americans old and young. The driving inspiration for Hollywood’s Western lawman was Wyatt Earp, a man who straddled both sides of the law as he adventured throughout the Western frontier in the late 1800s, a time of loose justice and great economic opportunity.
A sort of renaissance man of the West, Wyatt Earp lived a storied life as a gambler, gold prospector, capitalist, sheriff, gunman at the O.K. Corral and Hollywood adviser. Supposedly, while working as a prop man on silent Western films, he met John Wayne who later said he based his depictions of Western lawmen on Wyatt Earp. But, is the romantic legend we see in movies today an accurate reflection of the real-life Wyatt Earp? American Experience brings you the true biography of one of the West’s most colorful, controversial figures.