Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp by Ann Kirschner is the definitive biography of a Jewish girl from New York who won the heart of Wyatt Earp.
For nearly fifty years, she was the common-law wife of Wyatt Earp: hero of the O.K. Corral and the most famous lawman of the Old West. Yet Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp has nearly been erased from Western lore. In this fascinating biography, Ann Kirschner, author of the acclaimed Sala's Gift, brings Josephine out of the shadows of history to tell her tale: a spirited and colorful tale of ambition, adventure, self-invention, and devotion. Reflective of America itself, her story brings us from the post–Civil War years to World War II, and from New York to the Arizona Territory to old Hollywood.
In Lady at the O.K. Corral, you’ll learn how this aspiring actress and dancer—a flamboyant, curvaceous Jewish girl with a persistent New York accent—landed in Tombstone, Arizona, and sustained a lifelong partnership with Wyatt Earp, a man of uncommon charisma and complex heroism.
On an October afternoon in 1881, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, along with Doc Holliday, confronted a group of outlaws "in an open lot near the O.K. Corral" in Arizona Territory; the ensuing barrage of gunfire became the stuff of legend. The Earps and Holliday emerged as heroes, but standing in the shadows was Wyatt's fourth and final wife, Josephine, who, until now, was a specter of history. In this admiring and vivacious biography, Kirschner (Sala's Gift) brings the frontierswoman into the limelight. Born in New York City to Prussian Jews, Josephine (1860 1944) was a rebellious and lively young lady who disliked school but became "infatuated with the stage" after the family moved to San Francisco; there the aspiring thespian saw a performance of HMS Pinafore, and promptly joined a traveling acting troupe. By the time she was 20, Josephine had rolled into Tombstone, Arizona Territory, and met Wyatt Earp. The story follows the couple in search of new opportunities, from running a saloon in Alaska to getting in on the booming film industry in Hollywood. Kirschner's fascinating profile captures the restless spirit of the frontier as deftly as it does Josephine's energy, affection, and limitless appetite for adventure. 8-page b&w photo insert.