APP EXTRA: Did Ike Clanton get a bad rap? - Tucson News Now

APP EXTRA: Did Ike Clanton get a bad rap?

Ike Clanton (Source: Clanton Family) Ike Clanton (Source: Clanton Family)
TOMBSTONE, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a legendary part of Arizona's history.

Numerous movies have been made about the incident, each with their own way of telling the tale.

The gun battle, which pitted Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holliday against the McLaurys and Clantons, happened in Tombstone on Oct. 26, 1881.

Two of the Earps and Holliday were wounded while the McLaurys and Billy Clanton were killed. Ike Clanton escaped unharmed.

History has painted the Clantons and McLaurys as outlaws, but some argue they've gotten a bad rap, especially Ike Clanton.

"The Clantons were just a regular pioneer family," said Joyce Aros, an author and historian. "They came out here with the intention of establishing a future, like many did."

Aros said she doesn't buy the assumption the Clantons and McLaurys were bad men.

"The Clantons and McLaurys, like all the ranchers, had outlaws all the time out their house," she said. "You would never turn anybody away out there. I mean that's a horrible place."

The Clantons lived at a ranch located about 17 minutes south of Tombstone. To learn more about their ranch, go HERE. To read more about what may have caused the shootout, go HERE.

The ranch wasn't too far from the ghost town Charleston, which was deserted by the late 1880s.

"In Charleston, the people that lived there said the Clantons were the best-liked of everybody out there," Aros said.

Aros said the shootout wasn't a clear-cut good guys vs. bad guys.

"Most of the idea of them being cattle rustlers, outlaws and so on came after the gunfight at the O.K. Carroll," she said. "It was the Earps' justification for what they did."

Aros said Ike Clanton seems to have received the worst treatment of all.

"I know of lot of writers and historians like to say well, he was drunk all the time because he was in this saloon and that saloon," she said. "But there were nearly 100 saloons in this town. There was no television, that's what you did.

Aros said Ike even owned a cafe in town at one point.

"If he was anything like most describe him, nobody would have put up with him," she said.

She said it's time for Ike's reputation to change.

"I really felt bad about Ike Clanton because he's just been vilified for 135 years," Aros said. "I think it is totally unfair. Just look at the movie 'Tombstone,' the way they made him look. Poor guy."

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