Tombstone

Deliberate mistake: When Wyatt comes out of the Orientalist and joins his brothers in the street to tell them he's acquired a quarter interest in a game, a herd of cattle is passing them in the street but there's no dust kicked up by the cattle, when in reality there would be a lot of dust on a dry desert street in Arizona.

MovieFan612 Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Curly Bill is shooting up the town while drunk, he fires about 10 more rounds than his six shooter can hold without reloading (so too many shots even if he had a second gun), and still has a round remaining when he shoots Marshal Fred White. In the 1880 court hearing held after Marshal White's death, Curly Bill still had 5 rounds remaining in his pistol.

Factual error: In the scene just before the fight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt is talking to his brothers and Doc on the porch of the town marshal's office. There is an American flag flying behind him with 50 stars on it when in fact there were only 38 stars on the flag in 1881.

Factual error: During the gunfight in the lot behind the OK Corral, Tom McLaury is firing a six shooter at Doc just before Doc fires his shotgun in the air to scare Tom's horse away. The mistake is that Tom McLaury wasn't armed during the actual gunfight. He was shot by Doc while he was reaching for the rifle he had stored in his saddle. (01:14:58)

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The events have been intentionally adjusted by the filmmakers to create a coherent and entertaining movie. It's based on true events; it's not a day-to-day account of the events of 1880 through 1882. Artistic license does not constitute a movie mistake.

Brenda Elzin

Changing facts in historical material does constitute factual mistakes, whether anybody wants to call them that or not.

It really depends on the degree to which the film-maker alters the facts, and whether that alteration is glaring or changes the story line. For most, it doesn't. Tom got shot and Doc shot him. There is an implicit duty of the audience to "suspend disbelief" - an acknowledgment that it is impossible to get every small detail correct.

Revealing mistake: When Wyatt Earp and the actress, whom he marries later in the movie, meet on horseback, they go on a fast paced ride that concludes after going down a steep hill. If you look at the actress' feet, you will see she is riding side-saddle - a very difficult feat considering the riding they do. If you look closely you can see her real leg, safely on the other side of the horse. The side-saddle leg must be fake.

Factual error: Three of the Earp brothers arrived in Tombstone on December 1, 1879. They served as lawmen during 1880/81 and fought the Cowboys in the famous gunfight on October 26, 1881, They left the area in April 1882. In the movie the Earp's arrive in Tombstone in 1881 and ride past Boot Hill Cemetery. The tombstone displaying one of the most famous epitaph ever written is visible: "Her lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les, No more." The problem is that Lester Moore wasn't killed until 1884. So it's impossible for his tombstone and famous epitaph to be in Boot Hill when the Earps arrived.

Continuity mistake: In the beginning, when Doc Holiday is playing poker with Ed Bailey, they tell Doc to drop his cards. He does so, and reveals a poker of queens. In a fury, Ed Bailey stands up pushing the table. When he does this, you see Doc's cup with liquor in it fall and roll off the table. Doc even watches it fall off the table onto the floor. When they show Doc again, the cup is right there where it was before, in perfect stance. Doc even drinks the rest of the liquor inside it, a little bit later on in the scene. (00:11:55)

Continuity mistake: Just prior to the actual gunfight scene as both sides have their hands on their guns waiting for something to happen, Frank McLaury is first shown wearing his hat. A few moments later he is shown by himself, looking to his right, without the hat. Then again, moments later, the hat reappears.

Other mistake: When the Earp Brothers first arrive at Tombstone Fred White is telling them about the Cowboys and says "there's three of them now," the camera then shows four people wearing the red sash of the Cowboys.

Continuity mistake: In the first scene when the priest, bride, and groom, etc. come out of the church you can see the priest putting on his hat in two different angles.

Revealing mistake: When Wyatt and the others leave two cowboys hanging in front of the Dragoon Saloon, you can see that neither man actually has a rope on his neck. As the one man swings around, on his vest you can see the outline of the rope going straight down into the harness that's holding him. (01:25:35)

MovieFan612 Premium member

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The two men are already dead when strung up. The shot is not of a hanging, it's of displaying two dead "cowboys". Therefore, the rope need not be around their necks.

The rope was made to outwardly appear as if it's a simple noose, whether or not it was the cur's death by actual hanging. The outline, however, that we can see under the clothes reveals that the noose part of the rope goes all the way down his back into a stunt safety harness, under the man's clothes. To think that Wyatt and his men would have removed the man's clothing to configure a custom harness to go around the man, then redressed him, and finally strung him up for display, is ridiculous. The correction is rubbish, and the mistake is valid IMHO.

Super Grover Premium member

So they go to the trouble of fashioning a harness instead of just hanging a rope around their necks?

MovieFan612 Premium member

Continuity mistake: During the fight at the O.K Corral Doc empties one of his guns into the man with the blue shirt on, then the man starts shooting through the window and Wyatt shouts "Doc, behind us." Doc Holiday immediately empties both his guns into the building without time to reload one.

Factual error: When the Earps first arrive in Tombstone (in 1880), they go past the Bird Cage Theater, which wasn't built until 1881.

Visible crew/equipment: When Virgil goes outside on the night of the storm after seeing Wyatt and Morgan, the arm of a crane is visible in the background behind the roof of a building. It sticks vertically up in the air, probably for mounting lights.

MovieFan612 Premium member

Revealing mistake: When Morgan dies his eyes are wide open. As Wyatt lays him down rolling his head to the side Morgan's eyes continue to focus at the ceiling instead of turning with the motion of his head as dead eyes would do.

MovieFan612 Premium member

Factual error: In the scene when Virgil returns to the Oriental after being shot, Wyatt and Morgan are sitting at a table eating Chinese noodles with vegetables, among which is broccoli. Broccoli was practically unknown in the United States until it began to be commercially cultivated in California in the 1920s.

MovieFan612 Premium member

Continuity mistake: In the scene where McMasters is looking through his eyeglass and telling Wyatt how many cowboys there are, there's a shot of Doc coughing with a bloody rag up to his mouth. The camera goes back to Wyatt, and when it goes back to Doc, there is blood dripping out of his mouth and all over his bottom lip and chin. In the very next shot when Doc falls off his horse, about two seconds later, his mouth and chin are completely clean.

Continuity mistake: When Doc and Kate are leaving the saloon after he stabbed Ed Bailey, as they stand in the doorway facing the people In the saloon, the light outside shows bright sun with shadows from the buildings, indicating it is mid to late afternoon. When they step outside, there is no bright sunlight and the entire street is in dusky shadow.

MovieFan612 Premium member

Visible crew/equipment: In the opening sequence where Curly Bill and gang are walking toward the church, a microphone with a furry wind sock can be seen in the lower left just before Ike Clanton passes.

Johnny Ringo: I want your blood. And I want your souls. And I want them both right now!

More quotes from Tombstone

Trivia: The expression "I'm your huckleberry" spoken by Doc means "I'm the perfect man for the job." It is not a reference to Mark Twain's Huck Finn, as that book was published in 1885 and this movie takes place in 1881.

MovieFan612 Premium member

More trivia for Tombstone

Question: What is the name of the theatrical song in the Faust play, and who is the original composer and symphony?

Answer: Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saƫns.

More questions & answers from Tombstone

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.