Wyatt Earp

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Character
Name: Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp
Occupation: lawman, gambler, businessman
Relationships: friend of Doc Holliday, brother, husband
Fandom: Tombstone, Wynonna Earp, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Other: Played by Kurt Russell, Burt Lancaster
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Wyatt Earp is a historical figure of the American Old West, with a (perhaps exaggerated) reputation as the quintessential lawman. In reality, he spent more years of his long life as a gambler, a miner and a businessman ("capitalist" was the designation he used). As a lawman, though, it seems undeniable that he was a force to be reckoned with - though whether he was a hero or a villain is still a divisive question.

The mythic status of Earp as a lawman has been visited frequently in film and television. Fans have been most engaged with the film Tombstone (1993), with some interest in the classic Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). The character has a small though fundamental role in the TV series Wynonna Earp (2016-2021). Wyatt Earp also appears in guest roles in episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series (Spectre of the Gun, 1971) and Doctor Who (The O.K. Corral, 1966), among many other TV series.

Beyond his occupation as lawman, Wyatt Earp is known for his many relationships, especially his (perhaps unlikely) friendship with Doc Holliday. Wyatt was also one of six fiercely loyal brothers, with the older Virgil and younger Morgan often featuring in both professional and fan stories - particularly as they were the two who fought beside Wyatt and Doc in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Wyatt also had three (or maybe four) wives in his lifetime; stories often deal with Mattie Blaylock and Josephine Marcus.

There are currently 354 fanworks on AO3 tagged with "Wyatt Earp".[1]

Tombstone (1993)

The heart of this film is the relationship between Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), and a fan's slash goggles are hardly needed when watching, as the homosocial affection and loyalty between these two Victorian-era gents is on full display.

Of the 321 Tombstone fanworks currently on AO3, 258 include Wyatt Earp, 200 include the Wyatt/Doc relationship, and 32 include their friendship.

Examples of fanworks featuring Wyatt include:

  • Liquid Smooth fic by EpiKatt, Wyatt/Doc. "Wyatt thought back to their first meeting in Texas, before Doc had even met Kate. Thought of how his first impression of the sickly pale man he was led to in the back of the room was Christ ain’t he handsome."
  • All In fic by Destina, Wyatt/Doc. "Wyatt had told himself more than once that what he felt for Doc was friendship, pure and simple. Looking at him there, naked as a jaybird, he stopped pretending either of those conditions was true."
  • Hell's coming with me art by sosooley. Wyatt at his fiercest!
  • You're my Punishment fic by sascha_blue, Wyatt, Doc and the Earp brothers. "Wyatt Earp thought he did a good deed by arresting those gang leaders. Doc Holliday thought he did a good deed by befriending Wyatt Earp. Why, then, were they being punished for it?"

Wynonna Earp (2016-2021)

Wyatt Earp is a key character in the conception of this TV series - being Wynonna Earp's ancestor, the origin of the Earp Curse, and friend of Doc Holliday. However, he only appears in two episodes, in flashbacks to his dealings with Doc - and he is played by two different actors. Fans who enjoy the Wyatt/Doc pairing, however, are pleased to note that a paranormal being who knew the two men before her death in human form, refers to Doc as "Wyatt Earp's boyfriend"; Doc is embarrassed, and neither confirms nor denies this description.[2]

There are currently 23 works on AO3 which are tagged "Wyatt Earp (Wynonna Earp)". Of these, 5 feature the Wyatt/Doc relationship, and 3 feature their friendship.

Examples of fanworks featuring Wyatt include:

  • Entreat Me Not to Leave You fic by we_remain_together, Wyatt/Doc. "Despite everything, there still wasn’t a version of time Doc could conjure where Wyatt and him wouldn’t happen upon each other. If it hadn't been that day, at that table, in that town, it would've been elsewhere. On a train or passing each other in the street." Featuring the enticing tags "Doc Holliday & The Earps (he just loves them all tbh)" and "Wyatt and Doc vs the 21st Century" among others!
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads fic by Flamingbluepanda, Wyatt/Doc. "Doc is very surprised to wake up after a car crash in Wyatt Earp's bed, but not entirely displeased"

Other Fandoms

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

Wyatt and Doc are played by Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas respectively. Examples of fanworks featuring Wyatt include:

  • Keep The Flame fic by galerian_ash, Wyatt/Doc. "This time, Doc wouldn't come galloping full-tilt over the softly rolling hills, catching up to Wyatt with a poor excuse and an easy grin."
  • Trust me, I'm a doctor art by sosooley, Wyatt/Doc. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Links and Resources

References

  1. ^ Wyatt Earp on AO3, accessed 6 June 2024.
  2. ^ Bustle article "‘Wynonna Earp’ May Have Just Confirmed A Major Fan Theory About Doc", discussion of the Wyatt/Doc implications, accessed 6 June 2024.