Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
And hell's coming with him.
All right, Clanton, you called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal. Take a good look at him, Ike, 'cause that's how you're gonna end up. The Cowboys are finished, you understand? I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it. So run, you cur. Run! Tell all the other curs the law's comin'. You tell 'em I'm coming, and Hell's coming with me, you hear? Hell's coming with me!
Wyatt Earp, Tombstone

Tombstone is a 1993 Western starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, and Bill Paxton. Set in the 1880s in Tombstone, Arizona, it centers on Wyatt Earp, his two brothers, and Doc Holliday facing off against the criminal Cowboys. The film had a large ensemble cast, with 85 speaking roles. The main Cowboys were played by Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Stephen Lang, and Thomas Haden Church. Charlton Heston cameos as a ranch owner.

The film is somewhat accurate, although it does portray an idealized version of the Earps while also making the whole story a lot more dramatic. In reality, the conflict between the Earps and the Cowboys is not entirely clear-cut; the Earps are generally regarded as the "good guys" only because they happened to be the ones wearing badges at the time. the exact sequence of the events at the OK Corral remains ambiguous. Critics of the Earps point out that many of them were veteran gunfighters (at least Civil War veteran Virgil was; Wyatt had been in one gunfight in Dodge City at that point, and Doc's reputation as a gunfighter is questionable to say the least), while for the Cowboys the shootout was their first (and last) and that it was therefore unlikely that they would have been the aggressors. However, as the film depicts accurately, some of the unarmed cowboys were allowed to flee unscathed, highlighting that the Earps weren't there to massacre the Cowboys. Also, Earp's defenders point to the testimonies of the unbiased witnesses H.F. Sills (whose testimony backed up Wyatt's, and who earlier heard the Cowboys threaten murder) and Addie Bourland (who testified that just before the fight, no one had their hands up). Johnny Ringo's death in particular is shrouded in mystery and originally ruled a suicide. Some other examples are the idea that both Morgan and Virgil were shot the same night, when they weren't, or the notion that the ex-Cowboys eventually joined Wyatt's posse (which was never confirmed).

The Other Wiki has articles of interest here and here if you want to see the differences between Real Life and film. IMDB has a fairly complete compilation of differences here

While the film largely focuses on Wyatt Earp, most find Doc Holliday--as portrayed by Val Kilmer--to be more memorable.

Tropes used in Tombstone include:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Billy Breckinridge, who seems to have a crush on the actor. "Curly Bill" Brocious is Ambiguously Camp Gay.
  • Badass Family: The Earp brothers.
  • Badass Longcoat: Particularly Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.
  • Badass Moustache: Just about everybody in the movie, especially the Earps. Especially in Real Life.
  • Batman Gambit: Doc Holiday knows Wyatt Earp can't beat Ringo, so while showing himself to be very ill he manipulates Wyatt Earp into giving him his U.S. Marshal's badge, by asking him what it's like to wear one of those. He then sneaks off to the meeting place and uses the badge to manipulate Ringo into dueling him instead, saving Wyatt's life.
  • Because Destiny Says So: It almost counts as a Fridge Logic moment, but the reason after the duel between Doc and Ringo why Wyatt Earp takes off Ringo's boots and stages his death scene like a suicide is to make it exactly the way in Real Life Ringo's body was found.
  • Big No: Wyatt Earp, is wading through a river with gunshots just barely missing him; he's shouting "No!" as he shoots at the bad guys. This culminates in a long, slow-motion, "Nooo!" at the end.
    • Debatable whether this is a Crowning Moment of Awesome or a Narm that qualifies Russell as a Large Ham.
    • Considering there are eyewitness accounts of Earp actually going through point-blank gunfire unscathed and taking many baddies down, probably the former. That scene at the watering hole where Wyatt waded out and shot Curly Bill at point-blank range where the Cowboys' bullets were flat out missing Wyatt had eyewitnesses confirming it, including a fatally wounded Cowboy who had no reason to embellish.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The unsubtitled Latin dialogue between Ringo and Holliday. The intention is to show that these two characters are educated. Ringo calls Holliday a drunk; Holliday says he's a better gunfighter than Ringo.
    • Not explicitly he doesn't. He tells Ringo to mind his own business and dismisses him. Ringo then threatens him by saying something to the effect that fools learn from their mistakes, gesturing to his gun with Doc ending the dialogue with a line ambiguous between calling for peace and threatening death. Commentary
    • Translation of the Latin:
      • In vino veritas. [In wine (is) the truth]
      • Age quod agis. [Do what you're going to do] (bring it on)
      • Credat Judaeus apella, non ego. [May the Jew Apella, not I, believe it] (tell it to someone who cares)
      • Iuventus stultorum magister. [Youth (is) the teacher of fools]
      • In pace requiescat. [may he rest in Peace]
  • Blast Out: Portrays the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral as a tense standoff before a sly wink from Doc Holiday to Billy Clanton turns it into a full blown blast out.
  • Boom Town: As stated in the prologue, silver had been discovered in Arizona making Tombstone "queen of the boom towns".
  • The Cameo: Charlton Heston.
  • Cultured Badass: Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday. (Ringo as a villain is technically Wicked Cultured.) Early in the film Ringo understands a Mexican priest's warning (in Spanish), and translates it by quoting The Bible. Holliday is described as a (former) Southern Gentleman and plays Chopin on the piano. The two hold a conversation in Latin during their first meeting.
  • Dawson Casting: Dana Delany as Josephine Marcus. Delany was 36 when she played the role of a 20-year-old actress working the towns of the Wild West.
  • Death Seeker: Arguably Doc Holliday, who suffers from tuberculosis and takes every opportunity to be a smart ass to the most psychotic Cowboys.
    • Johnny Ringo shows a reckless need to get into fights and borders this trope as a means of scaring the crap out of everyone else. The one person Ringo DOESN'T want to fight - Doc - just happens to be a deadlier and more sincere Death Seeker than he is. This may be a Truth in Television because the Real Life Johnny Ringo was found dead under mysterious circumstances that left the coroner with only one possible conclusion of "suicide".
  • Dirty Cop: County Sheriff Johnny Behan, at least in-film where he's seen siding with the Cowboys and leads a Cowboy-filled Posse chasing after Wyatt's vendetta.
    • Wyatt becomes a Dirty Cop when he leaves Tombstone... and gets a U.S. Marshal's badge, using it as a means to cover his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Cowboys who wounded Virgil and killed Morgan.
      • More like Cowboy Cop. He made it clear that he was declaring war on The Cowboys, and that if he saw a man wearing a red sash, he would kill the man wearing it. At the end, he lets those who take off their sashes go.
  • Dirty Coward: Ike Clanton.
    • Ironically, the one time he does try and stay and fight, he gets himself killed.
      • He is shown in his last scene of the film ripping off his Cowboy sash while being pursued by Wyatt and the Immortals. The narrator lets us know - during the Where Are They Now closing as the credits roll - that Ike was later killed during a robbery in New Mexico.
  • Drugs Are Bad: As evidenced by Mattie Earp, Wyatt's laudanum-addicted wife. She died later of a drug overdose.
  • Dueling Movies: Dueled with Wyatt Earp (1994) with Kevin Costner.
    • Where Costner's film focused on a more thorough (over 3 hours!) and historically-accurate telling of Wyatt's life, Tombstone focuses mostly on the events in Tombstone and the immediate aftermath.
    • Tombstone was also the clear victor at the box office, more than doubling its modest $25 million budget with a domestic take of $56m (the equivalent of just over $80 million today). Wyatt Earp, on the other hand, had more than double the budget ($65m) of Tombstone but wound up with half the gross, with a meager $26m domestic total, one of a string of flops in the mid-90s for Kevin Costner.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Doc Holliday's first appearance.
    • For Virgil, it's when he sees that the Cowboys have even injured the town's schoolmarm and terrorized innocent children. His conscience will not rest until he gets sworn in as a deputy.
    • Wyatt's blunt handling of a bullying faro dealer (Billy Bob Thornton) that was ruining a hotel's business, throwing him out (literally) on his ear and negotiating a sweet job with the owner in return.
    • The cowboys shoot up a wedding in the opening scene, executing the bride and groom and terrorizing the guests. They purposefully avoid killing the priest, who continues to shout verses from Revelation at them, until Johnny Ringo shoots him on an impulse. Now, who do you think will turn out to be the sociopath of the group?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Oneo of the Cowboys--Mc Masters--drops his red sash and falls in with the Earp brothers after someone fires a gun into the Earp household, nearly killing one of the brothers' wives; he flatly states that attacking defenseless women was something he simply couldn't stomach. (This is foreshadowed during the implied rape scene at the Mexican wedding in the introduction.) He even joins Earp in his vendetta against the Cowboys.
    • Though he laughs about it immediately afterwards, Curly Bill is visibly shocked when Johnny Ringo shoots the Mexican priest at the beginning.
  • Evil Counterpart: Johnny Ringo, to Doc Holliday. Both educated men, both death-dealers (and in their own ways, death-seekers). Ringo is The Dragon to Curly Bill, with Doc The Lancer to Wyatt.

Doc Holliday: Look, darling, Johnny Ringo. The deadliest pistoleer since Wild Bill, they say. What do you think, darling? Should I hate him?
Kate: You don't even know him.
Doc Holliday: Yes, but there's just something about him. Something around the eyes, I don't know, reminds me of... Me. No. I'm sure of it, I hate him.

  • Fanfare: Just really on the dramatic end.
  • Firing One-Handed: Wyatt Earp blows away a fleeing enemy with a double-barreled shotgun... one-handed, while riding on a horse, at full gallop. Granted, since it's a shotgun, you don't have to be precise, but...
  • Gotta Kill Them All: After Wyatt Earp's family is attacked by the red sash-wearing Cowboys, he declares, "From now on, I see a red sash, I kill the man wearing it."
  • Grave Humor: Seen in Boot Hill. "Here lies Lester Moore, took four slugs from a .44. No Les, no more." In fact, this is a real gravestone at the cemetery.
  • Guns Akimbo: Doc Holliday confronts one of the Cowboys and pulls a pistol on him. The man says that Holliday is so drunk (which he clearly is) he's probably seeing double. Holliday then pulls out a second pistol with the other hand, points both of them at the guy, flips each one in a different direction, and says, "I have two guns... one for each of ya."
  • Gun Twirling:
    • Johnny Ringo. And then memorably parodied by Doc Holliday with a tin cup in place of a gun.
    • Also done memorably by Doc later on, with two guns. One clockwise, one counter-clockwise.
  • Happily Married: Virgil and Allie Earp. According to numerous biographies and eyewitness accounts, this was Truth in Television.
    • Subverted all to hell with Wyatt and Mattie. Whatever reasons they married were soon lost the second Wyatt saw Josephine and Mattie found the laudanum.
      • And then played straight with Wyatt and Josephine at the end.
  • Hair of Gold: Allie, Louisa, and Mattie Earp; Louisa even comments when they first meet Mattie that the three of them could be sisters.
  • Heel Face Turn: McMasters decides the Cowboys organization have crossed it and quits in protest.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: A number of actors in small roles have this effect, some of them famous from older films, others having gone onto greater fame later. Robert Mitchum, Charlton Heston, Thomas Haden Church, Billy Bob Thornton (pre-Sling Blade), Jason Priestley, John Corbett, Billy Zane (pre-Titanic), Terry O'Quinn (pre-Lost), and Stephen Lang (pre-Avatar).
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Dana Delany, the main female presence, later went on to voice Lois Lane on Superman and Justice League.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Johnny Ringo. While the film shows Ringo as a remorseless killer, historic research can only point to him committing one murder. It's his awesome name (Johnny Ringo) plus Ringo's mysterious death that has the various movies on the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral boost his status as a lethal counterpart to Doc Holliday.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Tombstone, Arizona.
  • Immune to Bullets: Wyatt Earp. With all the gunfights he ends up being in, he walks away from each one without so much as a flesh wound (all the other heroes, Doc included, get hit at least once). Massively Truth in Television because in the shootouts at the O.K. Corral and at Iron Springs (the waterhole), Wyatt DID walk away from them without a scratch.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Doc Holliday, who really did die of tuberculosis.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: 85 speaking roles.
    • Kurt Russell claimed he cut his own role down to allow other cast members more screen time.
  • Love Triangle: Wyatt, Mattie (his wife), and Josie (the actress).
  • Mistaken for An Imposter: When the famous Wyatt Earp introduces himself to the owner of the bar where he and his brothers will run a gambling operation, the bar owner snorts and says "Yeah, right."
  • Opening Narration: Introduces the setting, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and the Cowboys. (Narrator played by Robert Mitchum.)
  • Opium Den: Appears twice: First when Curly Bill gets high and murders accidentally shoots the marshal, and then later in a Montage when a Cowboy is shown absentmindedly trying to smoke from Wyatt's gun barrel (and yes, it does go off in his mouth).
  • The Piano Player: Doc has fun with this at the bar in one scene.
  • Poker: Doc Holliday says it's an honest trade. Faro, however, isn't.
  • Power Walk: The Earps with Holliday walking towards the OK Corral.
    • Truth in Television: They did make that walk in Real Life. Nearly every movie on the OK Corral includes such a scene. It's so Awesome that this movie replays the Power Walk during the end credits.
  • Precision F-Strike: The music lover apparently hasn't heard of "Frederic fucking Chopin". This is the sole F bomb in the film.
  • Professional Gambler: Doc Holliday. The degree to which his Real Life counterpart corresponded to this trope is debatable.
  • Psycho for Hire: Johnny Ringo. Firmly established within the first few minutes when he guns down a priest, something the other Cowboys had avoided during a massacre moments prior.
  • Punch Clock Hero: Wyatt Earp starts the film not wanting to be a lawman anymore. He helps keep order after the marshal is murdered killed, but then tries to convince Virgil and Morgan that being a marshal is a bad idea. Near the end of the film he says that all he ever wanted was a normal life.
  • Retired Gunfighter: Wyatt Earp, a well-known peace officer, settling down in Tombstone. He refuses to get into any trouble saying he's retired. Of course, things soon get messy as the leader of the Cowboys kills the town marshal, so Wyatt's two brothers take his place. As one of them is maimed by criminals, and another is killed, this gets personal, so Wyatt confronts the outlaws.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Wyatt Earp swears to wipe out the entire band of Cowboys after they ambush his brothers.
    • The film shows Wyatt and his allies wiping out a mass army of Cowboys, but in the real vendetta ride Wyatt killed four men (Frank Stilwell, "Indian Charlie" Cruz, Johnny Barnes and Curly Bill) before fleeing to Colorado after four days of riding. The film's climactic duel between Ringo and Holliday is based loosely on Wyatt's confession that he had snuck back into Arizona to finish the Rampage of Revenge on Ringo.
  • Saloon Owner: Milt
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When the stage coach rolls up with the recently-killed actor, the actress in the coach Shames the Mob by pointing out that he only wanted to make their lives better by performing on stage. The sheriff's deputy Breckinridge (who had sided with the Cowboys) decides that this has gone too far, saying "We have to have some kind of law," and quits.
  • Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: Fabian performs the Saint Crispin's day speech from Henry V.
  • Showdown At High Noon: Duel between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo. They stand an arm's length from one another, circle slowly, and draw. Slightly subverted though in that the duel was supposed to be between Wyatt and Ringo, and at seven o'clock.
  • Smart People Know Latin: Doc and Ringo have a whole conversation of death threats in Latin.
  • Stock Footage/Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: A cowboy near the beginning of the film shoots at the camera/audience. The footage is straight from The Great Train Robbery; the actor is Justus D. Barnes.
  • The Stoic: Virgil Earp
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Johnny Ringo tempts the heroes into a duel by torturing and killing a secondary character and sending his body to the heroes.
  • Token Romance: Wyatt's thing with the actress serves little more than to expand on his inner conflict and to provide a happy ending. But then again, said romance happened in Real Life too...
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Not literally pitchforks, but pickaxes. A lynch mob, including miners with pickaxes, appears after Curly Bill kills the town marshal. Wyatt disperses the mob by saying there will be a trial.
  • Troubled Production: From the start, Kevin Costner was placing pressure on studios not to finance the picture (Tombstone and Wyatt Earp were two halves of the same project that more or less split off due to Creative Differences between Costner and writer Kevin Jarre), with Buena Vista (Disney) stepping up at the last minute. Disney refused to have anything to do with the original choice for Holliday, Willem Dafoe, due to the controversy still surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ. Jarre was originally set to direct, but was fired due to his refusal to cut the screenplay (both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer have stated the original shooting script was about 30 pages too long). Disney hired George P. Cosmatos to finish the film; Kurt Russell (who had significant pull behind the scenes with both cast and crew) has in recent years made the claim that he directed the picture with Cosmatos as a front (he was the same guy who did Rambo: First Blood Part II, so he was at the very least agreeable to actor input), and at least some of Jarre's directoral work is still in the film. As a cherry on top of all of this, the actor playing Old Man Clanton, Robert Mitchum, was injured in a horse-riding accident, which led to the part being cut entirely (although Mitchum was able to do the beginning and ending narrations).
  • Undying Loyalty: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Doc, you're short of bein' dead. What the hell are you doin' out here?
Doc Holliday: Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Hell, I got lotsa friends.
Doc Holliday: ...I don't.