Wyatt Earp (film): Wikis


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Wyatt Earp

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan
Produced by Kevin Costner
Jim Wilson
Lawrence Kasdan
Written by Dan Gordon
Lawrence Kasdan
Starring Kevin Costner
Dennis Quaid
Gene Hackman
David Andrews
Linden Ashby,
Jeff Fahey
Joanna Going
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Editing by Carol Littleton
Studio Tig Productions
Kasdan Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) June 24, 1994
Running time 191 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $ 65,000,000 (estimated)

Wyatt Earp is a 1994 semi-biographical Western film, written by Dan Gordon and Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Kasdan. It stars Kevin Costner in the title role as lawman Wyatt Earp, and features an ensemble cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, Mark Harmon, Michael Madsen, Joanna Going, Tom Sizemore, Bill Pullman, JoBeth Williams, Linden Ashby, and Mare Winningham.



The film opens with Wyatt Earp as a teenager living on the family farm. His older brothers, Virgil and James, are away at war serving with the Union Army. Wyatt dreams of war, and packs some belongings, bids his younger siblings goodbye, and attempts to run away, intending to lie about his age and join the Union Army. He doesn't make it off the farm before his father catches him and forces him to return home. A short while later, both brothers return home at the war's end, with James gravely wounded. Shortly afterwards, the family moves west. It is during this move that Wyatt first sees a man killed, shot during a gunfight. He gets sick at the sight, and vomits.

Years pass, finding him working out west as a wagon driver. During his time there, he works also as a referee for fights, and finds himself at odds with a bully. Wyatt and the bully eventually come to the point of fighting, with the bully intending to shoot Wyatt. Wyatt disarms him and defeats him, taking his gun as a trophy.

Returning home to Missouri, Wyatt marries a childhood sweetheart, Urilla Sutherland. The two move into their own house, and he begins working as a policeman. Months later, while pregnant, his wife dies from typhus. He stays by her side throughout the illness, becoming deeply depressed afterward. He burns their home and all they own, begins drinking, and drifting from town to town, eventually landing in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He robs a man and steals his horse, but is captured a short time later. With Wyatt facing certain hanging, his father bails him out of jail, telling him to leave and never return to Arkansas.

He begins working as a buffalo hunter, where he meets Bat and Ed Masterson. The three become friends and work together hunting buffalo, with the two brothers working as Wyatt's skinners. Years pass, and he begins working as a Deputy Marshal in Wichita, Kansas, and builds a reputation as a good lawman. He is recruited to work as a deputy in Dodge City, with a lower salary, but for extra money for each arrest made, in the end making more than he would have in Wichita. In Dodge City he builds a hard reputation, and he kills his first man, a shooting witnessed by actress Josie Marcus. Wyatt becomes involved romantically with prostitute Mattie Blaylock, and the Mastersons begin working with him as deputies. Wyatt disagrees with Ed Masterson working as a lawman, believing him to be too passive. However, the Dodge City council decides that Ed is more acceptable than Wyatt due to the latter's excessive force, and fire him, appointing Ed to take his place. Wyatt then begins working for the railroad, capturing outlaws.

While pursuing outlaw Dave Rudabaugh, he is introduced to gunman and gambler Doc Holliday, in Fort Griffin, Texas, and the two become friends. Holliday assists Earp in locating Rudabaugh, whom he dislikes tremendously. Shortly afterward, Wyatt receives word that Ed Masterson has been killed, having shot and killed both his assailants before dying in the street. Wyatt returns to Dodge City to help bring law and order. After working there for a while, he and his family move to Tombstone, Arizona, under the protest of the Earp wives, and Mattie. Wyatt immediately finds himself at odds with the "Cowboy" gang. He meets and becomes involved romantically with popular actress Josie Marcus, which puts him at odds with her boyfriend, Sheriff Behan. This relationship also causes stress in his relationship with Mattie, and becomes the subject of rumour about town.

Wyatt and his brothers Morgan and Virgil arrest several Cowboys, and Virgil takes over as marshal following the murder of town marshal Fred White. The brothers find themselves at odds with the Cowboys often, and tension builds. Wyatt breaks up several altercations involving the Cowboys, particularly Ike Clanton, and Doc Holliday swears his loyalty to Wyatt, whom he considers his only real friend. Eventually the Gunfight at the OK Corral occurs, with the brothers becoming very unpopular in town. Virgil is ambushed and wounded, and Morgan is killed. The film then shows only a glimpse of the Vendetta Ride with Wyatt and his friends taking out revenge on the remaining "Cowboys", then skips to many years later with he and Josie mining for gold in Alaska. While enroute by boat, a young man on the same boat recognizes Wyatt, and recounts a story in which Wyatt had saved the boy's uncle, "Tommy Behind-The-Deuce". The film ends with Wyatt saying to Josie, "Some people say it didn't happen that way", to which she responds "Never mind them Wyatt. It happened that way."

Featured Cast

Actor Role
Kevin Costner Wyatt Earp
Dennis Quaid Doc Holliday
Gene Hackman Nicholas Earp
David Andrews James Earp
Linden Ashby Morgan Earp
Jeff Fahey Ike Clanton
Joanna Going Josie Marcus
Mark Harmon Johnny Behan
Michael Madsen Virgil Earp
Catherine O'Hara Allie Earp
Bill Pullman Ed Masterson
Isabella Rossellini Big Nose Kate
Tom Sizemore Bat Masterson
JoBeth Williams Bessie Earp
Mare Winningham Mattie Blaylock
James Gammon Mr. Sutherland
Karen Grassle Mrs.Sutherland
Rex Linn Frank McLaury
Randle Mell John Clum
Adam Baldwin Tom McLaury
Annabeth Gish Urilla Sutherland
Lewis Smith Curly Bill Brocius
Betty Buckley Virginia Earp
Alison Elliott Lou Earp
Mackenzie Astin Young Man on Boat
Jim Caviezel Warren Earp
Tea Leoni Sally
Martin Kove Ed Ross
Jack Kehler Bob Hatch
Kris Kamm Billy Claiborne
John Lawlor Judge Spicer
Scott Paul Young Morgan
Brett Cullen Saddle Tramp
Jon Kasdan Bar Boy
John Doe Tommy Behind-the-Deuce
Lawrence Kasdan Gambler (uncredited)


Wyatt Earp
Soundtrack by James Newton Howard
Released 1994
Label Warner Bros. Records

All compositions by James Newton Howard.

  1. "Main Title
  2. "Home From The War"
  3. "Going To Town"
  4. "The Wagon Chase"
  5. "Mattie Wants Children"
  6. "Railroad"
  7. "Nicholas Springs Wyatt"
  8. "Is That Your Hat?"
  9. "The Wedding"
  10. "Stillwell Makes Bail"
  11. "It All Ends Now"
  12. "Urilla Dies"
  13. "Tell Me About Missouri"
  14. "The Night Before"
  15. "O.K. Corral"
  16. "Down By The River"
  17. "Kill 'Em All"
  18. "Dodge City"
  19. "Leaving Dodge"
  20. "Indian Charlie"
  21. "We Stayed Too Long"
  22. "Winter To Spring "
  23. "It Happened That Way"


  • In the film, two Earp brothers, Virgil Earp and James Earp, are portrayed returning home together following their service with the Union Army in the Civil War. In fact, James was wounded in a Missouri battle early in the war, returning home shortly thereafter. Virgil Earp actually returned home with another brother, Newton Earp, who was not mentioned in the film, but who, like Virgil, served until the war's end.
  • Josie Marcus was not a well-known actress, and in fact had been in Tombstone, Arizona, for quite some time prior to Wyatt Earp's arrival, having lived previously with a lawyer and with Sheriff Behan.
  • Wyatt Earp is depicted as having shot and killed a man who shot into a theater in Dodge City, Kansas. The cowboy's name was George Hoy and, in fact, both Earp and James Masterson fired on the man, and it has been said that Masterson actually killed the man. The presence of James Masterson was ignored in the film.
  • Wyatt Earp is depicted as having met Bat and Ed Masterson while working as a buffalo hunter out west. Historically, it is disputed as to when and where he first met the brothers, but it is certain that when he did meet them he came to know not only Bat and Ed, but their brother James as well. James was ignored in the film altogether.
  • Josie Marcus was not present during the George Hoy shooting.
  • Ed Masterson replaced Marshal Larry Deger as town marshal of Dodge City following Wyatt Earp's departure, not Earp.
  • Wyatt Earp did return to Dodge City following Ed Masterson's murder, but he did not return and become marshal. Instead, he returned and began working under lawman Charlie Bassett, whose presence was ignored in the film.
  • Wyatt Earp was never the Marshal of Dodge City. He was Assistant Marshal and Deputy Marshal.
  • Tombstone Marshal Fred White was in fact well liked by the outlaw "Cowboy" faction, and contrary to the film depiction, by his own testimony prior to his death, the shooting by Bill Brocius that caused his death was accidental. Brocius in fact showed remorse and regret over the shooting.
  • Marshal Fred White was depicted as being an older man, but in fact was either 31 or 32 at the time of his death.
  • The film portrays both the assassination attempt of Virgil Earp and the assassination of Morgan Earp happening on the same night.
  • The film also portrays that Virgil Earp lost the use of his right arm when in reality he lost the use of his left arm.
  • Outlaw Johnny Ringo was not shot and killed during the shootout at "Stinking Springs". His death happened later, and was "officially" ruled a suicide. Several men were implicated as having murdered him, to include lawman Wyatt Earp, gunman and gambler Doc Holliday, gambler Mike O'Rourke, and gunman "Buckskin" Frank Leslie, as well as little known gunman Lou Cooley, one of the few men alleged to have never feared Ringo despite his reputation. Earp and Holliday were most certainly in Colorado at the time, and more likely than not the death was in fact a suicide.
  • Wyatt Earp was not involved in one hundred gunfights in his lifetime. Though an exact figure is difficult to calculate, fewer than ten would be more accurate.


Kevin Costner was originally involved with the film Tombstone, another film about Wyatt Earp written by Kevin Jarre. However, Costner disagreed with Jarre over the focus of the film (he believed that the emphasis should have been on Wyatt Earp rather than the many characters in Jarre's script) and left the project, eventually teaming up with Kasdan to produce his own Wyatt Earp project. Costner then used his then-considerable clout to convince most of the major studios to refuse to distribute the competing film, which affected casting on the rival project.[1]

However, Wyatt Earp, released six months after Tombstone, was the less successful of the two films, taking in $25 million on a $63 million budget,[2] compared to Tombstone's $56 million domestic gross.[3]


The biopic was not a commercial success, although it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1995 and writers Dan Gordon and Lawrence Kasdan received the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for Best Drama Script.[4] The film was also nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Screen Couple (for Kevin Costner and "any of his three wives" played by Annabeth Gish, Joanna Going and Mare Winningham) with Costner winning Worst Actor and the film being named Worst Remake or Sequel.


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Wikipedia has an article about:

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848 - January 13, 1929), was an officer of the law, gambler and saloon keeper in the Wild West. He is most known for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral along with Doc Holliday, Virgil Earp, and Morgan Earp. He was portrayed by Kevin Costner in the 1994 semi-biographical film, Wyatt Earp


Wyatt Earp

  • I won't be arrested today. You threw us, Johnny.
  • The fight has now commenced, go to fighting or get away!
  • Mind me now, Mannen, put up those guns and go on home.
  • I think you came here to make a fight with me, and if you did, you can have one here right now.
  • I am a friend of Doc Holliday, because when I was city marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, he came to my rescue and saved my life, when I was surrounded by desperados.
  • I was tired of being threatened by Ike Clanton and his gang. I believed from what they had said to others and to me, and from their movements, that they intended to assassinate me the first chance they had, and I thought if I had to fight for my life against them, I had better make them face me in an open fight.
  • You damned dirty cur thief, you have been threatening our lives, and I know it. I think I should be justified shooting you down any place I should meet you, but if you are anxious to make a fight, I will go anywhere on earth to make a fight with you, even over to the San Simon among your own crowd.
  • I did not intend to fight unless it became necessary in self defense, and in the performance of official duty. When Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry drew their pistolsl I knew it was a fight for life, and I drew and fired in defense of my own life and the lives of my brothers and Doc Holliday.
  • Doc [Holliday] was a dentist whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a frontier vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long lean ash-blond fellow nearly dead with consumption, and at the same time the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a gun that I ever knew.
  • We had no YMCA's. [To biographer Stuart Lake, when asked late in life why he'd spent so much time in saloons.]
  • Speed is fine, accuracy is final [On the advantage of careful aiming of a weapon over rate of fire]
  • In a gun fight... You need to take your time in a hurry
  • Fast is fine but accuracy is final. You must learn to be slow in a hurry

Nicholas Earp

  • Remember this, all of you. Nothing counts so much as blood. The rest are just strangers.

Exchanged Dialogue

Tom McLaury: If you want to fight, I'll make a fight with you anywhere.
Wyatt Earp: All right, make a fight right here.
Wyatt slaps McLaury
Wyatt Earp: Jerk your gun, use it.

Johnny Behan: I will have to arrest you.
Wyatt Earp: Any decent officer can arrest me, but that you or none your kind must not try it.

Johnny Behan: I want to see you Wyatt.
Wyatt Earp: If you're not careful, you'll see me once too often, Johnny.

Others on Wyatt Earp

  • Wyatt Earp is one of the few men I personally knew in the West in the early days, whom I regarded as absolutely destitute of physical fear. I have often remarked, and I am not alone in my conclustions, that what goes for courage in a man is generally the fear of what others will think of him-- in other words, personal bravery is largely made up of self-respect, egotism, and an apprehension of the opinions of others. Wyatt Earp's daring and apparent recklessness in time of danger is wholly characteristic; personal fear doesn't enter into the equation, and when everything is said and done, I believe he values his own opinion of himself more than that of others, and it is his own good report that he seeks to preserve. . . . He never at any time in his career resorted to the pistol excepting in cases where such a course was absolutely necessary. Wyatt could scrap with his fists, and had often taken all the fight out of bad men, as they were called, with no other weapons than those provided by nature. -Bat Masterson
  • [Wyatt] Earp is a man who never smiled or laughed. He was the most fearless man I ever saw. . . . He is an honest man. All officers here who were associated with him declare that he is honest, and would have decided according to his belief in the face of an arsenal. -Dick Cogdell
  • Wyatt Earp was a wonderful officer. He was game to the last ditch and apparently afraid of nothing. The cowmen all respected him and seemed to recognize his superiority and authority at such times as he had to use it. -Jimmy Cairns

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