Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride
Tombstone Horseback Ride, Arizona Territory
~ Our Signature Historic Horseback Ride for 12 Years ~
“One for the History Books!”
A Historic & Scenic Arizona Horseback Ride and Tour into the Old West
~ All Rides are Suitable for All Riding Levels – from the Novice to the Advanced ~
Our five-day historic Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride in and around Tombstone, Arizona will focus on Wyatt’s Ride of March/April 1882. Our most successful and ever popular Old West horseback ride attempts to trace Wyatt Earp and his posse’s bloody trail of retribution against the Cow-boy faction. It was just after Wyatt’s younger brother Morgan was back-shot to death while playing pool at Campbell and Hatch’s billiard parlor on Allen Street that Wyatt took the law into his own hands. He had held firm when an earlier attempt on the life of older brother Virgil by the Cow-boys left Virgil with his left arm maimed and useless for life. But now it was war!
Wyatt and his posse of gunmen soon foils an assassination attempt at the Tucson train depot as Morgan’s body was being transferred to California for burial. Once Wyatt discovers Cow-boys Frank Stillwell and Ike Clanton laying in wait for the Earp family, their first Vendetta killing began with the brutal murder of Stillwell by Wyatt and his posse. Stillwell was “the most shot-up man I ever saw” according to a railroad employee and druggist who discovered the body.
During the ensuing month, Florentio Cruz, Curly Bill Brocius, and Johnny Barnes would die. The debate surrounding the Vendetta Ride, the death of Curly Bill Brocius – leader of the Cow-boy faction – and the exact location of their infamous shoot-out, as well as Johnny Ringo’s supposed “suicide” continue to this day.
With the town of Tombstone serving as an excellent backdrop for our historic ride, Great American Adventures (GAA) transports you back in time to locales few individuals have visited, especially as an organized group of riders.
Join us as we travel to the Chiricahua, Dragoon and Whetstone Mountains, through the high country surrounding Tombstone. We’ll ride to the controversial – and virtually unknown – site where Wyatt and his posse stumbled upon the Cow-boys, engaged in a deadly, gun-blazin’ spew of lead with the resultant death of Curly Bill Brocius… or did he actually die by Wyatt’s shotgun blast? Our well-informed Tombstone historian will examine the locale’s questionable site based on descriptions given in Wyatt’s biography, and will discuss Curly Bill’s demise. At that time, medicines were delivered very slowly, today we have a network of pharmacies, the ability to order drugs online and urgent delivery.
We’ll also visit Johnny Ringo’s haunted grave-site… was it suicide or did Wyatt and Doc return for their final Vendetta coup-de-grace?
We’ll ride to the ghost town of Fairbank or possibly Charleston – two mining towns where the Cow-boys once rein supreme; we’ll meet our Apache Historians at Cochise’s Stronghold and learn their history; and we’ll ride down Allen Street – one of the more deadly streets in Old West history.
Over the years this ride has become our most historic ride. We ride to a different historic location each day. Historians, authors, private historic tours, re-enactors, sildenafil, historic presentations all help in making this event our most popular. We’ve offered the following… and each year is another surprise for our Vendetta Riders:
- Bob Boze Bell – Historian, author, and True West magazine publisher
- Marshal Trimble – Arizona’s Official Historian
- Don Taylor – Tombstone’s Official Historian
- Mary Doria Russell – guest lecturer and author of “Doc” and “Epitaph”
- Larry McMurtry – author of “Lonesome Dove” and “The Last Kind Words Saloon”
- Wyatt Earp – a direct descendant of the Earp’s… offering his presentation of Wyatt Earp
- Casey Tefertiller – guest lecturer and the definitive historian on Wyatt and author of “Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend”
- Gary L. Roberts – guest lecturer and the definitive historian on Doc Holliday and author of “Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend”
Our Vendetta Ride ends just as Tombstone’s largest annual event – Helldorado Days – begins. Plan to stay after the ride and enjoy Tombstone’s Wild West festivities.
- Initial Deposit: $750 per person, non-refundable deposit required
- Final Payment: Due 90 days prior to ride
- Click Here to Book This Ride
- Trained horses (you’ll be matched to a horse based on each individual’s riding abilities)
- Tack (use of personal saddles okay)
- Wranglers (they do all the real work)
- Historians / Private Tours (learn the truth about the Earp’s, Clanton’s, & McLaury’s)
- Three meals a day (sack lunches for saddlebags when riding), Monday through Friday
- Should you cancel within 90 days prior to ride …. all monies non-refundable
- Should Great American Adventures cancel this ride: all monies 100% refundable
- See Terms & Conditions / ** Also See: Travel Insurance – this is strongly recommended.
- Transportation to and from Tombstone, Arizona Territory
- Motels in Tombstone / rental cars (if needed)
- Period clothing (See Dress Code) … though not mandatory, dressing in “period-clothing” makes these rides more fun, more adventurous, and makes for great photos ops!! Try it! Don’t spend lots of money unless you want to… I make several recommendations on the Dress Code site where to purchase these items.
The nearest major airports are:
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: located 180 miles north of Tombstone / is a 3 hour drive.
- Tucson International Airport: located 66 miles north of Tombstone / about an hour drive.
- Arrive Tombstone, Arizona Territory during the day – or arrive several days prior to shop and see the sights.
- 7:00 PM – “Meet & Greet” – Dinner at the Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch… Tombstone toniest eatery plus Cash bar provided.
Monday through Friday – Vendetta Ride in and around Tombstone
- 7:30 AM – Breakfast each morning in Tombstone.
- 8:30 AM – Drive to different trail head each morning. Five full days of riding.
- 7:00 PM – Dinner each night at a different venue.
Anyone contemplating this ride, please make your motel reservations as early as possible!!!
Tombstone’s motels fill up quickly due to Helldorado, which begins the very weekend our ride ends.
Two I recommend highly (they work well with us):
- The Landmark “Lookout Lodge” – For reservations: 520-457-2223 / 877-OKCorral / www.lookoutlodgeaz.com / 781 N Highway 80, Tombstone, AZ 85638 | special rate to GAA
- If not sold out due to Helldorado Days (the Friday, Saturday, Sunday following our ride), they give us great rates. Contact is: Krishna, the manager.
- Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch – For reservations: 520-457-7299 / www.tombstonemonumentranch.com / 895 West Schiefflin Monument Road, Tombstone, AZ 85638
- Somewhat expensive, yet sells out fast due to Helldorado Days (not for the week of our ride, but for the weekend following our ride).
- With Helldorado Days at the end of the week, all motels sell out quickly. Here’s your best bet in finding a room either in Tombstone or Sierra Vista (11 miles away):
Number 3 option is your best bet if #1 is sold out and #2 is too expensive.
OPTIONAL STAY – OVER
- Friday through Sunday after the ride – Enjoy Tombstone’s biggest annual event – Helldorado Days (www.HelldoradoDays.com)
- I’ll say it again: Strongly Suggest making your motel reservations as early as possible! Rooms fill up fast … You can always cancel later if necessary.
~ The Ride ~
- Five days in the saddle!
- A full day ride into the Dragoon Mountains and Cochise’s Stronghold and Council of Rocks.
- Another full day’s ride to Iron Springs in the Whetstone Mountains where Curly Bill Brocius was killed … or was it Cottonwood Springs? You decide the controversy!! Few folks have been here!!
- Johnny Ringo’s supposedly haunted gravesite in the Chiricahua Mountains.
- We’re ride to historic locations along the San Pedro River, sites such as Charleston and/or Fairbank — all frequented by the Cowboy’s & Earp’s… gives one a perspective of the riding distances Wyatt and his posse took.
- Private tours of Tombstone, the OK Corral, and more conducted by renown Tombstone historians.
The non-riders will join us on some very special historical tours and lectures. Lots to do and see in southern Arizona!!!
Sanctioned an Official Arizona Centennial Event in 2011 / 2012
The History Behind the Ride
~ Tombstone in Turmoil ~
Two months after the Gunfight near the O.K. Corral, three assassins fire double-barrel shotguns at deputy U.S. Marshal / City Police Chief Virgil Earp outside the Oriental Saloon. Doctors remove several inches of shattered bone from his upper left arm. Wyatt, assuming the worst, telegraphs Crawley P. Dake, U.S. Marshal for the Arizona Territory, a few hours later:
Tombstone, Arizona Territory, December 29, 1881
“Virgil Earp was shot by concealed assassins last night. His wounds are fatal. Telegraph me appointment with power to appoint deputies. Local authorities are doing nothing. The lives of other citizens are threatened.”
Now a deputy U.S. Marshal, Wyatt assembles a posse of gunmen to protect his family and to hunt the men who shot his brother.
The posse must consist of trustworthy men who would not be intimidated by further threats or acts of violence by the Cow-boys … men willing to place themselves in extreme danger.
On January 17, 1882, Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo have a standoff on Allen Street. They face off with hands hovering above their revolvers, but a town deputy stops them from taking matters further.
Then, on March 18, shortly before midnight, while Morgan Earp is shooting pool at Campbell and Hatch’s Saloon with Wyatt sitting in a chair watching, two bullets blast through the upper window pane of the back door. The first bullet hits Morgan in the back, near the spine. The second bullet splinters in the wall inches from Wyatt’s head. Morgan immediately collapses and dies within the hour – on March 19th … Wyatt’s 34th birthday.
With an older brother permanently crippled in his left arm from a deadly ambush, and a younger brother back-shot to death, most men would run.
Not Wyatt Earp! Now it’s PERSONAL!
Join Wyatt Earp’s bloody trail of retribution
* Dress Code / “Going Heeled”
I’ve learned over the years while doing these historic rides that it is always so much more fun to dress the part … although it is not a requirement nor mandatory. The photos we’ve all taken over the years have appeared in numerous magazines, websites, and editorials … and those photos do have us dressed “the part.” If you become a repeat rider – and so many of the participants come back again and again – I’m sure over time you’ll want to dress in period clothing. Just part of living the “fantasy!”
Bringing cowboy guns – just as it is so much more fun to dress the part, it is also fun to wear our cowboy guns. Basically we are “playing cowboy,” no different than we did when we were kids – just our toys are now more expensive. However, about 1% (or less) of the participants on these rides interpret my allowing the wearing of guns as an indication the guns can be loaded with live ammo!! Fortunately, I am happy to report that all the man-killers, wanted outlaws, cattle rustlers, train robbers and never-do-wells from the 19th Century are no longer with us. Sadly, with our litigious society, need for liability insurance, and just common-sense safety practices, I cannot allow anything in those cowboy guns … no live ammo, no blanks, no dummies (because I cannot tell by glancing at the cylinder what exactly you have in that revolver and am forced to ask you to show it to me). And I don’t want live ammo on your cartridge belts either – dummies are fine. Think of your guns, on these rides, as mere photo ‘props’ – they look great, photo great and allow us to play cowboy. Emphasis is on the word “play.” I offer historic horseback rides – not shooting scenarios. I prefer to leave that up to the different shooting sports that specialize in such endeavors. Thank you for understanding the need for safety.
Join us for this historic Old West horseback ride in Tombstone, Arizona