cover image Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp

Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp

Ann Kirschner. Harper, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-186450-6

On an October afternoon in 1881, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, along with Doc Holliday, confronted a group of outlaws "in an open lot near the O.K. Corral" in Arizona Territory; the ensuing barrage of gunfire became the stuff of legend. The Earps and Holliday emerged as heroes, but standing in the shadows was Wyatt's fourth and final wife, Josephine, who, until now, was a specter of history. In this admiring and vivacious biography, Kirschner (Sala's Gift) brings the frontierswoman into the limelight. Born in New York City to Prussian Jews, Josephine (1860%E2%80%931944) was a rebellious and lively young lady who disliked school but became "infatuated with the stage" after the family moved to San Francisco; there the aspiring thespian saw a performance of HMS Pinafore, and promptly joined a traveling acting troupe. By the time she was 20, Josephine had rolled into Tombstone, Arizona Territory, and met Wyatt Earp. The story follows the couple in search of new opportunities, from running a saloon in Alaska to getting in on the booming film industry in Hollywood. Kirschner's fascinating profile captures the restless spirit of the frontier as deftly as it does Josephine's energy, affection, and limitless appetite for adventure. 8-page b&w photo insert. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)