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Western films, from silent to today

Doc (1971)

Doc (1971) poster Stacey Keach is Doc Holliday, who’s been summoned to Tombstone by his old friend Wyatt Earp (Harris Yulin).

Wyatt is marshal of Tombstone but wants to run for sheriff because that’s the job where the right man could get rich, very rich.

And that’s especially true if he has a friend like Doc running the gambling tables in Tombstone.

That’s his proposal to Doc. His scheme for making it happen: Have Ike Clanton (Michael Whitney) turn in friend Johnny Ringo for a recent stage robbery.

Ike will get the reward, Wyatt will get credit for solving the crime. And he figures that should be enough to defeat Behan in the upcoming election.

But not everything goes as planned, leading to a deadly showdown at the O.K. Corral.

Meanwhile, Doc battles his health problems with opium and falls for a whore named Katie Elder (Faye Dunaway), a woman he wins in a poker game with Clanton.


The posters for the film foreshadow what we’re in for: a very different look at the legends that are Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

This is a grimmier, grittier version of the lead-up to the O.K. Corral than we’re used to, one in which Wyatt and his brothers are more interested in power and wealth than bringing law and order to a wide open cow town.

It’s an interesting perspective, but one that leaves the viewer without characters to root for or, for that matter, care very much about.

One striking similarity between this film and the far more romantic “Gunfight at the OK Corral” (1957) involves Ike Clanton’s younger brother, The Kid.

Doc teaches him how to shoot, bails him out of trouble and tries to convince him not to live the life of the gun, only to come face to face with him, guns drawn, in that final showdown.

Faye Dunaway as Katie Elder and Stacey Keach as Doc Holliday in Doc (1971)

Directed by:
Frank Perry

Stacey Keach … Doc Holliday
Faye Dunaway … Katie Elder
Harris Yulin … Wyatt Earp
Michael Whitney … Ike Clanton
Denver John Collins … The Kid
Dan Greenburg … Clum
John Scanlan … Bartlett
Richard McKenzie … Behan
John Bottoms … Virgil Earp
Philip Shafer … Morgan Earp
Ferdinand Zogbaum … James Earp
Penelope Allen … Mattie Earp
Hedy Sontag … Alley Earp
James Green … Frank McLowery
Antonia Rey … Concha
Fred Dennis … Johnny Ringo
Bruce M. Fischer … Billy Clanton

Runtime: 96 min.

Faye Dunaway as Katie Elder and Michael Whitney as Ike Clanton in Doc (1971)

Memorable lines:

John “Doc” Holliday, after a long hard ride in a dust storm: “Whiskey.”
Mexican saloon keeper: “We ain’t got no whiskey.”
Holliday: “Cold beer.”
Saloon keeper: “We ain’t got no cold beer.”
Holliday: “What are they drinking?”
Saloon keeper: “Warm beer.”
Holliday: “Then give me warm beer.”

Wyatt Earp, of the Clantons: “They’re bad people, John.”
John “Doc” Holliday: “Well, if it weren’t for bad people, what would you do for a living, marshal?”

Wyatt Earp, of the future of Tombstone: “I run the law. You run the gambling. We’ll both end up rich. Very rich.”
John “Doc” Holliday: “We sound like bad people, Wyatt.”
Wyatt: “We are, John.”

Allie Earp: “Have you ever thought of going to church?”
Katie Elder: “Not lately.”
Allie: “Well, we would like to see you go to church. At least once. To get married.”
Katie: “Allie, when I want preachin’, I’ll go to church. But for the moment, when I’m on my knees, it ain’t in prayer.”

Ike Clanton: “Sure makes you sleep good at night, knowing Wyatt Earp’s upholding the law.”

Newspaper reporter: “You’re not going to settle it with a gun.”
Wyatt Earp: “You’d be surprised the things you can settle with a gun.”

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