Let us take you back ....
Just for a little while, try to place yourself in the Tombstone of
the early 1880s. Experience the sights and sounds of a rather
untidy little town in southeastern Arizona Territory at the start
of one of the west’s biggest silver booms.
Ready? Okay, first, it’s hot! Hot and dry and probably windy.
The air carries the presence of horses and wood fires, the absence
of indoor plumbing. The sound of metal on rock rings from the
You are surrounded by an ever-increasing gaggle of hopeful
prospectors, eager merchants, steely-eyed gamblers, ladies of ne-
gotiable affection, and all of the other hangers-on that gravitated
toward the elusive riches. Many of them are not terribly bright,
and few of them have bathed in the recent past. Getting the pic-
Frontier towns were not places for the timid, and Tombstone
was certainly no exception. There was little or no law in the early
days. There was not nearly as much gunplay as is depicted in the
movies and novels, but there was just enough to keep the wary
behind closed doors after dark. There were still random Apaches
roaming the mountains of Arizona Territory, and there was
enough loose money to attract the attention of the stage robber,
the thief, the element that preferred to prey on their fellow man.
Greed was the principal motivator. Greed drove the prospec-
tors into the hills in search of mineral wealth. Greed brought the
merchants and the saloon owners and the faro dealers. A few of
them attained fabulous wealth. Most spent frustrating months
or years grubbing for their share before moving on to the next
bonanza or dying in the effort.
Nancy Sosa & Jim Nelson
High praise for Tombstone - A Quick History
In Tombstone, A Quick History, authors Nancy Sosa and Jim
Nelson provide a wealth of information not available in other
books on Tombstone in succinct and readable style. The famous
gunfight is covered, of course, but the book offers much more
on Tombstone's mines and miners, early cemeteries, a
southwestern swimming pool, area Indians, and the men and
women who made the town grow and thrive. Tourists will find it
a handy reference, but specialists in Tombstone's history will
also find plenty to enjoy and learn from. A great read!
Robert Palmquist - Tombstone Historian and Author
An outstanding account of Tombstone’s evolution from a tiny
Arizona mining community to a desert town that draws
thousands of tourists every year. The book weaves the engaging
lives of key historic characters with the historic mining
discoveries. We learn of the unique geology of the area and
the challenges that the miners confronted.
Marvin Knittel - Ed.D., author and Professor Emeritus,
University of Nebraska—Kearney
Old Tombstone comes to life in Nancy Sosa’s and Jim
Nelson’s history of a Wild West town that is much more than
simply the site of a famous shootout.
With a dry wit and a very readable, folksy style, they recall
events and people that shaped Tombstone long before, during,
and since that single moment in time. I only wish that he had
written it when I was still teaching!
Jim Hontz - Language Arts Teacher