Edward Anhalt, using Douglas D. Martin’s Tombstone’s Epitaph, has fashioned a heavily-populated script which traces Wyatt Earp’s moral decline from a lawman to one bent on personal revenge. Produced under earlier title of The Law and Tombstone, it continues the story of Earp after Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Unfortunately, for any filmmaker, probing too deeply into the character of folk heroes reveals them to be fallible human beings – which they are, of course – but to mass audiences, who create fantasies, such exposition is unsettling. Reality often makes for poor drama.
Jason Robards and James Garner play well together, the former supplying an adroit irony in that he, an admitted gambler as much outside the law as in, becomes more moral as Garner lapses into personal vendetta. Robert Ryan is a perfect heavy.