I'll accept confrontation over gunfight. It is a more accurate term for what I had in mind. Trouble may even be better. I never used the term gunfight, just fight, but I'm sure it implied gunfight.
As I mentioned to Bruce in another post, I've argued for a long time that the cowboys were planning to leave town and that the street fight was the result of a series of blunders and misunderstandings that produced a showdown that nobody really wanted. As a result of the conversation recently about Frank McLaury and Behan meeting and the movement of the cowboys after they left Allen Street, I've begun to wonder (and there's no way to prove it) if after a conversation at Bauer's Tom (he was the one with the money belt) stayed there and Frank walked to the corner of Fourth to retrieve Tom's pistol from the Capitol Saloon. Before he could do it, Behan showed up and told him he wanted his gun and the guns of the others. Frank could hardly say at that point, "Wait a minute. Before we walk down to where the others are, I need to pick up Tom's gun." Just a thought, but why was Frank at Fourth and Fremont. Was he checking on the Earps, looking down the street to see what was going on at Hafford's Corner?
There are lots of unaswered questions. I'm not totally shocked at two men drawing on four. Frank was angry (and maybe even thought his only choice was to make a fight). Billy was young, nervous, and scared. I'm not questioning his courage, just that in some situations people don't think about things like odds. They just act.
I can't explain why Frank was at the corner. Checking on the Earps seems unlikely to me. However I've always thought the Earps should have sent someone to check on what was happening on Fremont... more