Thanks to the 1993 western classic Tombstone, most people think of Val Kilmer when they hear the name Doc Holliday. Now the town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado remembers the real infamous gunfighter, gambler, dentist, and friend of Wyatt Earp by preserving one of his most prized possessions.
John Henry “Doc” Holliday died from tuberculosis in 1887 at the young age of 36. This .41 caliber 1866 Remington double barrel derringer, a gift from Holliday’s common-law wife, Katherine “Big Nose Kate” Horony-Cummings, was used as payment to cover his funeral costs. The weapon ended up in the hands of a local bartender who kept it as a family heirloom for nearly a century until it was finally sold in 1968 and disappeared for almost five decades.
The pearl handled derringer bears the inscription “To Doc from Kate” along the backstrap. According to the Post Independent, the local Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum has just purchased the infamous weapon at an auction for $84,000. The pistol will be put on display at the former Hotel Greenwood, the building where Holliday died six years after he was deputized by Tombstone city marshal Virgil Earp.
In an interview with the Post, Historical Society executive director Bill Kight said “it was so important to let the public know all along what we’re doing because this is for Glenwood Springs. I really appreciate the fact that the city of Glenwood Springs has gotten behind us on this.”