Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona founded in 1877 by a prospector in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It became one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier. The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced $40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and presently draws most of its revenue from tourism.
Under the surface in the mining town were tensions that grew into deadly conflict. The mining capitalists and the townspeople were largely Republicans from the Northern states. Many of the ranchers (some of whom were also rustlers or other criminal varieties) were Confederate sympathizers and Democrats. The booming city was only 30 miles (48 km) from the U.S.–Mexico border and was an open market for cattle stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico, by a loosely organized band of outlaws known as The Cowboys. The Earp brothers as well as Doc Holliday, arrived in December 1879 and mid-1880. The Earps had ongoing conflicts with the Cowboys. The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a shootout on October 26, 1881, the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.