Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848 – January 13, 1929) was an American Old West a deputy sheriff.
He is often regarded as the central figure in the shootout in Tombstone, although his brother Virgil was Tombstone city marshal and Deputy U.S. Marshal that day, and had far more experience as a sheriff, constable, marshal, and soldier in combat.
He was also at different times a farmer, teamster, bouncer, saloon-keeper, miner and on one occasion a boxing referee. He is best known for his part in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral during which three outlaw cowboys were killed. The 30-second gunfight defined the rest of his life. Earp’s modern-day reputation is that of the Old West’s “toughest and deadliest gunman of his day.” He has been portrayed in a number of film and books as a fearless Western hero. In gunfight after gunfight, from Wichita to Dodge City, during Tombstone and the Earp Vendetta Ride, Wyatt was never scratched, although his clothing was shot through with bullet holes.
Unlike his brothers and his ally Doc Holliday, who participated in several gun battles with him, Wyatt was never wounded during his entire lifetime, which only contributed to his mystique.
Earp invested in various mining interests and saloons. He and his third wife, in their later years, moved between Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert, where the town of Earp, California was named after him. Wyatt was made famous by a largely fictionalized biography by Stuart Lake, has been the subject of 10 films and featured in many more. He was also featured in TV shows, biographies and works of fiction.
Among the best-known actors that have portrayed him are Randolph Scott, Guy Madison, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Burt Lancaster, James Garner, Jimmy Stewart, Hugh O’Brian, Kevin Costner, Val Kilmer, and Kurt Russell. His character has influenced the way that movies depict Old West law enforcement.