Semi-biopic of Wyatt Earp (Kevin Costner). As a teenager he lives on the family farm. Two of his brothers, Virgil (Michael Madsen) and James, are fighting in the civil war for the Unionists. Wyatt plans to join them, but is held back by his father (Gene Hackman). Shortly after that, the war ends, his brothers return home, and the family moves west. He begins working as a wagon driver and a referee for fights.
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Returning to the place where he grew up in Missouri, Wyatt marries Urilla Sutherland (Annabeth Gish), his childhood sweetheart, and becomes a policeman. When his wife dies from Typhoid fever, he burns their home, and starts drinking and drifting. When he gets into trouble with the law, he goes west. There he meets Ed (Bill Pullman) and Bat Masterson (Tom Sizemore). They become friends and work together as buffalo hunters. After some years he starts working as a Deputy Marshal in Wichita, Kansas, and later in Dodge City. Here he gets a rough reputation. The Mastersons become his deputies. At some point the Dodge City council decides that Ed is the better lawman, because Wyatt uses excessive violence. They fire him and appoint Ed instead. Wyatt then takes up a job with the railroads, capturing outlaws.
While in pursuit of an outlaw, he meets Doc Holliday (Dennis Quaid) in Texas and they become friends. Shortly after that, Wyatt hears that Ed Masterson has been killed. Wyatt, accompanied by Holliday, returns to Dodge City to help bring law and order. After a while they go to Tombstone, Arizona. Here Wyatt finally becomes romantically involved with Josie Marcus (Joanne Going), whom he met years before. Wyatt has unfriendly encounters with the "Cowboy"-gang right from the start. Wyatt and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, arrest a number of them, and Virgil takes over as marshal. The brothers find themselves in conflict with the Cowboys more and more often. Eventually the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral takes place. The film then skips to many years later, showing him and Josie mining for gold in Alaska, occasionally hearing the tall stories people remember about him in his earlier years.
An epilogue states that Doc Holiday died six years later in a hospital in Colorado and that Josie's and Wyatt's marriage lasted 47 years, until Wyatt died at age 80 in L.A.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is a journey through America's west when it was still the Wild West.
Best scene in story:
The gunfight at the OK Corral is very famous.
Opinion about the main character:
He changes the course of his life lots of times, working with what is handed to him.