Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was a city policeman in Wichita, Kansas and Dodge City, Kansas. He also served as a deputy sheriff and deputy U.S. marshal in Tombstone, Arizona. He was also at different times a farmer, teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon-keeper, gambler, miner, and on one occasion a boxing referee. He was never a cowboy or drover. 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."
Earp spent his early life in Iowa. His first wife Urilla Sutherland Earp died while pregnant less than a year after they married. Within the next two years he was arrested, sued twice, escaped from jail, then was arrested three more times for "keeping and being found in a house of ill-fame". He landed in the cattle boomtown of Wichita, Kansas where he became a deputy city marshal for one year and developed a solid reputation as a lawman. In 1876 he followed his brother James to Dodge City, Kansas where he became an assistant marshal. In the winter of 1878 he went to Texas to gamble where he met John Henry "Doc" Holliday whom Earp credited with saving his life.