The shootout at the O.K. Corral and the ending of the old west as it had never been told before—from a woman's point of view—in this lost western classic!
Riva Cane, a strong-willed, determined woman, came to Tombstone to start a millinery shop, turn it into a successful enterprise, make money and achieve independence. Focused entirely on business, she had never met a man who attracted her and had no interest in romance or marriage. (Like many of Kelland's heroines, Riva Cane is based on his mother, an 1890s feminist and successful businesswoman who was a force in local politics and the Congregational Church. And in Tombstone he gives one of the most complete portraits of her relationship with his father, who has much in common with the easygoing and easily-amused hero.)
Shortly after Riva arrived in Tombstone one of the seminal events in the town's early history took place, as a raging fire swept through the clapboard business district, destroying offices, restaurants, hotels and threatening its economic survival. Riva immediately took an action which was to prove controversial, and investing her meager life savings doubled it in just ten minutes.
Her millinery was successful, a hit with the women of the gentry, but not particularly profitable—and what Riva did next made her wealthy, but also the subject of scandal, gossip and disapproval.
Then Riva met Doc Holliday (and through him the Earp brothers, whose battle against the murderous Clanton clan she supported), which brought her back at least partway into the good graces of Tombstone's respectables.
Finally, Riva encountered the two men who would the greatest impact her young life: Billy Clanton, youngest of the Clanton gang, raised to think robbery and murder were a normal part of life. He fell in love with Riva at first sight—whatever Riva wanted he swore he would steal it for her and that he would kill any man who came between her and him. Leonidas Brewster, faro dealer at a local gaming saloon, whose mysterious disappearances were the subject of sinister whispers, and whose habit of rescuing her from dangerous situations Riva was certain she could handle herself, infuriated her to the point of madness. He kept coming between her and Billy Clanton and was first on the killer kid's list.
All three of their lives, and the future of Tombstone, hung by a thread on the day the Clantons gathered at the O.K. Corral, and the Earps buckled on their gunbelts.
Tombstone is as fitting a climax to Kelland's Arizona Quartet as it is to the story of the Old West.
"The Earps, the Clantons, Doc Holliday, and all the glamorous characters of Arizona's toughest early-day town come to life in surprising and convincing fashion in Tombstone by Clarence Budington Kelland, one of the nation's great storytellers. Miss Reva Cane, a lovely yet practical-minded young thing from Vermont, is the heroine, and like all of Kelland's heroines is as interesting as she is glamorous. The novel comes to a climax with the epic gun battle in the O.K. Corral. Kelland has done a masterful job in weaving fact and fiction together. Kelland fans will rank it at the top. It definitely is recommended reading." —Arizona Republic
"The town was Tombstone, its newspaper The Epitaph, its theatre the Bird Cage Opera House, and its population such as Curly Bill, Big Nose Kate, the Flying Nymph and Johnny-behind-the-deuce. Add the richest silver deposits since the Comstock Lode, a well-organized group of cattle rustlers and smugglers, and there's small wonder that it gained the reputation of being one of the wildest of the West's wild towns. Mr. Kelland plants a Vermont girl in Tombstone where she expands her aunt's dressmaking business into the 1881 equivalent of an exclusive "shoppe." The climax is the famous shoot-out between the Earps and the Clantons. Clarence Budington Kelland's Tombstone is the best blending of fiction with history that this reviewer has seen." —The New York Times