In 1879, Earp and his longtime companion, the former prostitute Mattie Blaylock, left Dodge City for Tombstone, Arizona. The town was booming after a silver rush, and most of the Earp family had gathered there. Virgil was working as the town marshal, and Wyatt began working alongside him. In March 1881, while pursuing a group of cowboys who had robbed a stagecoach, Wyatt struck a deal with local rancher Ike Clanton, who had ties to the cowboys. Clanton soon turned against him, however, and began threatening the Earp brothers. The feud escalated, and finally exploded into violence on October 26, 1881 at the O.K. Corral.
In the gunfight, Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday faced off against the Clanton gang (Ike, his brother Billy, and Tom and Frank McLaury). Morgan, Virgil and Holliday were all wounded, but survived; Billy and the McLaurys were killed; and Wyatt Earp escaped without injury. Ike Clanton filed murder charges against the Earp brothers and Holliday, but a judge cleared them in late November. In December, Virgil was shot and seriously wounded by unknown attackers; the following March, Morgan was killed when unknown gunmen attacked him and Wyatt at a Tombstone saloon. On a hunt for the culprits, Wyatt and his gang killed several suspects, then decided to leave town to avoid prosecution.