Lawlessness in the Western Territories, epidemic or sensationalism, more on the Tombstone shout out

Gunfight at the OK Corral, making history fun

What to me is one of the quintessential things about Arizona aside from the Grand Canyon?  Of course the gunfight at the OK Corral, and that makes for a fun bit of homeschool history lesson.  So, I searched long and hard to find a kid appropriate book about the gunfight at the OK Corral.


Gunfight at the OK Corral lesson

Did you know they didn’t even have one at the bookstores in Arizona when we visited there?  All their stuff in the local interest section was desert, desert, Grand Canyon, desert animals, maybe a book about Kokopelli, but nothing.  I could find the same books in New Mexico and several of them in Texas, so it’s not like it was anything special.  But not one book about the gunfight at the OK Corral, it made me very very sad.


Success I did find one book on the gunfight at the OK Corral

And, it was a surprisingly good book.  Possum’s Wild West and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral* follows the adventures of the brave hitchhiking possum (shouldn’t it be opossum?  Or is that maybe a Southern thing [imagine the accent when I type that]) as he inadvertently runs into the gun fight happening there.


Our simple gunfight at the OK Corral lesson (because sometimes simple is best)

Shootout at the OK Corral lesson

So, while I read to them the adventures of the brave hitchhiking possum ; they happily played with the toob of Wild West* figures I’d found for them.  So they had lots of fun acting out parts of the story, and this worked well because it’s not really a picture book, but one very long story with a couple of pictures to break up the text.

I’d highly recommend picking this up if you see it, I liked the story, and it’s apparently part of a series.  The other benefit is there’s a link (with password) at the back of the book to an audio download.  I haven’t checked it out yet, but I’m intrigued.

Lawlessness in the Western Territories, epidemic or sensationalism, more on the Tombstone shout out

This did lead to some interesting conversations.  Things like: “Mommy were the Indians bad guys?”  So, I explained that they weren’t always the bad guys, sometimes they were, and sometimes the cowboys were.  I really think the current trend of blaming everything on the pioneers as these horrible people isn’t healthy.  Yes, there were a lot of mistakes made by them, but there were also mistakes made by the American Indians.  Neither side is blameless.  So, that is what I’m teaching the kids as it’s age appropriate.  Right now, they’re just learning that both sides did things they shouldn’t have.  When they get older we can get into more details, but right now they really don’t need to know more than that.

Okay, off my soap box about historical revisionism.  It’s a little bit of a sore subject to me.  I don’t know about other states, but it sure seems like Texas goes through this every time we go through textbook revisions of what historical figure are we going to ridicule and who are we going to make into a saint.  Sigh, stupid politicians.

Backing away from the box.  Really, I am now.  Mostly.  Probably for now.

Gunfight at the OK Corral an American history lesson

Looking for more ideas on the Gunfight at the OK Corral?

I’ll link to a few of my favorites for this topic, I’ve always found this particular incident interesting

Tombstone*- I love this movie, historical inaccuracies, warts and all

Gunfight at the OK Corral*- probably a more kid friendly version

Gunfight at the OK Corral notebooking pages


13 responses to “Gunfight at the OK Corral, making history fun”

  1. Christy Avatar

    I agree with you 100% about history being revised for political correctness. It drives me crazy. I like the way you answered the question posed to you!

  2. MaryAnne Avatar

    There was something on NPR about this recently…

  3. I sure learn more about Wild West from your blog than from any other place 🙂 Interesting book too. I guess eventually I will break down and get some of those toobs too.

  4. Phyllis Avatar

    I so absolutely agree with you. Both sides had good and bad behaviors. I think your balanced approach is perfect.

  5. I like the way you have answered your kids questions, well done. 🙂

  6. An Almost Unschooling Mom Avatar
    An Almost Unschooling Mom

    When we looked at the Nez Perce battles, that took place around here, we focused on the steps, and mis-steps of both sides – I think it's very American to want to cheer for the underdog – which is usually the Indians, but we have to remember there were two sides of the story.

    If you can't find a book on the O.K. Corral, I think there's an old Star Trek, where Kirk and the crew reenact it 🙂

  7. I guess its all about perspective in history. You see it from the side that you are on.

  8. Pathfinder Mom Avatar
    Pathfinder Mom

    As Texas goes, so goes the nation when it comes to textbooks. We're not anywhere near Texas and we've heard a lot about it. I watched some of the hearings/negotiation meetings on TV and it was pretty crazy!

    American history isn't pretty at times, that's for sure. This sounds like a great way to explain it to your kids.

  9. Mrs. G Avatar
    Mrs. G

    Does anyone actually pronounce the 'o' in opossum? Isn't it just a technicality to trip you up in classroom spelling bees? Like the 'o' in MAY-naze?

  10. You should have made some swinging doors out of cardboard to add to your fun. 🙂

    1. That is brilliant!

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