Doc Holliday

The Milt Joyce Incident

Doc Holliday arrived in Tombstone around September 1880. He had been in Prescott, Arizona for a few months as he was listed in the (June)1880 Census in that town. He was listed as staying in the same building as John J. Gosper, who would later be the acting governor for the Territory. Holliday's first incident of any record in Tombstone occurred on October 11, 1880. He became involved in an argument with Johnny Tyler in the Oriental Saloon. Mutual friends disarmed both men and Tyler left the building. Later Holliday got into an argument with Milt Joyce, one of the proprietors of the Oriental. Joyce physically threw Holliday out of the Saloon. Doc returned and asked for his pistol. Joyce refused and Holliday left the building. In a short time he returned with a "self-cocker" (a double action revolver) and approached Joyce, who leaped at Holliday. Doc fired two wild shots; one hitting Joyce in the hand, the other striking the bartender in the toe. Joyce pounced on Holliday and slammed a pistol to his head several times, before being pulled off of Holliday by bystanders. The event was reported by the Nugget and the Epitaph. On October 12, 1880, the Nugget commented:

"Sunday night a disturbance in the Oriental Saloon between John Tyler and Doc Holliday, two well known sports, and a scene of bloodshed was immenient. Mutual friends, however, separated and disarmed them both, and Tyler went away, Holliday remaining in the saloon. M. E. Joyce, one of the proprietors, remonstrated with Holliday about creating a disturbance in the saloon and the conversation resulted with Holliday being bodily fired out by Joyce. The former came in and demanded his pistol from behind the bar, where it had been placed by the officer who disarmed him. It was not given him and he went out, but in a short time returned and walked toward Joyce, who was just coming from behind the bar, and with a remark that wouldn't look well in print, turned loose with a self-cocker. Joyce was not more than ten feet away and jumped for his assailant and struck him over the head with a six-shooter, fellling him to the floor and lighting on top of him. Officers White and Bennett were near at hand and separated them, taking the pistol from each. Just how many shots were fired none present seem able to tell but in casting up accounts Joyce was found to be shot through the hand, his partner Mr. Parker, who was behind the bar, shot through the big toe of the left foot, and Holliday with a blow of the pistol in Joyce's hands. Gus Williams, barkepper, was accused or [sic] firing a shot in the melee but in appearace [sic] in court yesterday morning no complaint appeared against him and the charge was dismissed. All parties directly implicated are still in bed and no direct arrests have been made, although a complaint has been entered against Holliday and he will be brought before Justice Reilly as soon as he is able to appear, probably to-day".

According to the Epitaph, after the fight was broken up, "Holliday was picked up and placed in a chair, it being generally thought, from his bloody appearance, that he was severly, if not fatally, hurt. . . ." Later the day of October 11, Milt Joyce had appeared in court and accused Holliday of assualt with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Justice Reilly issued a warrant for Holliday's arrest. when he appeared in court the following day, no witnesses showed up when his case was supposed to be heard. Judge Reilly allowed Holliday to plead guilty to a reduced charge of assault and battery. He paid a fine of twenty dollars and costs.

Implicated in Murder

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