Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

My Darling Clementine (1946)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

My Darling Clementine (1946)

In John Ford's western classic - with title credits underscored by the singing of the folk song "(Oh My Darling) Clementine" by a cowboy chorus - about the legendary Wyatt Earp and his participation in the OK Corral Gunfight in Tombstone, Arizona Territory in 1881:

  • it told the tale of the four Earp brothers - in the early 1880s, during a cattle drive through Arizona enroute to California; and the first of their many encounters with Old Man Clanton (Walter Brennan) and his Clanton gang of scurrilous gunfighters - who met with Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) on the trail and told him of the nearby town of Tombstone
Old Man Clanton
(Walter Brennan)
Young James Earp
(Don Garner)
(l to r): Morgan, Wyatt, Virgil Earp
  • three of the four Earp brothers visited the uncivilized, wild town of Tombstone that evening - a lawless town (without a marshal) - evidenced in an early scene when Wyatt Earp was getting a haircut with a barber (Ben Hall) and was interrupted by a shooting outdoors by drunken Indian Charlie (Charles Stevens) (Wyatt: "What kind of a town is this anyway? Excuse me ma'am. A man can't get a shave without gettin' his head blowed off") - Wyatt was forced to subdue the man
  • young James' body was startlingly discovered after a return to the Earp campsite - Wyatt suspected that the Clantons had rustled the Earp cattle and murdered him, and warily spoke to them in town; shortly later, Wyatt was at his younger brother's gravesite (with a Monument Valley backdrop) (BORN 1864 DIED 1882) - and decided to seek revenge, by becoming the town's marshal (and making his surviving brothers his deputies)
  • Wyatt developed a friendship with hot-tempered, well-educated gambler and saloon chief Dr. John Henry "Doc" Holliday (Victor Mature), originally a cultured Bostonian, who was suffering from TB (or "consumption"); his mistress was hot-blooded Mexican saloon dancer-singer Chihuahua (Linda Darnell); Wyatt first encountered Chihuahua when she was helping signal other poker players about his cards, and he angrily dunked her in a horse's trough
  • half-drunk Shakespearean actor Granville Thorndyke (Alan Mowbray) was tormented by the Clantons and forced to deliver the famous Hamlet soliloquy atop a saloon table, until he was defended by Earp
  • one of the film's most memorable images was of Wyatt balancing himself on the two hind legs of his chair on the porch in Tombstone, as the stagecoach from Tucson pulled into town; the stage was carrying schoolteacher Clementine Carter (Cathy Downs) (Note: she was "Doc's" former ex-lover/fiancee from Boston, who had arrived in town to locate him, but he spurned her)
Earp on Porch
Arrival of Clementine Carter
Spurned by Ex-Fiancee "Doc"
  • during a powerful sequence in his rented room, "Doc" gazed at his medical doctor's diploma - he took a drink of whiskey (his face reflected in the glass), then sarcastically spit out the words: "Dr. John Holliday," and smashed his whiskey shot glass into the frame, shattering the glass; it was a reminder of what he used to be
  • Wyatt Earp majestically escorted Clementine to a church service (dedicating the laying of the foundation of a new church to be built) and the church's open-air social dance - a fundraiser ("Sashay back and make room for our new Marshal and his lady-fair")
Wyatt and Clementine at the Church Dance
  • a tell-tale solid silver-cross necklace/medal (bought by the murdered James Earp to give to his blonde sweetheart Cory Sue) was worn by Chihuahua - she at first claimed it was a gift from "Doc" (to cover up for her indiscretions) - but then admitted it had been given to her by the man who killed Wyatt's brother James - Billy Clanton (John Ireland)
  • Billy Clanton shot and mortally-wounded Chihuahua (after he overheard her implicating him in the murder of James, as she spoke the words: "It was Billy Clanton"), and despite efforts of "Doc" to save her with surgery, she soon died
  • after killing Billy, Wyatt's brother Virgil Earp (Tim Holt) was cold-bloodedly shot in the back by Old Man Clanton at his homestead, leading to the historic OK Corral shootout climax of the Earps against the Clantons
The O.K. Corral Shootout
The Standoff
Wyatt's March Down Main Street
"Doc's" Death
  • after the shootout that decimated the Clantons, Doc Holliday's affliction weakened him and made him vulnerable, and he died during the shoot-out
  • and at the film's end -- Earp bid goodbye to Clementine before riding off away from the camera toward the rock monuments in the distance in the last image: ("Ma'am, I sure like that name - Clementine") - he was leaving town and joining up with his brother Morgan Earp (Ward Bond)

Disruption in Tombstone During Wyatt's Haircut

Wyatt Confronting the Clantons

Wyatt's Visit to James' Grave

Chihuahua (Linda Darnell)

"Doc" Holliday (Victor Mature)

Actor Thorndyke Reciting Shakespeare in Saloon For Clantons

"Doc's" Destroyed Past as Medical Doctor

Chihuahua's Anger at Earp and Jealousy Toward Clementine

Wyatt Noticing The Telltale Medal Around Chihuahua's Neck

Chihuahua Shot and Mortally Wounded by Billy Clanton

Ending: Wyatt's Goodbye to Clementine


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