Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday Part 2

Gothic Western

This is Part 2 of  our series on the look Val Kilmer gave the character Doc Holliday in the legendary film Tombstone: After the Earps come to Tombstone, Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday accompanies the brothers and their wives to a night of theater. For this outing, and all of Doc’s nights of debauched gambling, he ditches the frock coat and adopts a more “sporting” black lounge coat. He will later wear this same coat when riding with Wyatt during the famous “Earp Vendetta Ride”. It is single-breasted with peak lapels. The 4-button front and 3-button cuffs, as well as the two buttons over the rear single vent, are all covered by a black grosgrain silk to add a touch of formality to the jacket. Doc wears the jacket open when in town, only fastening the front buttons when he later wears it while riding with Earp’s posse.

Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday

A real man brings his own flask to the theater.

The black lounge coat also has flapped hip pockets and a breast pocket. Since he wears the coat more formally when wearing it to the theater, Doc stuffs a dark gray silk handkerchief in his breast pocket.

Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday

To be polite, Doc carries his guns slightly concealed in an old fashioned black leather shoulder holster. The gun is holstered on his left side, about six inches below the armpit with the butt facing out. The holster is part of a wide black leather strap that goes up around his left shoulder. It is held into his place by two additional straps: one thin strap that buckles all the way across his waist, and another thin adjustable strap that extends across his back, over his right shoulder, and down to the belt strap.

Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday

Holliday was born in Georgia in 1851. He initially followed the straight career of a dentist, obtaining his D.D.S. and setting up a practice in Atlanta. He was diagnosed with a severe case of tuberculosis in 1873 while still a young man. To counter the effects of the disease that had also taken his mother’s life, Holliday headed to the warm and dry southwest. He initially tried to keep making his living as a dentist, but patients were turned away from his Dallas office by his persistent cough. Holliday quickly turned the gambling as his main source of income. A few arrests and skirmishes later, “Doc” Holliday was known throughout the west as a feared gunfighter and degenerate gambler, having spent time in the boomtowns of Denver, Cheyenne, Deadwood, and the lawless criminal haven of Dodge City, Kansas. In Dodge City, Holliday befriended assistant city marshal Wyatt Earp, an even-tempered and stoic lawman who countered the more impulsive and vice-ridden Holliday. Wyatt and his brothers moved to Tombstone in December 1879. Holliday followed in September 1880, possibly summoned by the Earps to help back their play in their feud against the Clanton-McLaury faction of the Cowboy gang. Whether they called him in or not, Doc was quickly enmeshed in the local politics and violence that escalated that year to the gunfight.