In the wake of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Ike Clanton attempted to have Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday tried in Contention City after a grand jury refused to indict them in Tombstone in the wake of the Spicer Hearing. However, no trial was ever held in Contention City, either.
During Tombstone's early rapid growth, Contention served as stopover hotel and livery stable for stagecoach passengers, until March, 1882 when the New Mexico and Arizona railroad was extended from Benson to Contention. The day after Morgan Earp's assassination on Sunday, March 18, Deputy U.S. Marshall Wyatt, with assistant deputy James Earp and a group of friends, brought Morgan's body here for transport back to the family home in Colton, California, where Morgan's wife waited to bury him. The next day Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday left their horses in Contention in 1882 and rented a wagon to transport the wounded Virgil Earp and his wife Allie to the railroad station in Benson.
Contention City is also notable as the scene of a shootout between outlaw members of the Jack Taylor Gang and lawman John Slaughter. When Slaughter was elected sheriff of Cochise County in 1886, four members of the Jack Taylor Gang—Manuel Robles, Geronimo Miranda, Fred Federico, and Nieves Deron—were wanted by both the Mexican Rurales and Arizona law enforcement on charges of robbery and murder. On the run, the men returned to Tombstone to visit relatives. Slaughter heard that the wanted men were in his territory, and set out to apprehend them, but the outlaws were tipped off and fled the town. Slaughter pursued them around the state, eventually learning that they were holed up at the home of Robles' brother in Contention City. When Slaughter and his posse raided the house, he found Robles and Deron asleep. Rather than surrendering, the outlaws came up shooting. Slaughter shot and killed Robles' brother while Deron and Robles ran for cover. Deron kept firing, and one shot clipped the lobe of Slaughter's right ear, the only wound Slaughter would sustain in the gunfight. Slaughter's next shot mortally wounded Deron, who on his deathbed confessed to the crimes he had been charged with. Robles got away, but was later shot and killed by Mexican authorities along with Miranda, spelling the end of the Jack Taylor Gang.
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