Yesterday we drove to Tombstone for the afternoon. I don't remember being there since sometime in the early 60's with the family. They call themselves "The town too tough to die" which it appears they still are. There were a fair number of tourists wandering the streets and shops.
I seem to remember that they used to stage reenactments of the shootout at the OK Corral right on the main street in town, but it is now held in a separate location where you have to pay to watch it. It's kind of like the Old Tucson set. There are guys dressed in period outfits all over town trying to get you to go see the show. There's also the OK Corral itself, (which you have to pay to visit) and the Birdcage Saloon, (which you have to pay to visit) and some other historic buildings, including one with real "ghosts", (which you have to pay to visit). I think you get the picture. Every building is either a shop selling tourist trinkets or someplace you have to pay to see.
We wandered the streets and read all the signs explaining what each building was, but we didn't visit a single shop. I guess we've just seen too many tourist traps like these in our travels. We did shell out $5 apiece to visit the Tombstone State Historical Park in the old courthouse. It is now a museum and quite well done. It has displays and artifacts explaining the history of the town and Southeastern Arizona.
We also made the obligatory stop at the Boot Heel Cemetery. It is owned by the city and is free, but you can only enter and leave through the gift shop of course. Almost all the headstones have been replaced with standard sized and freshly painted boards that I suspect bear little resemblance to their originals. Still, it is a real cemetery, and the people whose names are on the markers are actually buried there, even if it did feel like Disney built it.
It was a simple and inexpensive outing, only an hour from Tucson, and we learned something about the town and area. Still, I wonder what the future holds for them long term? My generation grew up with cowboys, Indians and outlaws from the old west on TV. There were more westerns on TV than cartoons, and not just on Saturday mornings. Westerns made up a good portion of the prime time shows as well. But that changed with my kids, and the subsequent generations. I venture to say that very few kids today have ever heard of "the shootout at the OK Corral". Although it is spring break this week, and we did see a few families in town, the vast majority of visitors were our age. That can't bode well for "the town too tough to die."