Longform

How the West Was Spun

Page 10 of 11

He gets even angrier when he's told his critics won't be satisfied by that response.

"So I put words in [Josephine's] mouth! So what? [Stuart] Lake did it," he barks.

That's a remarkable admission, says Tefertiller. Boyer, he points out, had made his reputation with such books as Suppressed Murder of Wyatt Earp precisely because he had claimed to be telling the unvarnished truth, debunking such mythmakers as Stuart Lake.

"Boyer is now complaining about being held to the standards he established," Tefertiller says. "It's unbelievable."

Gail Allan, a Boyer supporter who came to his defense in a history association newsletter, doesn't understand why he's become such a target.

"It just drives me crazy. The man--okay, he's a bit of a curmudgeon--but then again, that's his charm, and it comes from the period of time he comes from and where he comes from.

"But I never met anybody who would give the shirt off his back to you as much as Glenn would. He is just so forthcoming with the most amazing data that he has collected. And if you take a look at the original things that are there, how anybody can say he made it up is beyond me."

For other Boyer fans as well, the back room of his house, piled high with books, file cabinets, old newspapers and memorabilia, is proof enough that Boyer can support what he's written.

"I've been a friend of Glenn's for 30 years, and I still say he's the number one historian in the country because he's got all the information," says Ben Traywick, official historian for the town of Tombstone. "He's got file cabinets full of it. Now, I don't know whether he's going to show it to anyone else or whether he wants to. I can't speak for him. But he has it, I know that, because I've seen lots and lots of stuff that people haven't seen."

Michael Hickey, publisher of Wyatt Earp's Tombstone Vendetta, also cites Boyer's storied collections. "I haven't seen Glenn's collection, but I've talked to people who have. Glenn's got a lot of stuff in there he hasn't shared. . . . The man has got filing cabinets full of things, and documents and photographs."

But Boyer's file cabinets don't sway Jeff Morey, Casey Tefertiller, Allen Barra and the rest. With no evidence that the missing Clum manuscript ever existed, they say, the first half of I Married Wyatt Earp can only be judged a historical novel; the second half, meanwhile, is based on existing material, but differences between Josephine's work and Boyer's editing of it are startling in places. (See accompanying story.)

"Josephine did not talk about the stuff he wanted her to talk about: Tombstone. She didn't say anything of that stuff, so Glenn Boyer created a Josephine who did. Now he's going crazy coming up with sources to justify it. Presented as it is, the book is a fraud," says Barra.

"Why did Glenn do any of this?" Morey asks. "He had the Cason manuscript. He had the sources. All he had to do was play by the rules and we'd all have to revere him forever. But it's like he has this gremlin inside of him that prevents that."

Morey has been the target of broadsides by Boyer and his supporters. Boyer says Morey was motivated to expose Ten Eyck because Boyer got him fired as historical consultant to the movie Tombstone. Boyer wrote a letter to the movie's producer complaining that he hadn't been consulted in the making of the movie, and Morey's name subsequently didn't show up in credits.

Morey's work on the movie, however, was finished before filming began; Morey himself asked that he not be listed in credits as a protest when the film's director was replaced, according to a letter that the film's producer, Jim Jacks, wrote to the journal that published Morey's article on Ten Eyck.

That hasn't stopped Boyer from claiming that a vast conspiracy of jealous researchers is out to get him.

"This is not a bunch of evil, spiteful folks trying to rob Glenn Boyer of his livelihood. These are decent people who feel a responsibility to preserving history. We want to know the truth, and we think history counts," Tefertiller says.

Barra in particular seems willing to pick a fight with Boyer. Barra threatened to sue Boyer's printer if the new book, "Earp Curse," included the November 5 letter that Barra wrote, in which he warned he would go after Boyer's documents.

Boyer says the printer refused to print the book. Now he's looking for another printer, and he's having his attorney research whether Barra violated racketeering laws.

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Tony Ortega
Contact: Tony Ortega