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Wyatt Earp in North Idaho: The Lawman's Little-Known Adventures

Wyatt Earp in North Idaho: The Lawman's Little-Known Adventures

Wyatt Earp, one of the most famous lawmen of the American Old West, is known for his exploits in places like Tombstone and Dodge City. However, not many people know that Earp also spent some time in North Idaho. In this article, we will explore Wyatt Earp's time in North Idaho, including why he moved there, what he did while he was there, and what he did after his time in Idaho.

In 1884, Wyatt Earp and his brother James arrived in the small town of Eagle City, Idaho, hoping to strike it rich in the local gold mines. Eagle City was a typical mining town of the era, with a population of around 2,000 people. The Earp brothers set up a saloon and gambling hall in the town, which became a popular spot for miners and other locals to relax after a hard day's work.

Although Wyatt Earp was primarily known for his work as a lawman, he was also an astute businessman. His saloon and gambling hall in Eagle City was a successful venture that brought in a steady stream of customers. In fact, Wyatt Earp was so successful that he was able to invest in a number of other businesses in the area, including a hotel and a stage line.

In addition to his business ventures, Wyatt Earp also got involved in local politics. In 1885, he ran for the position of constable in nearby Murray. Despite facing stiff competition, Earp won the election and served as constable of Murray for several months. During his time as constable, Earp was known for his fair and even-handed approach to law enforcement.

After his brief stint in politics, Earp returned to Eagle City and continued to run his saloon and gambling hall. However, his time in North Idaho was coming to an end. In 1885, the Earp brothers left North Idaho and headed for Alaska, where they hoped to find gold in the Klondike.

Despite his relatively short stay in North Idaho, Wyatt Earp left a lasting impression on the area. Today, his legacy lives on in the stories and legends that surround his time in Eagle City and Murray.

While Wyatt Earp's time in North Idaho may not have been as well-documented as his time in places like Tombstone and Dodge City, there are still some interesting facts and anecdotes that can be gleaned from historical records and local lore. Here are a few fun facts about Wyatt Earp in North Idaho:

  1. Wyatt Earp was not the only famous figure to spend time in Eagle City. In fact, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody also visited the town during its heyday as a mining boomtown.

  2. Earp was known for his love of gambling, and he often participated in high-stakes poker games in his saloon. Legend has it that he once won $3,000 in a single hand.

  3. Despite his reputation as a tough lawman, Earp was also known for his charm and charisma. He was a skilled conversationalist and was popular with both men and women.

  4. Earp's time as constable of Murray was relatively uneventful, as the town was known for being relatively peaceful. However, he did have to deal with a few minor incidents, such as a runaway horse and a drunken brawler.

After leaving North Idaho, Wyatt Earp continued to travel and seek his fortune. He spent time in Alaska, California, and even Europe before eventually settling in Los Angeles. In his later years, Earp became a respected citizen of Los Angeles and was known for his involvement in real estate and other business ventures. He also became a sought-after speaker on the subject of the Old West, and he often regaled audiences with tales of his exploits


  1. "Wyatt Earp in Idaho" by Arthur W. Fairclough, published in Idaho Yesterdays, Fall 1963.
  2. "Wyatt Earp's Idaho" by P.A. Kuntz, published in Idaho Magazine, October 2011.
  3. "Eagle City, Idaho Territory: Boom and Bust on the Coeur d'Alene" by R.C. Langille, published in Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Summer 1981.
  4. "Wyatt Earp: The Missing Years" by John Boessenecker, published in Wild West Magazine, February 2016.
  5. "Wyatt Earp's Idaho Adventure" by Keith Petersen, published in Spokesman-Review, August 8, 2015.
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