Fighting for Air: the Unknown Adventures of Young Doc Holliday
by Jack Kincade
Finally these unwritten chapters of one of the Wild West's greatest real life heroes flash dangerously to life across the open pages of 'Fighting for Air - the Unknown Adventures of Young Doc Holliday', as if illuminated by gunfire.
Everyone around the world knows all about Wyatt Earp's exciting life story, the legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral and how his best friend named Doc Holliday was there to back him to the hilt, even willing to die for Wyatt and his brothers.
But very few Western fans know anything at all about the extraordinary past of the infamous and dashing Doc Holliday himself. He was so much more than merely Wyatt's loyal best friend and defender in all dangers. His unwavering friendship has come down to us through time to define the very meaning of Loyalty, Friendship and literally the American notion of 'Having Someone's Back'.
But how did Doc Holliday ever become Doc Holliday in the first place? It seems that everyone knows the name but no one knows much about the youth of one of the coolest heroic western characters to ever live. And unfortunately his early, unknown life story has been lost to us all on the winds of time. Until now.
It turns out that Doc Holliday's intrepid young life was filled with endless tales of his own impossible daring adventures. His gallant youth composed of nothing less than an endless series of swaggering, witty conflicts as he consciously ran headlong into danger with countless deadly exploits long before he ever grew up and met that famously somber young Deputy Marshal named Earp or arrived in a bustling little silver town called Tombstone.
'Fighting for Air - the Unknown Adventures of Young Doc Holliday' covers the span of time that no one is familiar with in Doc Holliday’s life story. The story of his 'coming of age' has never been told.
What everyone gets wrong and forgets in the Doc Holliday story, in all books and all films, is just how young Doc Holliday really was when his fierce reputation and legend began to grow. He was only 21 years old when the doctors in Atlanta, Georgia handed him his death sentence. Consumption. Tuberculosis. He knew what he was in for. He had watched helplessly as his mother had died from it a mere seven years before. The doctor’s told him he might add a year, maybe two at the most to his young life if he fled west for the dry air. And so he did. Running for his life. Leaving behind his family, his beloved South and even the great love of his life, his first-cousin Mattie Holiday, who ultimately joined a nunnery over their scandalous affair.
This sweeping, romantic epic follows young John Holliday all the way from his dangerous Civil War childhood adventures, taking him through the daring rescue of his Uncle Thomas at the end of the war and the tragic, untimely death of his beloved mother in his arms; his mad dashes through the west looking for any chance at prolonging his own life, only by risking it daily; his first legendary meeting with Wyatt Earp and the dapper Bat Masterson and even Eddie Foy, the world famous vaudevillian; Doc’s major involvement at the Royal Gorge Railroad Wars and his helping Wyatt survive an assault on Dodge City by the infamous Clay Allison and his gang. And ultimately the novel ends with Doc triumphantly and happily riding away from Dodge to hopefully reunite once again with his best new friend Wyatt Earp in a little place called Tombstone, accompanied by his faithfully dark soul-mate, the lovely saloon girl, Kate Elder, riding fast at his side.
The other element that everyone gets wrong in the Doc Holliday Story is that Doc was extremely violent and carelessly cavalier with his young life merely because he was so close to his own death. But I believe the absolute opposite was true. No young man ever wanted to live more than Doctor John Henry Holliday. He ran to live, he fought to live and he loved to live. He was constantly running for his life, ‘Fighting for Air’… every single day.
- Jack Kincade, January 2010
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