• Big Nose Kate was an important part of Doc Holliday’s life, but her role is not featured prominently in the film Tombstone.
  • Their relationship was turbulent, but despite their struggles, Kate remained by Doc’s side until his death from tuberculosis.
  • After Doc’s death, Kate remarried but later left her abusive husband. She lived a resilient and independent life, working as a prostitute and eventually joining the Arizona Pioneer’s Home before her death at age 90.

Big Nose Kate (Joanna Pacula) doesn’t play a big role Tombstone, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a big part of Doc Holliday’s (Val Kilmer) life and would live a full life after her time in the titular Arizona town. The ’90s western, which focuses primarily on the true story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday before and after the infamous “OK Corral Shootout,” doesn’t tell how Doc met Kate, whose real name was Mary Katherine Horony Cummings. The couple settled in Dodge City, Kansas, and followed Earp and his brothers to Arizona, intending to settle there in a quieter life.

The Clanton Gang and Johnny Ringo had other plans, and their desire to leave Doc Holliday after a night of gambling led to the standoff at the OK Corral and sparked the Earp vendetta that brought most of them to justice. Doc’s relationship with Kate was stormy and they often argued, creating an unstable foundation that Big Nose Kate had to move away from. Doc wasn’t a man to give up easily, and even though she knew he was dying of tuberculosis, Kate wouldn’t let the famous gunslinger suffer alone, after the end of… Tombstoneshe led a robust life.

Big Nose Kate reportedly visited Doc Holliday in Tombstone a few times after the OK Corral incident

In a 1939 letter to her niece Lillian Rafferty, Kate described the aftermath of the shooting at the OK Corral and explained how deeply it affected Doc, to the point where he openly wept in front of her because of how intense the violent confrontation was had taken a heavy toll on him. Kate did not remain in Tombstone, but made frequent trips to see Doc until he left for Colorado in April 1882. In 1887, Big Nose Kate traveled to live with him in Redstone, Colorado, while also visiting her family in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Although Kate and Doc never officially married, they signed each other in the guesthouse guestbooks as Mr. and Mrs., and she was considered his common-law wife. He viewed them as intellectual equals, although this is not mentioned there Tombstone where Kate is relegated to a very small role despite being incredibly important to Doc’s life. It’s not hard to understand why, despite their arguments, they always made up, even when Kate’s job took her away from Tombstone.

Big Nose Kate remarried after Doc Holliday’s death

Big Nose Kate visited Doc until his death in 1987, after the tuberculosis he had lived with for years finally took his life. After Doc’s death in 1887, Kate met Irish blacksmith George Cummings, whom she married in 1890 in Aspen, Colorado. The couple worked together in several mining camps before leaving Colorado and moving to Bisbee, Arizona, where Kate ran a bakery for a time. Unfortunately for Kate, upon returning to Willcox, Arizona, her husband became an abusive alcoholic and she left him in 1990, moving to Dos Cabezas and working at the Cochise Hotel.

Kate was a prostitute most of her life, although she received a good education and had ample opportunity to do other things. She found the work enjoyable and the independence even more so as it allowed her to go and go as she pleased, which is why she was able to leave both Doc and later her husband whenever she felt like it and she knew how that she was able to stay financially solvent. Kate had lived in nursing homes after her parents died, was already married and outlived her son, when she met Doc Holliday at 26, a testament to her resilience and determination.

Big Nose Kate’s time in Arizona and 1940 death explained

Kate eventually met John J. Howard, a miner with whom she lived from 1910 until his death in 1930. At age 80, she contacted George Hunt, the governor of Arizona, and asked to be accepted into the Arizona Pioneer’s Home. a home for destitute miners and male pioneers in Prescott, Arizona, where she was finally admitted after a six-month wait. She was one of the first women to live there and was an outspoken member of the community and frequent campaigner for the Arizona state legislature.

Big Nose Kate died of heart failure on November 2, 1940, just a few days before her 90th birthday. Although many people wanted to hear her stories about Tombstone and Doc Holliday, she only spoke to Prescott historian AW Bork and Anton Mazzonovich. To the end of her days, she remained a vibrant, strong-willed woman who was in every sense a legend of the American West, depicting Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Tombstonewhich she survived and which did not overshadow or determine her life.

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