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 right
on this very spot in Tombstone, Arizona.
But very few real 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
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
'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
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 faithful 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.
You see, this steely, young
southern gentleman didn’t surrender to the horrible curse that Fate had hurled
at him so sadistically, or lie back down and curl-up into a ball to die, as
most would, in the face of these impossible odds. He made a clear choice. He
stood back up on his hind legs, brushed himself off and disappeared into the
Wild West like a ghost...somehow destined to become 'Doc Holliday' instead.
So how in the world did the very proper Doctor John Henry Holliday D.D.S. of
Griffin, Georgia ever become the dashingly brave Doc Holliday of
How could this sickly young
dentist, with all of his formal education and gentlemanly upbringing, transform
himself so radically into the avenging anti-hero who took on the meanest bad
men the Wild West had to offer?
And why would valiant Wyatt Earp, of all people, trust this brash, drunken
gambler and notoriously deadly young gunslinger so implicitly with defending
his own noble young life?
All of these questions are finally answered in 'Fighting for Air - the
Unknown Adventures of Young Doc Holliday' by Jack Kincade.
This is how the boy became the man.
This is how that young man became the Legend.
And some say it all happened just like this.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.