Fly's Gallery, advertising"Colored work and Instantaneous Photographs... Copies may be had at any time," became the mecca for those among the better-class citizenry who wished their likenesses preserved for posterity.And some of the other kind came, too.The gallery was next to the OK Corral where the not-so-respectable "cowboys" left their horses while in town.Many in Tombstone considered cowboys another name for rustlers and stage-robbers in those days.
This location drew the Flys into one of the most famous one-minute street fights of all time -- the fight at the OK Corral on October 26, 1881.The principal actors on one side were Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday, while the opposing faction was apparently not too well represented by Ike Clanton, Bill Clanton, Tom McLowry, Frank McLowry and Billy Claiborne.Although the Earp group received some non-fatal wounds, only Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne of the opponents saw the light of another day.
With thirty or more shots being fired right outside his window Fly was immediately alerted.Before the smoke of the first shots cleared Ike Clanton rushed into Fly's front door and to the passageway between Fly's house and the photograph gallery.Thence he made a fast exit down the street and into hiding with a friend.
Billy Claiborne, nicked in the trouser leg by a flying bullet, was pulled into Fly's Gallery by Sheriff Behan, who early had taken refuge there.Behan later testifited that he had requested Fly to permit BIlly to remain in the gallery, but Claiborne had no desire to remain in the vicinity of the Earps and took himself elsewhere with coattails flying.He was destined to die a year later in a gun fight with Buckskin Frank Leslie.
Quoting the testimony of an eye-witness to the shooting, the Epitaph reported: "Tom McLowry fell first, but raised and fired again before he died.Bil Clanton fell next, and raised to fire again when Mr. Fly took his revolver from him."
It appeared from this action that photographer Fly did not duck for cover when the lead began to whiz into his Gallery but became very much involved.This, perhaps, provides some insight into that part of Fly's nature which later led him to seek the office of sheriff of Chochise County.