Wyatt Earp is a 1994 Western film, written by Dan Gordon and Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Kasdan. The semi-biographical film starred Kevin Costner as lawman Wyatt Earp. Other members of the all-star cast included Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, Mark Harmon, Michael Madsen, Joanna Going, Tom Sizemore, Bill Pullman, JoBeth Williams, and Mare Winningham.
Unlike most films depicting lawman Wyatt Earp, this one gave the back history of his life, starting in his teenage years and taking the viewer on into his late years. Despite being more historically accurate than the earlier film, Tombstone starring Kurt Russell, Wyatt Earp was considered slower paced and lacked the action, therefore receiving little attention. Dennis Quaid did receive some praise for having portrayed Doc Holliday very accurately.
Although the movie received some critical acclaim, it was also nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Picture, despite its having an excellent cast of actors and actresses. Costner's performance won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor.
The film opens with Wyatt Earp as a teenager living on the family farm. His older brothers, Virgil and James, are away at war serving with the Union Army. Wyatt dreams of war, and packs some belongings, bids his younger siblings goodbye, and attempts to run away, intending to lie about his age and join the Union Army. He doesn't make it off the farm before his father catches him and forces him to return home. A short while later, both brothers return home at the wars end, with James gravely wounded. Shortly after the brothers return home, the family moves west. It is during this move that Wyatt first sees a man killed, shot during a gunfight. He gets sick at the sight, and vomits.
Years pass, finding him working out west as a wagon driver. During his time there, he works also as a referee for fights, and finds himself at odds with a bully. Wyatt and the bully eventually come to the point of fighting, with the bully intending to shoot Wyatt, who is unarmed. Wyatt disarms him and defeats him, taking his gun as a trophy.
Returning home to Missouri, Wyatt marries a childhood sweetheart, Urilla Sutherland. The two move into their own house, and he begins working as a policeman. Months later, while pregnant, his wife dies from typhus. He stays by her side throughout the illness, becoming deeply depressed afterward. He burns their home and all they own, begins drinking, and drifting from town to town, eventually landing in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He robs a man for money and steals his horse, but is captured only a short time later. Facing certain hanging, his father bails him out of jail, telling him to leave and never return to Arkansas.
He begins working as a buffalo hunter, where he meets Bat and Ed Masterson. Years pass, and he begins working as a Deputy Marshal in Wichita, Kansas, then later in Dodge City. It is here that he builds a hard reputation, and he kills his first man. He becomes involved with prostitute Mattie Blaylock. The Masterson's begin working with him. He disagrees with Ed Masterson working as a lawman, believing him to be too passive. However, the Dodge City council decides that Ed is more acceptable than Wyatt due to Wyatt's excessive force, and relieve him, appointing Ed to take his place. He begins working for the railroad, capturing outlaws.
While pursuing one outlaw, he is introduced to Doc Holliday, in Fort Griffin, Texas. Shortly aferward, he receives word that Ed Masterson has been killed, and he returns to Dodge City to help bring law and order. After working there for a period of time, he and his family move to Tombstone, Arizona. He immediately finds himself at odds with the Cowboy gang. He becomes involved romantically with Josie Marcus, an actress, putting him at odds with her boyfriend Sheriff Behan.
Eventually the Gunfight at the OK Corral occurs. Virgil is ambushed and wounded, then his brother Morgan is killed. The film then shows only a glimpse of the Vendetta Ride, then skips to many years later with he and Josie mining for gold in Alaska.