Wyatt Earp is on his way out of Netflix. However, NCIS fans have another month to enjoy vintage Mark Harmon as he faced off against Kevin Costner in this story about a legendary US marshal.
This was almost a decade before Harmon got the role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS. He was still aspiring to be a movie star. And Wyatt Earp appeared to be a box office success, at least on paper. What could possibly go wrong with a cast that includes Costner, Gene Hackman, and Dennis Quaid? In addition, the cast included other decade-defining actors such as Bill Pullman, Tom Sizemore, and Michael Madsen. Karen Grassle, from Little House on the Prairie, also appeared in the film.
In December, Netflix added Wyatt Earp to its extensive library. It will depart on August 31.
Earp, the legendary marshal, was played by Costner. During the fight at the OK Corral, Harmon played Johnny Behan, the sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona. The county seat was Tombstone. So, in a way, Harmon was unknowingly practicing some of the lawman skills he learned on NCIS. Maybe that’s a stretch. Behan was also a politician. That’s not Gibbs at all. And he didn’t get along with Earp.
“He was the polar opposite of everything Earp was,” Harmon said in 1994, promoting the film. “Behan was a registered Democrat.” Earp was a Democrat. Behan had the job that Earp desired but did not get. (And) Behan had the girl Earp desired and obtained.”
The problem, according to Harmon, was money. Earp did not make it, but Behan did. “Earp wanted the job of county sheriff because Behan was making $86,000 a year,” Harmon explained in the interview. “Of course, not all of it honestly.”
Harmon spent 26 weeks on location in New Mexico filming Wyatt Earp. The movie was more than three hours long. Lawrence Kasdan, the director, did not want to cut any details. The future NCIS star revealed that he did extensive research on Behan, noting that the real-life character was a distinguished Indian scout who worked as a spy for the US during China’s Boxer Rebellion. You see Gibbs doing this, don’t you?
Behan clashed with Wyatt Earp and his brothers, accusing them of being responsible for the three d3aths at the OK Corral. Nobody will ever know “exactly what happened,” according to Harmon.
“It just depends on the account,” Harmon explained. “Even those who were present at the time had different perspectives on the events, including the OK Corral incident.”
And, yes, Harmon did get to ride a horse in the film. He enjoyed it as well. Harmon knew what he was doing because he claimed to have once owned a horse. Playing cowboy was like living his childhood dream while earning a very adult wage.
Meanwhile, NCIS continues without Harmon. He left the role of Gibbs after the fourth episode of Season 19. NCIS fans haven’t seen Gibbs in action since the episode “Great Wide Open,” which served as his farewell.
Season 20 of NCIS premieres on September 19. However, if you want to see Harmon in his mid-30s, watch Wyatt Earp.
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