Mike Gordon was a former U.S. Army Scout who was sweat on a gal that worked in a saloon that Doc Holliday owned a half-interest in. After he was rebuffed in an effort to get the gal to run off with him, a very drunk Gordon became belligerent and stepped outside.
Once there he decided to shoot up the town. It is said that somebody did a public service and no one in the crowd who witnessed the shooting could say who did it, but someone shot Gordon.
Gordon died the next morning, and the Coroner's Jury ruled it an “excusable homicide.”
While Doc Holliday is said to have had some trouble with Gordon that night at his saloon, he never owned up to killing him and no charges were ever brought against Holliday.
Two years later the Tombstone Nugget quoted the Las Vegas Optic describing Doc as, “the identical individual who killed poor inoffensive Mike Gordon”.
As for his brush up with Charles Champagne Austin, that was classic of most shootout in saloons. It is believed that he gunfight with Austin was his first ever gunfight.
It took place in Dallas, Texas, and both men emptied their pistols and missed with every shot from a distance of a few feet away from each other.
Both were arrested afterwards, fines and released.
Supposedly Wyatt Earp told this to Stuart N. Lake, Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal, copyright 1931, "He was a dentist whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit..."
Supposedly Bat Masterson said, in Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal, copyright 1931, Stuart N. Lake wrote, "Doc had but three redeeming traits. One was his courage; he was afraid of nothing on Earth. The second was the one commendable principal in his code of life, sterling loyalty to friends. The third was his affection for Wyatt Earp."
In recent years, a writer by the name of Doc O'Meara, in Guns of the Gunfighters, Krause Publications, 2003, wrote "Without question a stone killer, an alcoholic and a whore monger. He was known to cheat at cards."
I don't know how he knows that Doc was a card cheat because I can't find any evidence of that, but it just might be a testament to what some researchers come away with after researching Doc Holliday.
We must remember that it was a time when all sorts of folks kept journals and diaries, and that even the smallest newspapers kept the comings and goings of all sorts of people -- whether it was an article of someone's Aunt coming to town to visit her sister, and so on --fact is all sorts of things were chronicled in the Old West.
The problem with confirming Doc Holliday's reputation is that there are not a lot of any sort of newspaper articles, journal entries, or legal records to match the many supposed "un-named" men who Holliday is said to have supposedly killed.
And yes, the same is true for the supposed bar-room skirmishes, fights, and tales of knifings credited to Doc.
Since no records are available to show that any of them actually took place, there's no way of showing that they ever happened.
Yes, it is probably all the imagination of fiction writers and Doc himself.
Dime Novelist, biographers, and newspaper writers in those days were as bad as Liberal Newspapers today.