A Latin Smackdown in Tombstone

Tombstone Movie Poster

Tombstone is one of my favorite Western’s of all time.  The story line and plot is strong and engaging.  The actors chosen for their parts excelled in their characters, going so far as to even lose weight to represent the lean man of the wild west.  Attention to detail was of the up-most where filming was done in the actual Birdcage Theatre, saloons, and even Tombstone itself.

The film’s main scene is the infamous gunfight at the O. K. Corral, but it is the Ringo-Doc Holliday confrontation that is emblazoned in my memory.

One particular scene captured my imagination and it is when Johnny Ringo, head tough of ‘The Cowboys’ (Cochise County) gang in town, meets Doc Holliday for the first time.  Ringo identifies Holliday, who is visibly inebriated and suffering ‘consumption’ (he’s sick) at the Faro card gaming table with Wyatt Earp dealing.  Ringo immediately addresses Holliday in small talk where at the end Holliday states his hatred of Ringo.  Wyatt warns Ringo that Holliday is drunk, wherein Holliday responds in Latin, “in vero veritas”, which roughly translates (and implies) that Holliday speaks his mind when drinking.

To everyone’s surprise, here is where it picks up and gets interesting when Ringo retorts in Latin ‘you do what you do best’ and all inferna breaks out!

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  1. Age quod agis is the motto at our local Jesuit high school. They translate it as do well whatever you do . Clearly, the translation is… flexible. I think it translates most simply as do what you do , which when directed at high school students, means focus on your task at hand and finish it .

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