As a writer, I find that when I'm working with a historical person, there comes a moment when one tiny detail, one little anecdote, makes them snap into reality for me. Pop. The telling detail. The perfect thing. Bang, the person makes sense, and I know them, and I can write them properly.
I've had a hard time finding one of those for Doc. He's so mythologized, and we have so little of himself in his own words, that it's hard to get a handle on him. He's contradictory, elusive, sharp-edged. Loyal to his friends, terrible to his enemies, soft-spoken until he's as foul-mouthed as a cat, kind to women and children, and a right bastard when in his cups. Maybe a bit bipolar, to apply a modern buzzword.
Anyway, in the midst of a discussion of how Doc's friends and enemies in Tombstone viewed him, there's a passage on his relationship with the town's children, with quotes from a few people who apparently viewed him with great fondness as kids, bringing us to this line:
[Billy] Hattich said that Doc was friendly, generous, soft-spoken, and a favorite with the town's kids because he always carried candy in his pocket. (Gary L. Roberts, Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, p 160)
And my first thought is, aw. That's kind of revealing, right there.
And then my second thought is, well of course.