Wild Bill Hickok: Speculator and Risk-Taker

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Wild Bill Hickok: American Frontiersman & Army Scout

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was born on May 27, 1837, in Troy Grove, Illinois. He was recognized as one of the best gunfighters in the American West during his lifetime. 

His parents, William Alonzo and Polly Butler Hickok claimed he was a skilled marksman from an early age.

Wild Bill Hickok is famous for serving as sheriff of Hays City and marshal of Abilene, Kansas. His rigorous management was instrumental in bringing two of the most lawless frontier cities under control.

In 1855, Hickok traveled west to farm and joined Free State (anti-slavery) forces under the command of General James Lane in Kansas. Later, he was selected as the Johnson County, Kansas, Monticello Township constable.

After that, Wild Bill Hickok drove a stagecoach for many years. Then, during the Civil War, he served as a driver and spy in the Union Army.

He was holding a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights when he was killed. These cards gained the moniker “dead man’s hand.” The cards are key part of advanced poker tips.

Notable Facts About Wild Bill Hickock?

During a poker game with an old acquaintance called Davis Tutt, tensions escalated, leading to a standoff in the town square. They were 70 meters apart and fired simultaneously while standing side by side. Hickok’s shot struck Tutt in the ribs, causing him to collapse and die.

Wild Bill Hickok was judged not guilty of manslaughter, and a story about the case published in 1867’s Harper’s Magazine made him renowned across the country.

At age 39, despite having glaucoma, which made it difficult for him to photograph, he married circus owner Agnes Thatcher Lake. Soon after, he left her to seek his fortune in the Black Hills of Dakota.

He rode the same wagon train to Deadwood, South Dakota, as the famed western hero Calamity Jane was later interred close to him.

The Last Chapter

Jack McCall was the most notorious murderer in Deadwood. Wild Bill Hickok was playing cards at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon #10 on August 2, 1876, when McCall entered and shot him in the back of the head. 

McCall asserted that he murdered Wild Bill in retaliation for the death of his brother. At the time of the murder, there was no law in Deadwood, so a group of miners held a trial in the McDaniel’s Theatre. After two hours, McCall was declared innocent and permitted to leave the town.

Jack McCall arrived in Wyoming, where his foul language led to his downfall. McCall boasted about killing Wild Bill so repeatedly that a United States Marshal caught him. 

The trial was deemed unlawful because it took place outside the legal jurisdiction (Deadwood was still a gold camp on Indian territory at the time). In the spring of 1877, McCall was taken to Yankton, the capital of the Dakota Territory, where he was retried, found guilty, and executed.

Two black aces, two black eights, and an unidentified fifth card were in Wild Bill Hickok’s hand when he was shot and murdered; these cards became known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.” Remember, if you want to know more about Vegas Aces, check our social media and be aware of every news.

FAQs Wild Bill Hickok’s

Did Wild Bill Hickok shoot his deputy?

Coe fired his gun twice without warning, and the second shot struck Hickok’s coat. He drew his revolver and shot Coe twice, resulting in his death. A man armed with a handgun suddenly approached Hickok. 

Hickok turned immediately and fatally shot the man. Hickok was astonished to discover that he had murdered his deputy, Mike Williams.

Who played Wild Bill Hickok in the movies?

Hickok is a 2017 American Western starring Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson, and Bruce Dern. In the film, Luke Hemsworth portrays Wild Bill Hickok.

What were Wild Bill Hickok’s last words?

McCall strolled down the bar and paused a few steps behind Hickok as if to observe Bill’s hand. Wild Bill replied to Massie, “The old duffer – he broke me on the hand,” which would be his final words.