Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Murder Of Wild Bill Hickok...!

In the history of the old west, not many folks had the reputation of Wild Bill Hickok.

However, like most legendary gunfighters of the time, he died a tragic death. Here's a little backstory of Hickok. Some of it you may not know!

Wild Bill Hickok is murdered

“Wild Bill” Hickok, one of the greatest gunfighters of the American West, is murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Born in Illinois in 1837, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok first gained notoriety as a gunfighter in 1861 when he coolly shot three men who were trying to kill him. A highly sensationalized account of the gunfight appeared six years later in the popular periodical Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, sparking Hickok’s rise to national fame. Other articles and books followed, and though his prowess was often exaggerated, Hickok did earn his reputation with a string of impressive gunfights.

After accidentally killing his deputy during an 1871 shootout in Abilene, Texas, Hickok never fought another gun battle. For the next several years he lived off his famous reputation, appearing as himself in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show. Occasionally, he worked as guide for wealthy hunters. His renowned eyesight began to fail, and for a time he was reduced to wandering the West trying to make a living as a gambler. Several times he was arrested for vagrancy.

In the spring of 1876, Hickok arrived in the Black Hills mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota. There he became a regular at the poker tables of the No. 10 Saloon, eking out a meager existence as a card player. On this day in 1876, Hickok was playing cards with his back to the saloon door. At 4:15 in the afternoon, a young gunslinger named Jack McCall walked into the saloon, approached Hickok from behind, and shot him in the back of the head. Hickok died immediately. McCall tried to shoot others in the crowd, but amazingly, all of the remaining cartridges in his pistol were duds. McCall was later tried, convicted, and hanged.

Hickok was only 39 years old when he died. The most famous gunfighter in the history of the West died with his Smith & Wesson revolver in his holster, never having seen his murderer. According to legend, Hickok held a pair of black aces and black eights when he died, a combination that has since been known as the Dead Man’s Hand.

Seems to me that he died at a fairly young age, but I guess that most men in his line of work did.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where it's already hot!


Chickenmom said...

Wow! Didn't know he died so young. Remember the old TV show with Andy Devine as his sidekick?

linda m said...

Not uncommon in the old West. I was in that saloon in Deadwood SD. They tell you the whole story about the killing. It is amazing how small the saloon really is. Hickok is buried in the same cemetery as Calamity Jane - some even say they were lovers. Chickenmom, I do remember the old TV show. Love all the old westerns.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
I think dying young was pretty common back in those days, considering what they did for a living.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
Sad but true. Not the healthiest of life styles, I reckon.
Thanks for coming by today!

Rob said...

That saloon was tiny!
As to all dieing young, Wyatt Earp died in 1929, Bat Masterson died in 1921, Doc Holiday was just 36 but disease killed him.... Couldn't find Matt Dillon or Chester but the show ran 20 years !

JO said...

Shooting someone in the back sure didn't make that fool a gun fighter. I guess he got his just reward.

very humid again and it rained during the very early morning hours again. Hate when I get up so late throws off my day.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Live hard, die young. That pretty much describes those old gun fighters. BTW, I watch all the old TV westerns on Dish's Western Channel. Love them.