2nd August 1876 “Wild Bill” Hickok Died. (Video Included)

James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a figure in the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame, although some of his exploits are fictionalized. His nickname of Wild Bill has inspired similar nicknames for men known for their daring in various fields.

Wild Bill Hickok Died aged 39.    Wild Bill, Texas Jack Omohundro, and Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873
Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach driver, then became a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, and professional gambler. Between his law-enforcement duties and gambling, which easily overlapped, Hickok was involved in several notable shootouts, and was ultimately killed while playing poker in a Dakota Territory saloon.

Hickok 1869.            Steve and Charlie Utter at the grave of Wild Bill Hickok
On July 21, 1865, in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, Hickok killed Davis Tutt, Jr. in a “quick draw” duel. Fiction later typified this kind of gunfight, but Hickok’s is in fact the first one on record that fits the portrayal.

According to the accepted account, the dispute came to a head when Tutt was coaching an opponent of Hickok’s during a card game. Hickok was on a winning streak and Tutt, frustrated, requested that he repay a $40 loan, which Hickok did. Tutt then demanded another $35 owed from a previous card game. Hickok refused, as he had “a memorandum” proving it to be for $25. Tutt then took Hickok’s watch, which was lying on the table, as collateral for the $35, at which point Hickok warned him not to wear it or he, Hickok, would shoot him. The next day, Tutt appeared in the square wearing the watch prominently, and Hickok tried to negotiate the watch’s return. Tutt stated that he would now accept no less than $45, but both agreed that they would not fight over it and went for a drink together. Tutt left the saloon but returned to the square at 6 p.m., while Hickok arrived on the other side and warned him not to approach him while wearing the watch. Both men faced each other sideways in the dueling position and both fired almost simultaneously. Tutt’s shot missed, but Hickok’s didn’t, piercing Tutt through the side from about 75 yards away. Tutt called out, “Boys, I’m killed” and ran onto the porch of the local courthouse and then back to the street, where he collapsed and died.


Present-day gravesite            Hickok with his star on the Texas Trail of Fame

On August 2, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory. On this fateful day Wild Bill violated one of his own cardinal rules and was sitting with his back to a door. Twice he asked Rich to change seats with him and on both occasions Rich refused.

Wild Bill was having a run of bad luck that day and was forced to borrow a poker stake from the bartender. That run of bad luck worsened when an ex-buffalo hunter called John (“Broken Nose Jack”) McCall walked in unnoticed. Jack McCall walked to within a few feet of Wild Bill and then suddenly drew a pistol and shouted, “Take that!” before firing.


The bullet hit Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The bullet emerged through Wild Bill’s right cheek striking Captain Massie in the left wrist. Legend has it that Hickok had lost his stake and had just borrowed $50 from the house to continue playing. When shot, he was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights, all black. The fifth card is debated, or, as some say, had been discarded and its replacement had not yet been dealt.

Click here to learn more from Wikipedia.




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6 Responses to 2nd August 1876 “Wild Bill” Hickok Died. (Video Included)

  1. Sue says:

    Good read Mags, I didn’t know that “Wild Bill” died so young, seems the only way they got him was to shoot him in the back. Didn’t get time to look a the video, will come back at lunch time and have a look.

  2. malc50 says:

    Thanks magsx2. I liked both Johnny Cash and Doris Day’s singing, but would have liked to have heard from Howard Keel (Wild Bill in the movie “Calamity Jane”). I’ve always said that, if I found Aladdin’s Lamp and had three wishes, it would be to have the voice of Howard Keel, the dancing ability of Gene Kelly, and of course more money than you could poke a stick at!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi malc50,
      Glad you enjoyed the video. There was a few different ones to choose from but I thought the music went well with the post. Howard Keel, has got a wonderful voice. Good choice for 3 wishes.

  3. victor friskey says:

    He was born in Troy Grove Illinois…I live 15 miles from there..they were finally able to afford a monument in the park..Its a small village of about 50 people..Mendota down the road tried to steal some of the glory and put up a monument too..but no one knows if he ever went to mendota , much less did anything there.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi victor,
      Thank You very much for that information, I really appreciate it. That’s great that they were able to finally get a monument up in the park. History is always a bit hard, as you pointed out some facts are still not known, and others have come to light.
      Thanks again, and Thank You for taking the time to comment.

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