James Butler Hickock
d.2 Aug 1876 Deadwood, Dakota Territory, United States
Facts and Events
James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876)—known as "Wild Bill" Hickok—was a folk character of the American Old West. Some of his exploits as reported at the time were fictionalized, but his skills as a gunfighter and gambler provided the basis for his enduring fame, along with his reputation as a lawman. Hickock was born and raised on a farm in rural Illinois. He went west at age 18 as a fugitive from justice, first working as a stagecoach driver, then as a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought (and spied) for the Union Army during the American Civil War, and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, actor, and professional gambler. Hickok was involved in several notable shootouts. He was shot from behind and killed while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota) by an unsuccessful gambler, Jack McCall. The card hand which he held at the time of his death (aces and eights) has come to be known as the "Dead Man's Hand".