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Wild Bill Hickok

On 1st August 1876, Wild Bill was playing cards at his favourite table in the corner near the door of Nuttall and Mann’s No. 10 Saloon in Deadwood Gulch, South Dakota. When one of the players dropped out a bystander, Jack McCall, took his place. McCall kept losing and, at the end of the evening, was broke. Hickok gave him back enough money to buy something to eat, but advised him not to play again until he could cover his losses. McCall felt humiliated.

The next day, on 2nd August, Hickok returned to the No. 10 and joined in a game of cards but, because Charlie Rich was sitting in his usual seat, Wild Bill, unusually, sat with his back to the saloon. Jack McCall had already been drinking heavily at the bar and saw Hickok enter the saloon and sit down.

McCall slowly walked around to the corner of the saloon to where Hickok was playing his game. From under his coat, McCall pulled a double-action .45 pistol, shouted “Damn you! Take that!” and shot Wild Bill Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly.

Wild Bill was holding two black aces and two black eights, known ever since as the Dead Man’s Hand. The fifth card has been held up for speculation but was probably the queen of diamonds.

Hickok's body was claimed by his friend, Charlie Utter, who placed a notice in the local newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer, which read:

Died in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876, from the effects of a pistol shot, J. B. Hickok (Wild Bill) formerly of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Funeral services will be held at Charlie Utter's Camp, on Thursday afternoon, August 3, 1876, at 3 o'clock P. M. All are respectfully invited to attend.

Almost the entire town attended the funeral, and Utter had Hickok buried with a wooden grave marker reading:

Wild Bill, J. B. Hickok killed by the assassin Jack McCall in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876.

Pard, we will meet again in the happy hunting ground to part no more.

Good bye, Colorado Charlie, C. H. Utter.

In accordance with her dying wish, Martha Jane Cannary, known popularly as Calamity Jane, was buried next to him.
Fom left to right: Wild Bill Hickok, Texas Jack Omohundro, and Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873.

After the shooting, McCall ran out of the saloon and attempted to escape on a horse that was tethered nearby, but the saddle had been loosened, and he fell to the ground. McCall ran down the street and hid in a butcher’s shop where he was captured by a large crowd.

The next morning, McCall was tried by a hastily-assembled group of miners in McDaniel’s Theatre. McCall defended himself by stating that he was avenging his brother whom Hickok had murdered. It was later discovered that McCall never had a brother. Despite overwhelming evidence of premeditated murder, McCall was acquitted.

McCall was released but told to leave Deadwood immediately. He headed to Cheyenne and then to Laramie. He boasted in saloons along the way that he had killed Wild Bill. An authority who overheard McCall arrested him on 29th August. He was then taken to Yankton, Dakota Territory for trial. Jack McCall was found guilty on 6th December 1876. He was hanged on 1st March 1877 for his crime and buried in the southwest corner of a Catholic cemetery.

In 1881, when the cemetery was moved, his body was exhumed. It was discovered that he had been buried with the noose still around his neck.

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