James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a folk hero of 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.
Wild Bill Hickok is probably the most famous Deadwood resident, even though he was only in town a few short weeks. James Butler Hickok arrived in Deadwood, along with Colorado Charlie Utter and Calamity Jane, in July of 1876. He was a well-known gambler and gunslinger, participating in many shootouts before coming to Deadwood. He was killed on August 2, 1876 when Jack McCall shot him from behind while playing poker.
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.
James Butler Hickok, aka Wild Bill Hickok. 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. He was shot and killed while playing poker in the Number Ten Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory