Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wild Bill Hickok as noted in "Destination Deadwood"

I was so lucky to get literature during my vacation about some of the most legendary folks in South Dakota so today I'm going to talk about Wild Bill Hickok.  He was noted as one of the most popular inhabitants of Deadwood, perhaps because it was the place he died.

He came to Deadwood from Abilene when he was hired to uphold the law.  His undoing came when he accidentally shot and killed his deputy.  Remorse drove him to poker, and he was eventually asked by concerned citizens to move on.

Wild Bill joined Buffalo Bill Cody's wild west show because of his excellent horsemanship and being a superb marksman, but failed miserably as an actor because of stage fright.

Discovery of Gold in the Black Hills brought him to Deadwood after Cody let him go.  He traveled with his good friend, Colorado Charlie Utter with the aim of striking it rich.  Hickok's goal was not to be, and he's buried in Mt. Moriah cemetery overlooking the city.

As I said, Hickok came to Deadwood in June of 1876 in order to strike it rich.  Newly married, his beloved Agnes awaited his return to Cheyenne, however on Augst 2, 1876, he walked into Saloon #10 in Deadwood, sat with his back to the door and never saw a loser named, Jack McCall, come within three feet and whip out his 45 and pull the trigger supposedly because the gambler killed his brother but was not held accountable.  McCall was hanged in 1877.  Wild Bill wa not used to sitting with his back to the door, but on this particular day, no one was willing to switch seats with him.

Ever since Wild Bill was shot while playing poker, the hand he held,  black aces and eights is known as "the deadman's hand."  I think if I drew those two pair plus the nine of diamonds as he did, I'd be a little more than nervous.

The original headstone carved by his friend Charlie Utter read,
"Pard, we will meet again in the happy hunting ground to part no more."

Interesting facts:
Wild Bill owed a $50.00 drink tab to Saloon No.10 at the time of his murder.

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