August 2, 1876
Deadwood, Dakota Territory (present day South Dakota)
Gunfighter, showman, marshal, and soldier of the American Old West, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok is killed while playing cards
Hickok had apparently insulted Jack McCall the day before his death; McCall had hit a losing streak while playing cards and Hickok suggested McCall quit to recoup his losses and offered to buy him breakfast. McCall accepted, though insulted. The next day, as Hickok played another hand of cards, McCall came up behind Hickok, said “damn you! Take that!” and fired a shot into Hickok’s head. The shot exited Hickok’s cheek and struck another card player’s wrist.
McCall claimed he killed Hickok in retribution for his brother being killed by Hickok, though little evidence exists to support this claim. He was tried by an informal jury and acquitted. However, he was retried in a more formal court, found guilty, and hanged.
His grave reads:
killed by the assassin
Deadwood, Black Hills
Pard, we will
in the happy
to part no more.
(Charles Utter was a close friend to Hickock)