Who is Wild Bill Hickok?

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James Hickok, born in 1837, was a skilled shooter even as a child.  He left home and travelled west in 1855 working as a farmhand, hired gun, even a stagecoach driver.  During the civil war James ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok worked as a Union spy in Missouri.  In keeping with his fight for what was right he became a Marshall after the war, travelling from rough frontier town to rougher frontier town.

It was these travels that helped build the lore of the ‘wild west’, of course much of his accomplishments were exaggerated, you could say Wild Bill Hickok was a legend in his own time.  One of these extraordinary accomplishments was that Hickok is said to have killed a bear in hand-to-hand combat with a Bowie knife.   James Hickok got his nickname ‘Wild Bill’ when he portrayed a character named Wild Bill in the play Scouts of the Prairies.  He toured with another famous name from the Wild West, Buffalo Bill Cody.  It was his Wild West Show that Hickok joined from 1872 to 1873.

One notable pastime that Wild Bill Hickok enjoyed participating in was gambling, specifically poker, which was the most popular game of the time.  In 1876 Hickok was shot in the back during one of these poker games, although it is not recorded who shot him or why, surly it was some outlaw with a grudge.  When Hickok was killed his poker hand was revealed, he had two pair Aces and Eights and to this day that hand is known as the Dead Man’s Hand.

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