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‘Wild Bill’ Hickok Was Killed for Buying Someone Breakfast

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It was about this time of the year that the legendary “Wild Bill” Hickok was shot to death here in South Dakota. It happened August 2, 1876 in Deadwood.

He was shot from the back while playing cards. At the time he was holding a pair of eights and a pair of aces when he was hit by the fatal bullet, and that became known as the “dead man’s hand.”

The shooter was Jack McCall, who had lost heavily gambling with Hickok the day before. After Hickok had taken all of the McCall’s money, he offered to pay for his breakfast. This embarrassed and angered McCall.

McCall came back the next day for revenge. He walked up behind Hickok and shouted “Damn you! Take that” and then fired a shot into the back of his head. Hickok died instantly.

McCall’s murder trial took place in Yankton, South Dakota. He was found guilty, was sentenced to death and was hanged.


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