THE DEAD MAN’S HAND
The No. 10 Saloon is where Hickok had been playing five card draw that day. He was uncomfortable with his back to the bar (the furthest chair in the photo) and asked another player, Charlie Rich, twice if he could switch seats so his back would be to the wall behind – and twice Rich refused (the chair on the left).
A miner who had lost at cards with Hickok so badly that Wild Bill gave him money to eat, Jack McCall, came in, walked to the bar behind Hickok seeming to ask for a drink, and suddenly without warning pulled his pistol shot Wild Bill in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
Four cards in Hickok’s hand were showing – two black aces and two black eights, forever to be known as The Dead Man’s Hand. (The fifth or hole card was down and is not known.)
McCall was hung for the murder, buried with the noose still around his neck. Hickok is reverentially interred at Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery with a large bronze monument immortalizing the single most renowned man for whom the Wild West was named – James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #227 photo ©Jack Wheeler)