Hickok, James

Hickok, (James Butler) “Wild Bill”

(1837–76) frontier figure; born in Troy Grove, Ill. He was a stagecoach driver on both the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. As a spy and scout for the Union Army, he was captured and escaped more than once. He was marshal of Hays City (1869) and of Abilene (1871). He killed a number of men in both towns, always in self-defense or in the line of duty. He toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (1872–73) and was shot from behind by Jack McCall while holding the "Dead Man's Hand" in poker.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.