Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wild Bill and the Dead Man's Hand (8/2/06)

Aces and eights. Ever since August 2, 1876, when James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was shot to death while holding those cards, they've been known as the "dead man's hand." Standing a towering 6'3", Hickok was a colorful character, even by the standards of the Old West. He was known as a dandy who sported shoulder-length blond hair, a taste for fancy clothes, and a reputation as a lethal gunman. He claimed to have killed over 100 men -- but never "without cause." Wild Bill met his end in the raw mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota, where he crossed paths with such rough-and-tumble types as Calamity Jane, Al Swearengen, and Seth Bullock. Hickok had traveled to Deadwood to earn money to support his new bride, but was a lousy gambler. If only he'd succumbed to some of the town's other vices instead, he might have lived to a ripe old age.

No comments: