That was yesterday..March 1st...1877! Jack McCall was the man responsible for the killing of Wild Bill Hickok in Saloon No.10, Deadwood, Dakota Territory, on August 2nd,1876.
Hickok had been playing poker in the saloon when McCall walked through the door. Wild Bill sat with his back to the door, which was very unusual, but he arrived to the game late and it was the only chair open. He had asked a couple of times to change places with others but was refused. He did not spot McCall who walked up to within a few feet of Hickok, drew his gun, yelled "Take that!" and shot him in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
Hickok's poker hand at the time of his murder was "Aces & Eight's" all black. It's now referred to as the "Deadman's' hand". The fifth card is in dispute, but some say it had been discarded and the new card not dealt yet.
McCall's motive is not 100% certain. Some say he had been paid to kill Hickok. Others say he had been beat at cards by Wild Bill earlier losing all his money. Bill had disgraced him some say by leaving him just enough money to eat breakfast with.
McCall was arrested and brought before a jury made of mostly miners from camps in and around Deadwood. At the two hour trial McCall claimed Bill had killed his brother and he was avenging his death, but that couldn't be confirmed. In any event McCall was acquitted at the trial and set free. However he was rearrested later after being caught bragging about killing Hickok. This time he was transferred for trial to Yankton, the capital of D.T. at the time, and this time he was found guilty.
At the hanging McCall knelt and kissed a crucifix held by a Catholic Priest. He asked the Marshall for a couple extra moments for prayer and then, a black hood was put over his head. When the noose was placed around his neck McCall is claimed to have said "Draw it tighter, Marshall." 12 minutes after the trap door was sprung McCall was checked and pronounced dead by a doctor.
If your ever visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota make Deadwood a stop. Saloon No.10 still stands there and Will Bill's chair is on display. During tourist season The Trial of Jack McCall is reenacted every night and "jury members" are selected from the audience. Wild Bill's grave is still in Mt. Moriah cemetery near Deadwood, and Calamity Jane is buried next to him. It's definitely a trip back into Old West history!
A Dead Man's Hand: