PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was shot to death while playing poker at Nuttall & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota by Jack McCall.
Hickok, who was 39, had a real aversion to sitting with his back to the door. But on this day, he did. McCall walked into the saloon and fired a bullet into the back of Wild Bill’s head.
McCall was tried and acquitted. He claimed the murder was revenge for Wild Bill killing his brother. Turns out McCall didn’t have a brother.
The trial was later overturned because Deadwood was not totally incorporated at that time. McCall was re-arrested, tried in Yankton, convicted and hanged.
When Wild Bill Hickok was shot, legend said he held 2 pair: black Aces and black 8s. It’s not known what the 5th card in his hand was.
That’s why Aces and 8s are known as the Dead Man’s Hand — a legend which began 139 years ago.