James Butler Hickok, also known as Wild Bill Hickok, born May 27, 1837, was a lawman in the Old West who was sheriff of Hays City and marshal of Abilene who worked as a Union Spy in the Civil War.
He became well known after engaging in a shootout with multiple men who wanted payment. Although Hickok was injured, he managed to hold his own in the shootout, and killed three of the attackers.
Then later, in 1865, he got in another shootout with a former friend named Tutt. From there, the media only spread his reputation further, claiming he was the best shooter anyone had ever seen and invented outrageous feats that he had supposedly accomplished. Media reports claim that he killed over 100 men.
Then, he turned his life around and became a sheriff and marshal in Kansas. After he accidentally shot a friend, his deputy, in 1871, he swore off shootouts. He even used his reputation to play himself in a show by Buffalo Bill Cody.
Hickok was murdered while playing cards – holding a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights, which are now known as the “dead man’s hand” thanks do Hickok’s murder. He was shot by Jack McCall, who killed him for unknown reasons. Hickok died on August 2, 1876.