Wild Bill Hickok was born on May 27, 1837, in Troy Grove, Illinois. His parents were very religious. Wild Bill fled Troy Grove after he mistakenly believed he had killed a man in a fist fight. He next turned up in Leavenworth, Kansas where he sold his services to a Kansas militia that was known as the “Freestaters.” Then in 1857, he worked as a teamster on the Santa Fe Trail, hunted buffalo, and soon after met Buffalo Bill.
Wild Bill's first major conflict developed after he went to work for the Pony Express and the Overland Express in Rock Creek, Nebraska. In Rock Creek he developed an interest in a woman. Soon after, he was confronted by her boyfriend who was named David McCanles. After the two engaged in a verbal exchange, McCanles ordered Bill to step outside. Instead, Wild Bill shot McCanles dead on the spot. He also shot down two of his friends. Wild Bill was freed on the grounds of self-defense and his fame quickly spread. His fame spread because newspaper writers said that it was largest mass slaughter in the history of the Wild West. Hickok next killed David Tutt in a town square duel. Hickok had lost a great deal of money to Tutt playing cards and he could not pay the debt. Tutt drew his pistol and shot first, missing Wild Bill. Wild Bill took steady aim by laying the barrel across his left forearm. His shot killed Tutt.
Wild Bill next enlisted as an army scout for General George Armstrong Custer. At this time he claimed in an article in the New York Herald that he had already killed over 100 men. It is assumed that most of these were Native Americans. He would next emerge in Hays City, Kansas, in 1869, and soon after he was elected sheriff. There he killed 2 more men. Then after shooting an army private to death he quickly resigned, skipped out of town, and next emerged as the sheriff of Abilene, Kansas. There in a jealous rage he killed the owner of a saloon named Phil Coe and accidentally killed one of his own deputies. Subsequently, Abilene asked him to resign.
At this time wild west shows were becoming increasingly popular. Following a lucky streak with cards, Wild Bill decided to produce and direct his own wild west show entitled “The Daring Buffalo Chase of the Plains.” His show featured 6 buffalo, a bear, a monkey, 4 Comanches, and 3 cowboys. The first show was held in Niagara Falls and everything went as planned until a group of stray dogs began chasing the buffalo. The dogs were in turned chased by drunken adults and children. At the same time someone turned the monkey and the bear loose. The bear did not attack the patrons, but instead it ate all of the food that was being sold in the stands. It would take several hours before order was restored. As a result Wild Bill lost $900 and was forced to sell the buffalo to a butcher shop so that he could pay all of his bills.
Next, Wild Bill took part in a play that was produced by Buffalo Bill Cody that was called “Scouts of the Prairies.” This play was successful and everyone made money. Wild Bill often forgot his lines and was frequently so inebriated that he made a fool out of himself. At this time he was losing his eyesight from gonorrhea. On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill settled down for a card game in the Number Ten Saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. A short time later a 25 year old named Jake McCall emerged. He was looking to make a name for himself. He walked up to Wild Bill and shot him in the back of the head, dead. McCall was tried and hanged until dead.