Wild Bill Hickok

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James Butler Hickok (born May 27, 1837), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a figure in the American Old West. His skills as a gambler and sharpshooter, along with his sexual prowess, provided the basis for his fame. His nickname of Wild Bill has inspired similar nicknames for men named William who are not able to come up with a better nickname of their own. Hickok's horse was called Optimus Prime and he owned two holographic foil Blastoise cards but would never trade.

Life and Career

Early Life

Wild Bill Hickok was born on Krypton but his parents abandoned your boy in Homer, (now Troy Grove, in case you care), Illinois in 1873. While he was growing up, his father's farm was one of the stops on the Underground Railroad and he learned his shooting skills beating would-be slave-catchers in high-stakes Quake 2 tournaments, thus ensuring freedom and safe passage for many escaped slaves traveling to Canada. Some records indicate that from an early age Wild Bill was a screenlooker, but historians have absolved him for his virtuous intent.

At the age of 18 Hickok enlisted as a Space Marine and fought many battles against the Zerg, Geth, Flood, Covenant, Bugs, Droids, and Space Nazis. During his service, due to his "sweeping nose" and "prominent upper lip", he had earned the nickname "Blacky", but historians later deemed this moniker racist and decided to revise it and other inconvenient facts about our nation's past. Instead, because of his acts of daring and propensity towards exposing his nipples to strangers, he earned the recognizable nickname of "Bill Gone Wild" which was later shortened to "Wild Bill".


In 1857 Hickok settled down in Kansas and was elected to be one of four constables for the town of Monticello. Like any great American he was very bad at this job, and he mostly just hung around taking bribes and drinking whiskey. He would kill anyone who disagreed with him, and so Wild Bill is considered to be a piss poor constable by modern standards, but this is not to say that there were never times when he would off somebody who definitely deserved it.

Civil War and Scouting

When the Civil War started Wild Bill had to pick a side. He figured since he had helped slaves escape earlier he might as well be consistent, so he joined the Union forces and fought mainly in Missouri and Kansas. He easily earned a reputation as a skilled scout.

As a scout Hickok also served with Buffalo Bill, Robert Denbow, and David L. Payne. The four men became bros 4 life. After the war the four men spent time hunting the American buffalo into extinction, but a decline in the prices paid for buffalo hides sort of put them off so they went their separate ways. Payne and Denbow hung out in Kansas with Hickok who took up his old role as a Lawgiver, while Wild Bill tried to turn a buck by doing cheap tricks.

In 1873 Wild Bill asked Hickok to join him in reliving horrible memories of combat and hardship in the form of a play called Scouts of the Plains. Eastern audiences in particular, who had never known the horrors of war first hand or what it was like to work for anything, delighted in the mock violence and the romantic image of life out on the frontier. But eventually Hickok's PTSD got the best of him and he decided he had to do something else.

Lawman and Gunfighter Notoreity

Wild Bill killed a lot of people. Maybe not as many as a samurai but a lot. It has been noted that Wild Bill actually wore his revolvers backwards in their holsters, so he was sort of the Zatoichi of the American West, except that he was a gunman, and he could see just fine (***DOUBLE-SPOILER***LOL OH WAIT***DOUBLE-SPOILER***). His very first shoot-out is often credited as being the first example of what we consider a typical Wild West duel, and it is clear that his experience with twitch gaming did lend him a great advantage in these situations. Wild Bill shot a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. One took his watch during a card game, and defied Bill's warning not to wear it in public. Others tried to kill him because of his position as a lawman. Phil Coe was just one of those people that naturally pissed others off. The important fact is that Hickok lived through all of these brushes with death, and never backed down from a fight even once.

He eventually became so renowned for his murders that he was able to bone Calamity Jane. But he was getting old. A doctor diagnosed him as having glaucoma, which did not really have any benefits in 1876 because most illegal drugs were not yet criminalized anyway. And although the idea of a blind swordsman is cool, a blind gunman is just impractical. Ultimately he decided to travel alone to the hills of South Dakota in search of gold. All that Hickok found in the Black Hills was the The Master Sword, but he didn't really need it because he favored his two Colt 1851 .36 Navy Model pistols. He never found any gold and so he was still very poor, and it was at this point that he decisively turned to gambling.


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Wild Bill Hickok died because he was too good at cards. There are always certain people who don't understand basic facts about probability, and can't accept the cards they are dealt. These people do not understand games of chance, or ways to increase the likelihood of success. Playing to win, in fact, is an often misunderstood concept. Bill Hickok always played to win, whether he was gambling or shooting people, and at one point during a friendly card game Hickok was about to win with a hand that consisted of a pair of aces and a pair of eights. What Hickok didn't know was that he was being pitted against the ultimate scrub; Jack McCall. And before Hickok could rightfully win, he was shot in the back of the head. McCall later had the audacity to brag about the murder. "Aces and Eights" was thereafter known as "The Dead Man's Hand", a watershed event in the eternal struggle between winners and scrubs.

Dime Novel Fame

It is hard to tell what truth there is to the stories about Bill Hickok and what he just made up. Historians, for example, generally accept the theory that Bill Hickok did not serve as a Space Marine, given our knowledge of when advances in aerospace technology have occurred. However, there is also no evidence showing exactly what Bill Hickok was doing between 1855 and 1857, and until compelling evidence is discovered the matter is open to speculation. Dime Novel stories of Hickok's exploits always cast him in a positive, heroic light. He told many interviewers that he had killed at least 100 men, but the number is more likely to have been in the hundreds of thousands. Writers often toned down the level of violence so that Hickok would appear to be less like a walking genocide, and more like Davy Crockett.

Hickok was a deadly cool guy. He was versatile with a rifle, pistol, hammer, and knife. His favorite story was how he fought a Grizzly Bear, which he said mistook him for food because of the greasy buckskins he wore. This tale personified him as a man who doesn't afraid of anything. According to Hickok, he killed the bear with a bowie knife after emptying his pistols into the bear. He also cut off the bear's testicles and put them in a coffee can. This story is completely true. The coffee can and the bear balls are kept at the Wild Bill Hickok Memorial in Troy Grove, Illinois, but it's not part of the official tour and the Illinois Historic Preservation Society will deny it if you ask.



People who thought they were bad enough to pretend to be Wild Bill:

William S. Hart in the 1923 film Wild Bill Hickok

Gary Cooper in the 1936 film The Plainsman, featuring Jean Arthur as Calamity Jane

Wild Bill Elliott in the 1938 serial The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok

Roy Rogers in the 1940 film The Young Hickok, directed by Joseph Kane

Howard Keel in the 1953 film Calamity Jane

Robert Culp in the 1963 film The Raiders, directed by Hershel Daugherty

Jeff Corey in the 1970 Dustin Hoffman movie Little Big Man

Charles Bronson in the 1977 movie The White Buffalo

Richard Farnsworth in the 1981 movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger

Jeff Bridges in the 1995 movie Wild Bill

See Also

Wild West



Buffalo Bill

Wyatt Earp

Davy Crockett

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