Myths and Legends

Three Bills of the Wild West

16533 by Grand Canyon NPS, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  Grand Canyon NPS

A Little Cowboy History

Many of you may be familiar with western legends in the gun slinging days.  But for those of you who aren’t, I wanted to fill you in on a few bits of information concerning three Bills that terrorized the Old West.

Of course the first one of mention would be “Billy the Kid”.  His actual real name was Henry McCarty and it is rumored that he killed more than twenty men, and for some stories, maybe more than that.  But the truth is, that actual number is more like four.   The killings that took place in the Wild West weren’t happening probably quite as much as the movies portray.

The next villain I want to talk about is William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody.  He actually killed 4,860 bison in just a matter of eight months.  He did this while under contract to furnish the Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with meat.  Buffalo Bill was also a rider for the Pony Express at the age of 14.  He was made famous at the turn of the century by the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.  These shows featured Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull and Wild Bill Hickok.  These show were featured Internationally which made Buffalo Bill one of the most recognizable people in the world during that time.

Next Bill on the list is James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok.  He is actually the first person documented to of killed another man in a quick-draw duel, this was in 1865.  Hickok was also a lawman, where he killed several other men.  He lost his badge due to an accidental shooting of one of his deputies.   Wild Bill would be knocked off by being shot in the back of the head during a poker game in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.  This is currently known as South Dakota.  The man that shot him was supposedly avenging the death of his brother, which of course had been shot by Wild Bill.

At the time of Hickok’s death the poker hand he was holding was a hand of Aces and Eights, now known as “The Dead Man’s Hand.”  But at least he found his way into the Poker Hall of Fame in the year 1979.  Guess all that hard living finally paid off!


Similar Posts