Talk:Wild Bill Hickok

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Biography / Sports and Games (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the sports and games work group (marked as Mid-importance).
WikiProject Illinois (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Illinois, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Illinois on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject South Dakota (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject South Dakota, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of South Dakota on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject United States / American Old West (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject American Old West (marked as Top-importance).
WikiProject Kansas (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Kansas, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of Kansas on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


By Uri Ridelman - Journalist

I have been working on a project regarding the life of Wild Bill Hickok, and while doing that I've noticed the inconsistencies regarding his incident with the McCanles Gang. Some say the McCanles were not a gang but just some unfortunante souls who had some disputes with Wild Bill and ended being shot by him. Others claim that they were indeed ruthless criminals and that they deserved to die at the hands of the famous gunfighter.

Here I present to you information I found while surfing the Internet. Hopefully, together we can reach a satisfactory answer and then create a page for them here at Wikipedia. Please feel free to post any info you have on this matter.

From our own Wikipedia on the Wild Bill Hickok page: "He became well-known for single-handedly capturing the McCanles gang, through the use of a ruse."

From on the Wild Bill Hickok page: "The incident that began his claim to fame. While employed at the Rock Creek Pony Express Station in Nebraska he got into a gunfight with an employee looking to collect his pay. Wild Bill shot and killed McCanles and wounded two other men. He was acquitted at the trial. However, there is some question on the validity of the trial because he worked for the powerful Overland Stage Company."

From AOL Hometown on the Wild Bill Hickok page: "The incident at Rock Creek Station, Nebraska was what began his legend. The station was an important stop for overland stages and as Pony Express station. It had been owned by David McCanles before he sold it to Russell, Waddell, and Majors, of the Pony Express. After that, the station was operated by Horace Wellman and his common-law wife, Wild Bill, a stock tender, and J.W. "Dock," Brink, a stable hand. That summer the station was almost bankrupt and could not pay McCanles. Wild Bill had just arrived when an altercation took pl ace. It happened on July 12, 1861.

McCanles, cousin James wood, and hand James Gordon showed up at the station to collect money owed him. After a short argument, Wild Bill shot and killed McCanles from inside the house. He also wounded Woods and Gordon. Wellman finished Woods off by beating him with a hoe. They both ran after Gordon and killed him with a shotgun blast. A trial was held but it was a farce. 12 year old Monroe McCanles, who witnessed the shootings, was not allowed to testify, nor was he even allowed in the court room. Wild Bill and Wellman were allowed to put forth a defense of self-defense. Since they were employees of the Overland Stage Company, the most powerful corporation west of the Mississippi, they had a lot of friends.

Four years later, writer Colonel George Ward Nichols wrote about the event, and he didn't much care if he got the details right. Wild Bill didn't seem to care either. This was the start of his gunfighter legend. Nichols wrote that there was a "McCanles gang" of terrorists. He write that Wild Bill held off and killed ten men, in a bloody one-sided fight. He also said Wild Bill was gravely wounded himself and later had eleven bullets removed. None of it was true, but it made Wild Bill's reputation."

From The World According to Jerome "Brilliant Brief Lives": "The McCanles outlaw gang was wanted for train robbery, murder, bank robbery, cattle rustling, and horse theft. In 1861 word came to Wild Bill that they had set up a camp at Rock Creek Station, in Jefferson County -- just outside his limited jurisdiction." has them on their "List of Western Outlaws" under the category of Outlaw Gangs, right next to those like the Dalton Gang.

And finally they are portrayed as an infamous gang in the HBO series "Deadwood."

There are other sites that make the case one way or the other but I posted here only some of the ones I found more interersting.

Your help will be greatly appreciated, and at the same time we'll create a page for them on this site. Thanks

Please add any comments you might have[edit]

Please feel free to comment on this subject. Your information, insight and opinion is welcome and needed.

I remember reading something about some showman threatening to exhume Hickok's body and take it on a tour, and Charlie Utter returned to Deadwood to stand guard over the body. Does anyone else remember this? Gorilla Jones 18:46, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

This article, while rather good overall, repeats a few things that are not proven.

1. "The saloon proprietor claimed that, at the time of his death, Hickok held a pair of aces and a pair of eights, with all cards black, and this has since been called a "dead man's hand".

I'm not sure where this info comes from. There are no contemporary cites about the poker hand held by Hickok, and Rosa(his biographer) says the cards are in dispute. Can anyone tell me where I can find the "saloon proprietor's" claim? And when was this combination of cards first referred to as a "dead man's hand?"

2. Under the trivia section, this is repeated as truth. Unless someone can supply a contemporary cite, or at least a time frame for the phrase, I see no reason to leave this in the article. Samclem 19:10, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I think it is wrong to say he was shot by "the coward Jack McCall". This is biased. It would be better to say in a cowardly act he was shot by Jack McCall.

Nonsensical sentence[edit]

"Hickok was later, after his death, alleged to have met and been acquainted with later famous lawman Wyatt Earp, by Earp's biographer."

After whose death? Hickok's? And what did the biographer do?

An earlier sentence is missing the name of a marshall. I put question marks in to flag the missing name.--Tdkehoe 16:47, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, after looking into it, it seems that there really is no difinitive fact of what Wild Bill's poker hand was when he was shot, but many sources cite that "legend has it" that the hand was aces and eights, with some saying it is unknown what the fifth card was, or others saying that it wasn't dealt yet, and was interrupted by Wild Bill getting shot. Mabey it would be best to simply change the wording in the text, and trivia, to "Legend has it that Wild BIll's hand was Aces and eights." Because we will probably never know what it actually was, and even if there were sources citing what his hand was, you would have to question their validity. An7drew 18:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Some years ago I picked up a book titled "Triggernometry: A Gallery of Gunfighters" (originally published in 1934) on a lark because I thought it would represent the most outrageous of the dime store novel tales. But its author, one Eugene Cunnigham, was the consumate journalist in trying to sniff out what was fact and what may very well have been fiction in the tales of the famous gunfighters, including Wild Bill. He grew up during the tail end of the gunfighers' time, and so knew and interviewed many of the men and/or witnessess to the events in which the men got their fame. But the book is not at all boring. Cunnigham manages to capture both the realism and the spirit of the lawful and lawless gunslingers; these stories really have panache. I highly reccomend it for anyone wanting to l'arn a bit more about these men of lore. 02:37, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I'm reading the same book (Triggernometry), and, yes, it is quite entertaining, a well as full of details, some stated as fact, some less so.

This page has been vandalized. I am a new user and don't believe I have the permissions necessary to lock the page to new users. OverCee 19:29, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

In teh Trivia section: the last point (what could I do, they had me surrounded, and killed me) is also attributed to Jim Bridger, in the Wiki article on him.

Just a quick point: Under the "Lawman and Gunfighter" head it refers to the Hickok-Davis Tutt's "quick draw" duel as "in fact the only one on record that fits the portrayal." However, the associated citation ( refers to it as "the first recorded example of two men taking part in a quick-draw duel." That's enough to stop me in my tracks. Which is it: The only one on record or the first recorded example? Either way, very sloppy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

IMDB Links?[edit]

I did a lot of copy editing to this article, which is an interesting entry but, in my opinion, could still use a lot of clarification and would benefit enourmously from additional citations. Some of the IMDB links A) are bad but B) I coudn't find them when I clicked edit on that section, so I wasn't able to fix them. funkendub 07:06, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

The footnoted links are found in the body of the text. Click the "^" link to jump back to the source location. Links fixed. 05:53, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

going blind[edit]

The History channel said he was going blind from veneral disease when he died. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:36, 7 January 2007 (UTC).

I am watching that History channel DVD about the history of brothels and it does say that Wild Bill was almost blind from veneral disease by the time he died. Why isn't this mentioned in the article?Mylittlezach (talk) 18:17, 12 January 2011 (UTC)


What the hell was that "Summary" section doing there? It doubled the length of the page for absolutely no reason than to take all the information already there and smush it together. It's gone. If anyone can find some worthwhile information that I deleted, please re-add it in the appropriate place, not in a mega-section that looks like a copy-and-pasted high school research paper. --DCrazy talk/contrib 23:38, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Charlie Utter[edit]

The name "Utter" just appeared out of nowhere in the "Death" section with no explanation or context. I added his first name and some very basic context that he was a friend of Hickock's. -Sarfa 16:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Shooting of Chief Whistler[edit]

The following comment by was moved here from the article's subsection Civil War and scouting:

Civil War and Scouting[edit]

This section needs to be edited. The same fact is stated twice, once in the first line and once in the last line of the paragraph. It is stated twice that Bill Cody and the three other men met while scouts in the army

CORRECTION: According to Joseph G. Rosa, foremost expert on James Butler Hickok, Chief Whistler was NOT killed by Hickok. The best evidence indicates that a man names M.N. Kress, known as "Wild Bill of the Blue" locally, was the killer of Chief Whistler. And far from calming things down, the murder of Whistler caused serious trouble.

McCanles Gang[edit]

Uri above will interested in this. I've been researching the incident and found a contemporary newspaper report. The report was written as a rebuttal to the Harpers article and as such is obviously written by someone who didn't like Hickok and some time after the event following the Harpers article. The book that contains the copy of the report did not name the newspaper it came from so I have checked details to confirm legitimacy and found enough similarities with other versions to reasonably assume authenticity. The main difference I found is it claims McCanles was shot in the back while several other sources identical in detail to this account of the shooting say the chest.

"Duck Bill" Hickok: The Falstaff of Nebraska
A fight in which three unarmed men were outnumbered and killed is undergoing transmogrification. Twenty seven year old James “Duck Bill” Hickok , one of the winners, represents himself as the sole combatant against the “McCanles Gang”, in Rock Creek Nebraska. Forty year old Dave McCanles sold a house to the local freighting company, which was slow to pay. McCanles, something of a bully, went to demand the second instalment, taking a couple of unarmed ranch hands and his 12 year old son. At the office he was met by Hickok, nicknamed “Duck Bill”. There was already bad blood between the two, who had quarrelled over their disreputable interest in the same woman. McCanles straightaway abused manager Horace Wellman, ultimately using his fists. Whereupon Hickok, hiding behind a calico curtain, shot him in the back. Then, Hickok, Wellman, Mrs Wellman and freight company employee, J.W. “Doc” Brink, ran out to McCanles’ waiting ranch hands. One was killed with a shotgun blast, probably by Mrs Wellman. The other was battered to death with hoes. The little boy saved his life by running away. Hickok is fabricating “nine men in buckram” out of McCanles and his unarmed ranch hands, who have become the “McCanles Gang” of “desperados, horse thieves, murderers and regular cut throats. Hickok claims to have faced them down, saying he was hit by 11 bullets in the fiercest gunfight one man ever undertook. The facts are as we gave them. Hickok was one of three armed men and a woman who attacked three unarmed men and a child. Hickok’s heroic act was to shoot a bully in the back without warning from a hiding place.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by WLRoss (talkcontribs) 15:05, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

The above contemporary press account of the McCanles Massacre is completely negated by the equally detailed account in Rosa 1996. See pl wiki, where the English text has been entered into the superscripted reference, or read the book. In particular, Rosa states the myth that McCanles was unarmed has ben refuted. And the fatal shot that fell him came from inside the house, after Hitchkok went in to get him water he asked for. Rosa states that it remains unknown, who fired. He conjectures that Wellman had more of a motive to kill McCanles. There are also women on hand, possibly with shotguns. --Mareklug talk 19:49, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Somebody needs to note the National Lampoon's satirizing of both Hickok and Cody in the composite character "Wild Bill Shitcock" in their 1975 "199th. Birthday Book". "William S. Cock" is first noted as a claim jumper on a much altered claim form to a gold mine, then is the empresario of "Wild Bill Shitcock's Wild West Show". This glorious production offers such diversions as "Miss Fannie Ugly" defecating from a tightrope onto an Ace of Spades ("She Has Never Missed"), miners castrated with rusty chisels, and a chance to discharge a shotgun into a barrel of passenger pigeons ("A Test Of Manly Mettle!"), among other horrors. I don't have a copy of the damned thing with the details or I'd enter it myself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC)


Unfortunately, everything about Wild Bill's "Death Chair" at Saloon #10 in Deadwood is bogus -- even the chair. The open-top gun holster displayed is not of the kind used by Hickok. Hickok and most of his contemporaries favored holsters that had a top flap. Contrary to pop culture, Hickok favored and used holsters. A fancy legend arose that Hickok preferred not to use holsters and carried his two pistols in a belt sash around his waist, which idea originated from a photo taken of Hickok dressed in buckskins, with two ivory pistols stuffed in his belt sash along with a large-style unsheathed knife. The photo was set up and taken in a photographer's studio at the time when Hickok was appearing in a Wild West stage production with Buffalo Bill Cody back East. The knife and buckskins outfit were stage props.

The gun on display with the "Death Chair" was not manufactured during Hickok's lifetime. The blood stain displayed on the chair at a previous time was red paint. And Wild Bill was sitting on a stool -- not a chair -- when he was shot. Transcripts of the first trial of the killer Jack McCall include the sworn testimony of eyewitness Carl Mann, the co-owner of Saloon #10. He was tending the bar at the time when Hickok was shot. Carl Mann stated, "Hickok was sitting on a stool, we didn't have chairs." —Preceding unsigned comment added by SCCLL (talkcontribs) 10:30, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Wild Bill an Opium Smoker?[edit]

After seeing the most recent film about Wild Bill, played by Jeff Bridges. It shows Bill was an Opium user. Now, I understand that Hollywood is not always factual when making a film about a person or events. I personally cannot find any information that Wild Bill smoked Opium. I know that Laudanum was heavily used in the west for pain relief, which is from the Opium Poppy plant. Now, before anyone wants to start a defensive post about this possibility. Remember many great American men have used Opium and other opiates for recreational. Im not condoning the practice, but lets be realistic. That doesn't not make them bad people.

Furthermore, if anyone can add some information regarding Opium usage by Wild Bill, I would love to read it. Thank you KineticRic (talk) 06:13, 20 April 2008 (UTC) KineticRic

Actually Laudanum is not just "from the Opium Poppy plant" but is Opium mixed with alcohol. Hickok would have used this often as it was the "aspirin" of the time. Chinese Opium dens were very common in Deadwood and the opium dealers paid a yearly tax of $300, the same as hotels for selling liquor. Opium was seen as no different to drinking alcohol. The narcotics anon website mentions Hickok and Kit Carson both being frequent users of opium. Wayne (talk) 19:04, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion for article improvement[edit]

The Polish interwiki version of this article is superior as of 23 July 2008 and is undergoing FA-candidate vote, and it is based extensively on a paper copy of Joseph G. Rosa 1996 (Wild Bill Hickok: the man and his myth, published by University Press of Kansas) as well as other scholarly sources such as UCLA Law Review article now archived at University of Texas School of Law library. It certainly contains far more sourcing and true facts, upwards of 60 unique references, including verified and completely reference Movies and Novels subsections. I removed the more egregious lies from our version, such as Hickok having VD or whoring, for which there is no basis in scholarly literature. The Polish version contains quotes in its superscripted references with English language originals intact, so it is possible for a strict anglophone to follow it reasonably well in order to use it as a resource for improving this article. --Mareklug talk 19:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

You do realise that Rosa is doing a lot of speculating rather than stating facts. He relies on newspapers far too much and seems to only accept the ones favourable to Hickok. For example the weight of evidence points to McCanless being unarmed. "Whoring" is definately supported in scholarly literature. "Extensively" is an understatement. The Polish version relies almost exclusively on Rosa as a source (66 out of 76 references and five of the 10 not Rosa are refs for things such as the name of his horse) rather than a range of western historians. They might as well have just copy pasted Rosa's entire book!!!!! No way can this article be written using a single source and if Poland gets a FA for theirs then Wikipedia is a failure. Wayne (talk) 17:53, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Put up or shut up: Where is the documentation of a) "whoring" -- it was unreferenced and attributed apocryphally to Hardin, when I removed it; I have not found it in any scholarly source; unattributed defamatory material is always chucked; b) "McCanles were unarmed". McCanles arrived demanding return of the property then and there, and he was a Missouri Border Ruffian. Those people did not venture to the toilet without a gun. :) Again, "just the facts, ma'am". The PL article may be (preliminarily) using a lot of superscripted references to the 1996 Rosa, because it is convenient and brief to do so, and better to source then leave unsourced, but the information included always was and continues to be verified before inclusion against other scholarly sources, particularly by using Google Books searches, as well as vetted against the (listed in the PL Biliography, but apparently not even used here) aforementiond UCLA Law Review article archived at UTexas, in order to arrive at a conservative, scholarly balance. There is a lot of chaff written about Hickok, and this in turn requires careful discerning and judicious selection of sources. Furthermore, your take on Rosa seems to reflect your own personal bias, as the 1996 Rosa in point of fact is full of dispassionate accounts that put Hickok in bad light, as well as debunk myths about him, and Rosa quotes press accounts of the day, Hickok's contemporaries, and other historians, critical of Hickok or of aggrandizing on his behalf, as is the case with the (horse) Black Nell myth. It is true, that his cordial relations with the Hickok family, which enable him access to material not available at large, puts an onus on us to doublecheck any omission of his, because it may represent a desire to not allienate the family. But that is only a conjecture, and we have no evidence that such prettyfying of history has been engaged in by either the family or Rosa. --Mareklug talk 23:14, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Barack Obama[edit]

In a town hall meeting on July 30, 2008, Barack Obama Asserted that he is related to Wild Bill Hickok.

According to an AP article, it's true.

Political Play: Obama claims link to the Wild West

18 hours ago

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Barack Obama is claiming a link to the Wild West — Wild Bill Hickok, to be precise.

The Democratic presidential candidate came to this town on the edge of the old West on Wednesday and laid down a challenge for his GOP rival.

"If Sen. McCain wants a debate on taxes in this campaign, I'm ready," Obama said, noting that Hickok is said to have fought a duel here. "I'm ready to duel John McCain on taxes right here, quick draw," Obama said before closing the loop with Hickok.

"The family legend is that he is a distant cousin of mine. I don't know if it's true but I'm going to research it."

It's not just legend, says Chris Child, a genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Hickok is sixth cousin to Obama's fourth great-grandfather, Jacob Dunham, Child said. Their common ancestor is Thomas Blossom, who arrived with the Pilgrims. The society earlier found other notable links to Obama, including Brad Pitt, of Springfield; and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Compiled by Mike Glover

dkliman (talk) 15:38, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Well! The Obama bloodlines to George W. Bush necessarily go with the package, if he is indeed related to Hickok: Hickok's mother Polly née Butler is said to be related to George H. Bush (Rosa 1996, p. 15). --Mareklug talk 22:24, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


While I applaud your editing to improve the article you have to be careful about about POV material from Rosa's book. I'll explain my revert of your edit.

  • Your edit to the picture caption is irrelevant as it gives no extra information.
  • The expansion on the Tutt incident is unneccessarily detailed.
  • Rosa's account of why Hickok was fired as Marshall is wrong.

    "However, what with the cattle drive concluded, and the next year's one not being planned, Hickok and his deputies were relieved of their duties in Abilene on 13 December 1871 -- they were just too expensive to keep, and the immediate rationale for retaining their expensive services no longer applied."

    Rosa does not mention that Abilene hired another Marshal to replace Hickok which contradicts Rosa's reasoning. As for "no more cattle drives being planned" this is wrong. In late 1871, A&T opened a new rail link to Newton which diverted the trail but some of the herds wanted to still use Abilene. In 1872 Abilene citizens planned to forcibly stop the herds that still wanted to use the town (this was reported in newspapers) but didn't need to because the 1872 cattle drive got caught in blizzards and some herds lost up to 80% of their cattle. Newton was offering bonuses for herds going there so more went to Abilene from 1873. While they may have suspected that the drives would end because of the trail diversion the fact that the citizens formed a committee in 1872 to work on a plan to stop further drives indicates that they were still planned despite what Rosa claims. Wayne (talk) 07:32, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Wayne, I respect your information, and I take your Rosa POV warning to heart. You seem to possess a considerble lot of information (in your head, anyway; I don't see it being transferred to the article yet, and you have been editing it for a while...).
But, dear me, aren't you using your editorial xacto knife a bit on the blunt side? The three items which you list are not the only things I added (linkto my edit), which you tossed aside. I added sources to unattributed claims now in the article, exact page citation! Worse, the Tutt account clearly has more than one version. So I added a competing version, with sources, and made the article reflect this duplicity of accounts. You obliterated that too, without making any further improvements.
Meanwhile, by reverting me wholesale, you removed all that work and sourcing, including harmless long quotes from Rosa (1996), which were lodged not in the article text, but were tucked away into the superscripted references, for readers' use. I can't put it in Wikisources, because it's copyrighted material, but I can Fair Use quote excerpts from a 276-page book on English Wikipedia!
Now, when I look again at the article, it basically lies about Tutt's affair, with ridiculous emphasis on women, no mention of the watch -- by using the "traditional account" essentially repeated after Connelly (1933). It is certainly not making use of the court materials found in Springfield boxes in 1994-1995.
And, there is no source anywhere in sight! That's completely against Wikipedia policy. Ironically, the sources I was adding are for the most part listed in Further Reading, in one lump sum, uselessly. And even if Rosa is POV, he is an authoritative source, and his account should be at least mentioned (possibly with a meta-account re POV).
I know from reading your user page, that you are peeved by editors removing content which does not have a source posted. But you obliterated lots of content which I added, because it is too detailed, you say. And you removed all the sources I added, ranging from Rosa (1996) through Connelley (1933) to the UCLA Law Article (2001) that references both authors, each one to a specific passage with page numbers.
Forgive me, but I think you have harmed the article. My additions did not remove material, and made the account and sources fuller. Please justfy your edit, which amounts to censoring forcibly and unreasonably. This is not collaborative editing. --Mareklug talk 09:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
P.s Re: your first point: How is mentioning where the photograph was taken (Mendota, Illinois) and what Hickok was doing there (visitng his mother's house in Troy Grove) reconcilable with your justification for removing what I added there: Your edit to the picture caption is irrelevant as it gives no extra information.? --Mareklug talk 09:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not looking to discourage you from editing. The reason I reverted the entire edit is because it was a single edit and that is how the automatic revert system works. It would have been difficult and time consuming to pick through. Try shorter edits to make sure your better edits remain. In regards to Tutt I have no problem with your edit: "There is reason to believe that they were friends for a while, but had a falling out, not necessarily over women or gambling debts, as traditionally reported." The rest was far too detailed (LONG) and you should rewrite it as more of a summary before adding it again. As for the addition to the picture caption:

Joseph G. Rosa identifies this picture in his 1996 Hickok biography as made in Mentota, Illinois, near his family home, and that he was then on his way t visit his mother. Rosa makes no comment about the knife, only mentions the revolvers as arrayed in "reverse draw" configuration.[1]]]

Again it is too detailed. You didn't need to add the reference or the source. Adding the location was all that was needed. For example I give you an anology..because the sources are provided, the article can say he had breakfast but does not need to go into detail for what he had for breakfast even though it is mentioned in the source. I also had more info as I have the picture in an old book which describes not only that the guns are reverse draw but gives their serial numbers, origin and that the picture was taken shortly after he returned to Hays (although it states the location it was taken was unknown). Wayne (talk) 16:09, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion 2[edit]

Since there are at least two editors in posessionn of scholarly sources editing at present, there is no reason why this article should still suffer from false attribution in places (as was in the case of apocryphal info about women and fathered children in the Tutt-Hickok context having been sourced to p. 72 in Rosa (1996, which discusses gunmaker William greener and is not even close to sections about Tutt. Those sections in turn make no mention of this women/children stuff.). NOr is there any reason for the article's assertions to be altogether lacking sources.

And, I suggest we split off apocryphal stories from the true and narrow biography (contained in the chronological section Biography, to be placed first in the article), nad put them in a separate section Myths and Legends, with subsections, the first "Deadman's hand".. Also, some of that iffy info is truly low quality, having no basis, other than being oft repeated. Finally, accusation of POV in Rosa and likewise Rosa's discrediting earlier accounts should be explicitly included in the article. It's ency information and doing so would be methodologically correct. --Mareklug talk 08:29, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

The info about Tutts sister was in a source you supplied and also had a footnote in a source I read recently attributing it to Rosa (maybe the page is wrong?). I've also found one other source making the claim and also attributes it to Rosa so that makes three. "oft repeated" is exactly why claims should be in the article. The deadmans hand already explains it is legend. Some other parts that may not be true are correctly attributed to rumour etc. The fact remains they were common beliefs by people who lived back then. If we split off everything doubtful we will be left with a few hundred words of no interest to anyone not to mention dropping a lot of what Rosa claims. Even people who were witnesses give different accounts of the same incidents. For example one of the earliest accounts of the Tutt incident (Holcombe 1883) mirrors much of Rosa but contradicts Rosa and other historians in some important points. Who decides what is authentic? We leave that to what most sources claim. Rosa is too biased for use as a source for discrediting other historians without backup from other sources. Why are you so dismissive of all historians except Rosa? Wayne (talk) 12:41, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
To clarify what I'm saying; I have no problem using Rosa as a source and have done so myself but he should not be used for claims that contradict the consensus of historians without mention that it does. If you read other sources that rely almost entirely on Rosa you will see that they do not use him for these type of claims without such qualification. Wayne (talk) 05:50, 6 August 2008 (UTC)


Used WP's WikiCleaner to update the wikilinks within the article, no other changes made. Funandtrvl (talk) 04:46, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Men killed[edit]

"his total killings were about 20 or a few more."

100 is absurd, but that doesn't mean one-fifth of that figure isn't also absurd, unless it involved people shot while sleeping. Is there a source for this statement? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Spelling Hickok's name[edit]

This is a 'heads up". Editors keep correcting mispellings of Hickok's name incorrectly. Hickok's name is spelled incorrectly twice in the article and this is not a mistake. The (SIC) following the mispellings is a standard device to indicate a mispelling in a direct quote in intentional and not to be corrected. The Harpers magazine article used Hitchcock and his own guns were engraved Hickock. Considering the context it is likely he did not know how to spell his own name as was common in those days, OR on my part but still interesting. Cheers. Wayne (talk) 14:02, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Research? Journalism?[edit]

The first entrant on this discussion page claims to be doing research on Hickok... by only using web sources? Oy. If we only used web sources for wikipedia, it would be full of unreliable information, and... oh, wait--it already is full of that. Seriously, this is a big problem for Wikipedia. Why is it not possible for "researchers" such as Mr. Ridelman to take the time to go to the local library and actually read up on Hickok? Delve into sources that are professionally researched by people who have devoted their life to the subject and probably have advanced degrees in this area? Then digest it, paraphrase it, stick it on Wikipedia and properly cite it. Wikipedia does not need to be based on web sources alone, and will be much better if it does not depend on them. Finally, I hope that the term "journalist" is not being thrown around carelessly here. That is a job title, not a type of hobby. With such a title come certain responsibilities, not to mention employment by an actual journalistic entity, e.g., magazine, newspaper, radio, TV or a real web news site. One does not become a "journalist" merely by doing research. (talk) 00:04, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I had thoughts like these too. Actually, WP's policies, if enforced, would result in very short entries (or even deletion) for articles like this one that have few if any reliable sources in existence. WP has no policy for articles on early U.S. folk heroes and other such cases having poor documentation, even when "professionally researched". David Spector (talk) 12:12, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Jack McCall, not John McCall[edit]

In section Death it states "John ("Broken Nose Jack") McCall" instead of "Jack". (talk) 12:59, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

McCall's first name was John. Jack is usually a nickname for John. For example, John F. Kennedy was often called Jack Kennedy. John McCall often went by the nickname Jack McCall, and also went by Broken Nose Jack or Crooked Nose Jack. Since the nickname Jack is given in the parenthesis you quoted, and he is also called Jack in the next sentence, I see no reason to modify the article. Engineer comp geek (talk) 16:30, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

garbled/incomplete sentence[edit]

"Fiction later typified this kind of gunfight, but Hickok's is in fact the first one on record that fits the portrayal."

"Typified this kind of gunfight" as what? And are you saying that this is the first recorded example of a "quick-draw" gunfight? I think what you meant was...

"Fiction later typified this kind of gunfight as commonplace, but Hickok's is in fact the first "quick-draw" gunfight on record." WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 12:03, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Story of the first man Wild Bill Killed[edit]

I think this is a significant story in Wild Bill's life and appears to have been overlooked. Bill was working at Rock Creek Station as a hired hand at the age of 19. Rock Creek was a Pony Express/Stagecoach/Store along the Oregon trail located on the Rock Creek near Fairbury Nebraska. The creek was impassable to wagons so a toll bridge had also been constructed here for wagons heading west along the Oregon trail. The land was rented from David McCanles who lived in Beatrice Ne. On a day in July of 1861, McCanles and his 16 year old son came out to collect rent. Some sort of arguement ensued (I'm telling this from memory) in which Hickock, hiding behind a curtain in the store, shot and killed McCanles and tried to kill the 16 year old boy but the boy escaped. Again I am going by memory. The story is told in detail at the Rock Creek Station Historical Park . They arrested Hickock and he was held and tried in Beatrice Nebraska but got off I believe, because the boy was the only one to witness the killing to testify against Hickock. If your ever in Nebraska it's worth the time to go out there and watch the presentation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jim Morehead (talkcontribs) 15:37, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

This incident is covered in detail in this article. Wayne (talk) 20:04, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Meet the Press, NBC, on 04/06/2014, ran a story on the Keystone Pipeline which will run through Steele City, KS. Reporter Kevin Tibbles said "Wild Bill Hickok gunned down his first man not far from here. Shot him in the back some say." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Just FYI[edit]

In the second picture of the man. At his feet behind his boots is the sheath. . For whatever reason. prop or placement matters not. (talk) 07:33, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

"prop" knife in photo?[edit]

The caption below the photo says, "Wild Bill Hickok in 1869 – since a knife would not have been worn unsheathed, it is likely a photographer's prop"

If you look behind his boots in the photo, you see laying on the ground what could be the sheath. IOW, the knife may not have been merely a photographer's prop.

FWIW the knife looks like an Arkansas Toothpick, some of which were like a very long, thin version of a Bowie knife.

  1. ^ Joseph G. Rosa (1996). Wild Bill Hickock: the man and the myth, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. p. 78.