The era of the gunfighter in the Wild West began during James Butler Hickok’s life. Better known as “Wild Bill”, he became the first and most famous of these men. Stories of his daring exploits and deadly shoot-outs spread throughout the West and to the East by word-of-mouth, newspaper articles and dime novels, creating a myth of a courageous man-killer. A man without equal, who, by the many outrageously exaggerated accounts of his exploits, killed hundreds of outlaws in valiant and bloody struggles to the death, from which he invariably emerged the victor and the hero. And, Hickok was not above adding his own embellishment to the stories about himself, to any reporter who sought him out.
Wild Bill – The Story of James Butler Hickok is about the man as well as his exploits. Hickok was much more than his image and reputation as a gunfighter. He was in reality a man of impressive character, courteous and gentlemanly, a generous and loyal friend. Wild Bill served his country as an exemplary soldier and Army scout, fighting alongside his fellow soldiers during the Civil War and the Indian Wars in the Western Territories. There are many true accounts from these times of his bravery and his leadership in the most dangerous of situations. He also served with distinction as a US Marshal and as a lawman of some of the roughest towns in the Wild West.
Wild Bill Hickok lived up to his reputation, but he also lived a life of constant vigil, on the lookout for the enemy who would inevitably try to kill him, perhaps in an ambush from behind. When playing poker in a saloon -which was his favorite occupation – he sat with his back to a wall so that he could see any adversary who might enter from the front doors. He poured his drinks with his left hand, leaving his right hand free to draw either of his famous Navy Colt revolvers from their holsters in the red sash around his waist. He seemed to his friends to be a man who felt hunted.
His destiny was to become famous, and in spite of his paranoia, he relished the notoriety. He favored adventure, but sought mostly to take life easy, gambling and drinking with his friends in a favorite saloon. His destiny included the final assault from the enemy he avoided his entire life, the one who delivered Wild Bill’s fate in ambush from behind and sent the hero and the man to his death, and into legend.
Wild Bill – The Story of James Butler Hickok gives the accounts of the life and adventures of the man who was known as Wild Bill.