August 1, 1876. James Butler Hickok, better known as ‘Wild Bill Hickok’ is shot and killed in a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. Hickok rose to fame as a lawman and a feared gunfighter in the American West. Much of what has been said and written about Hickok has likely been exaggerated, although his prowess with a pistol is undisputed. He stopped gunfighting after accidentally shooting dead shooting a deputy in Abilene, Texas and instead turned to gambling. It was during a game of poker in Deadwood that ‘Broken Nose’ Jack McCall entered the saloon and shot Hickok in the back of the head, killing him immediately. Hickok had been playing five-card-draw and had two black aces and two black eights in his hand when he died. This hand is still known in poker as ‘Dead Man’s Hand.’
Also on August 2: Drunken Russian soldiers are slaughtered in the Battle of Pyana River (1377); Tower Subway, the world’s first underground tube rail, opens in London (1870); start of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (1990).
Born on August 2: Jack Warner (1892), Shimon Peres (1923), Wes Craven (1939).