ask the marshall Wild Bill Hickok Davis Tutt true west

What pistol did “Wild Bill” Hickok use to kill Davis Tutt in 1865?

Ron Bolza — Slatington, Pennsylvania.

The Hickok-Tutt affair has been described as one of the few classic, Hollywood-style gunfights.

“Wild Bill” Hickok’s shot, estimated at 75 yards, hit his opponent in the heart—a remarkable feat at a time when pistols shot accurately at about 25 yards. Hickok normally used .36 Navy Colts, which, gun expert Jim Dunham says, would have required Hickok to aim high to hit at 75 yards.

Some historians have speculated that Hickok’s gun was a .44 Colt Walker. Whichever gun he used, Hickok probably aimed above the point of impact by quite a few inches.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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