Harry Young, a bartender at the #10 Saloon in Deadwood, was present when Wild Bill Hickok was killed. In a 1915 book, Young claimed that Hickok lost his last hand to William Massie, Kings full to four 7s. So what is the source of the Dead Man’s Hand of Ac

Harry Young, a bartender at the #10 Saloon in Deadwood, was present when Wild Bill Hickok was killed. In a 1915 book, Young claimed that Hickok lost his last hand to William Massie, Kings full to four 7s. So what is the source of the Dead Man’s Hand of Aces and Eights?

Bob Wood

Maniac #451

Hugo, Minnesota

Hickok expert Joe Rosa doesn’t buy the Aces and Eights story either—nor any other claim about the cards Hickok held when he was shot. When Hickok slumped over, the cards scattered all over the place.

As to where the story originated, it appeared as early as 1926 in Frank Wilstach’s Wild Bill Hickok: Prince of Pistoleers. It’s not clear where he got it.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu