21.07.

1865: The First Wild West Gunfight

1865: The First Wild West Gunfight
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Wild Bill Hickok

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 21 July 1865
  • This gunfight occurred in the town square of Springfield between Wild Bill Hickok (his real name was James Butler Hickok) and Davis Tutt (a cowboy). They had met each other many years ago. Hickok and Tutt used to be friends, but the falling out between them probably occurred over women.

This day in 1865 marked the first Wild West gunfight, which took place immediately after the American Civil War (the last shot was allegedly fired on 22 June 1865 i.e. about a month before the mentioned gunfight).

The duel took place in the city of Springfield, Missouri. At the time, Missouri was a border state, and the Indian Territory was located in its vicinity (it later became part of the state of Oklahoma). Wild Bill Hickok is considered to be an American legend. He was also known as gunfighter who fought on the side of the North (the Union) during the Civil War. Hickok had many hobbies, and was known as  coachman, lawman, professional gambler, actor etc.

His opponent, Davis Tutt (who was also a gambler), fought on the side of the South (the Confederacy) during the Civil War. Hickok and Tutt used to be friends, but the falling out between them probably occurred over women. There were rumors that Hickok had fathered an illegitimate child with Tutt’s sister, and Tutt was flirting with Hickok’s girlfriend Susanna Moore.

On the eve of this day, Davis Tutt met Wild Bill Hickok in Springfield. A conflict occurred during poker game at the local hotel. The gunfight began at 6:00 PM, and they used firearms. Passers-by took shelter to avoid being shot. Both men faced each other sideways in a dueling position, at a distance of about 70 meters. Wild Bill Hickok had the Colt 1851 Navy or Navy Revolver (also used by “Doc” Holliday). This six-bullet revolver was designed by the famous Samuel Colt. At the time, shot capsules were not used, but gunpowder and ignition capsules.

Tutt allegedly fired the first shot, but Hickok shot more accurately. Tutt missed, and Wild Bill’s bullet struck Tutt in the left side, between the fifth and seventh ribs. Tutt was left lying dead in the street.

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