Wild Bill Hickok Shoots Two 7th Cav Troopers


William "Wild Bill" Hickok, famed gunfighter and frontier lawman, had traveled to Fort Hays, Kansas to enlist as an US Army Scout. On the summer night of July 17, 1870, Wild Bill was drinking hard at Drum's Saloon in Hays City, Kansas. Troopers from the famed US 7th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Hays, were also at the bar drinking. Unfortunately for the drunken Troopers, Wild Bill Hickok was in a testy mood and when a brawl broke out, Hickok was thrown to the floor and gunfire broke out. There are lot of people I’d rather be in a gunfight with than Wild Bill!

US 7th Cavalry Trooper John Kile tried to fire a shot from his pistol but the cap failed to ignite. Wild Bill Hickok quickly pulled his pistols and returned fire on the Troopers. Wild Bill hit Trooper Kile in the waist. Trooper Jerry Lonergan failed to get a shot off before Wild Bill put a round through his knee and wrist. Trooper Lonergan survived his wounds and eventually returned to active duty. Trooper Kile died the next night in the Fort Hayes hospital. The other Troopers in the bar escaped injury.

In what was described as a clear cut case of self defense, Wild Bill was cleared of any criminal charges. His prospect of being an US Army Scout gone, Wild Bill returned to law enforcement. Wild Bill Hickok’s quality of life continued to diminish as he delved deeper into gambling and drinking. Wild Bill was cowardly shot in the back and murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1876 while gambling.

This photograph is often shown as the 7th Cavalry victims of Wild Bill Hickok's ire. It can't be as there are two dead Troopers and Private Kile died in the hospital, not the street.



Fort Hays, Kansas

Wild Bill Hickok


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