1994 29¢ Wild Bill Hickok
Legends of the West
Issue Date: October 18, 1994
City: Laramie, WY, Tucson, AZ and Lawton, OK
Quantity: 19,282,800 panes
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10
“Wild Bill” Hickok Wins The First Western Showdown
Standing in the dusty town square of Springfield, Missouri, on July 21, 1865, Wild Bill Hickok fired a single shot, killing Davis Tutt in what’s considered America’s first Western showdown.
Despite their repeated use in films and books, shootouts weren’t as common in the Old West as one may think. Most confrontations came in the form of drunk bar brawls, and sneaky ambushes were more common than planned showdowns.
But in July 1865, Union Army veteran Hickok was in a heated feud with his former friend, Tutt. The two had a falling-out over a woman and Tutt repeatedly harassed Hickok in the saloon. Tutt then took Hickok’s prized pocket watch as collateral for a supposed debt. When they couldn’t settle the matter, Hickok threatened that Tutt “shouldn’t come across that square unless dead men can walk.”
So on the evening of July 21, the men met in the square, about 75 yards apart. Each drew their guns and fired. Tutt missed entirely, but Hickok got him in the chest, and he died shortly after. A warrant was issued for Hickok’s arrest and he stood trial. By the law of the West, the jury believed Hickok was right to shoot Tutt and found him not guilty. When Hickok’s story was later retold in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, he became a legend in his own time.