Bill Hickock-David Tutt Gunfight

Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok

The Bill Hickok-David Tutt Shootout occurred in July of 1865  when Bill Hickok met up with a 26-year-old gambler in Springfield, Missouri, to whom Hickok lost at the gaming tables. When Bill couldn’t pay up, Dave Tutt took Hickok’s gold pocket watch for security. Hickok growled that if Tutt so much as used the timepiece, he would kill him. However, on July 21, 1865, the two met in the public square, and Tutt proudly wore the watch for all to see.

This insult, of course, soon led to a gunfight. At a distance of about 75 yards, the two faced off. Tutt’s shot missed, but Hickok’s hit Tutt in the chest. The wounded man stumbled for about 20 feet before falling to the ground dead. Two days later, Hickok was arrested and tried for manslaughter. His trial began on August 3, in which Hickok claimed self-defense. Three days later, he was acquitted of all charges. Dave Tutt’s body was buried in the Springfield City Cemetery but was later moved to the Maple Park Cemetery, where it is today. The site is marked with a gravestone showing a carved pocket watch, playing cards, and pistols.

After the Springfield, Missouri shoot-out, Hickok turned on Tutt's friends, illustration from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February, 1867.

After the Springfield, Missouri shoot-out, Hickok turned on Tutt’s
friends, illustration from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, February 1867.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.

Also See:

Adventures in the American West

Gunfights in the American West

Wild Bill Hickok & the Deadman’s Hand

Who’s Who in American History