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Roving gambler William “Lucky Bill” B. Thorington’s stint in Hangtown (today Placerville, California) was brief because he literally thimblerigged a prominent local out of $1,500 to $2,000 (more than $39,000 to $52,000 today) and that angered the men in the camp.
Despite a potential lynch mob after him and his companion card sharp Sidney Charles, the duo managed to escape alive and unharmed then secreted themselves for a while in the woods.
A Carried Grudge
However, the story goes, when the two later came out of hiding and caught a stagecoach on the Sacramento road, a man already onboard recognized Thorington. While extracting a bowie knife from his person, that passenger threatened to cut out the gambler’s heart because he’d swindled a brother out of all of his money. He was referring to Lucky Bill’s trickery in Hangtown.
When Thorington went for his pistol, the vengeful passenger stopped him, saying they should take it outside, meaning off the coach.
The passenger threw his knife at Thorington while he was disembarking, the blade of which lodged between two of his ribs. While falling to the ground, Thorington fired a shot, hitting his foe in the shoulder.
“Both were taken to Sacramento where they received treatment and recovered,” Robert K. DeArment relayed in Knights of the Green Cloth.
Photo from Wikipedia