Actor-turned-author Exposes Theory on Assassination of Wild Bill Hickok

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Aficionados of the American Western Frontier find fascinating reveals in David A. Soma’s new novel.

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Why was James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok killed in the gold camp of Deadwood Gulch on August 2, 1876? Author and hobby historian David A. Soma notes that five killings took place at the camp on those first three days of August. Hickok was just one of them. Revisiting the murders, Soma recreates this debate-riddled period in the American Old West in his new novel, The Yellow Doll: Deadwood, Hickok & Opium (published by Trafford Publishing).

The life and death of Wild Bill is a subject Soma knows well. “As a historical actor who has portrayed Wild Bill Hickok for nine years, I always asked why he was killed,” Soma recalls, “and that started me on the research.” In The Yellow Doll, Soma delivers his theory on why the notorious gunfighter and lawman was assassinated.

The Yellow Doll follows the odyssey of photographers Niles Dewy and his Chinese assistant on their journey to document the area of the American West after the Civil War. Their destination the summer of 1876 was the gold rush camps located in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory and all roads led to Deadwood.

Based on real and fictional figures, the characters in Soma’s novel color the story with their eccentric personalities, from the tough-as-nails Sarah Culbert to the trailing Sheriff William Clay. Each character’s personal secrets come to light to reveal an unexpected perspective on the murder of Wild Bill.

“There is no real historical reason ever uncovered for the killing,” Soma says. “The Yellow Doll is my theory on what happened.”

About the Author
David A. Soma is an historian of the American West. He combines his craft of acting and passion for history in portraying James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota. This is David Soma's first published novel. He has had poetry and short stories published. He has also written magazine articles and published a historical newspaper column.

Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, Inc. author services imprint, was the first publisher in the world to offer an “on-demand publishing service,” and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. Trafford was also one of the earliest publishers to utilize the Internet for selling books. More than 10,000 authors from over 120 countries have utilized Trafford’s experience for self publishing their books. For more information about Trafford Publishing, or to publish your book today, call 1-888-232-4444 or visit


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