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respected and well-known lawyers were appointed to represent the accused, the outcome was different; on Jan. 3, 1977, McCall was sentenced to hang. The prisoner’s six months in Yankton were eventful, to say the least. He made at least one escape attempt. As the story goes, jailers were playing checkers with prisoners in a cell when McCall grabbed the heavy walnut checkerboard and hit the guard on his head. However, other officers soon foiled the effort. Congregational and Methodist preachers offered to minister to the prisoner, but he rebuffed them before reaching out to Father John Daxacher, a Catholic missionary. As the execution day neared, the priest spent many hours with the condemned killer. A writer for the Yankton Press & Dakotan (which is still being published, and carries the honor of the oldest newspaper in Dakota Territory) rode with McCall to the hanging site north of town. His story read in part, “This mournful train, bearing its living victim to the grave, was preceded and followed by a long line of [horse-drawn] vehicles of every description, with hundreds on horseback and on foot all leading north, out through Broadway.” The writer observed that nary a word was spoken. At the gallows, McCall calmly stepped up onto the gallows. He knelt with Father Daxacher to say a prayer, then rose and kissed a crucifix handed to him by the priest. A black hood was placed over his head and the noose of a thick rope, tied early by a Broadway saloonkeeper who’d learned the “art” during the Civil War, was placed around his neck. “Draw it tighter, Marshal,” said McCall. At 10:10 a.m., the trap was dropped and McCall fell to his death. Twelve minutes later, two doctors examined the body and pronounced him dead. The crucifix remained in his clenched, blue fists. But McCall’s controversial existence hardly ended with his last breath. He was buried for four years near the tree where he was hung in a little cemetery that was used by pioneer Catholics. But the church didn’t own the land, so all the graves had to be moved in 1881 when the site was chosen for a state mental hospital. Reportedly, McCall’s coffin was opened and it was discovered that the noose was still around his neck. Catholics established a new cemetery along Douglas Avenue, just north of the city cemetery. The McCall/Hickok story was now part of Western lore, and— like Hickok’s resting place in Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery — McCall’s gravesite became a tourist attraction when automobiles made it possible for families to travel and vacation. The foot traffic prompted the Catholic pastor in Yankton to privately relocate the killer’s grave in the 1930s, and the exact location has been a quasi-mystery ever since. Some old-timers in the city claim to know the spot but it is apparently not written or recorded. In the 1950s, the city promoted its heritage with a billboard near the hanging site which read, “Welcome to Yankton: We Haven’t Hung Anyone Since Jack McCall.” The legend and notoriety faded with time, but ten years ago the HBO series “Deadwood” sparked new interest in McCall and Yankton. In 2017, still another television show known as Fireball Run came to Yankton, filming participants in a cross-country trek as they helped locals dedicate a gravestone to the long-dead outlaw. However, the stone from the Fireball show does not lie above McCall’s grave; Catholic cemetery board members were uncomfortable, even 140 years after his death, about revealing the gravesite — and they acknowledged that they are not totally certain where the outlaw rests. So the memorial stone was laid in the city cemetery, probably within a stone’s throw of the real grave. The inscription simply reads: HERE LIES JACK McCALL Died March 1, 1877 “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” - Hebrews 10:17 vSouth Dakota Magazine Yankton, South Dakota – 11