There were many fast-draw gunfighters of the Old Wild West, but few (if any) of them compared to a man called “Hookey.” And there are many past stories to tell about this man, George “Hookey” Miller — the good, bad, and the ugly. But this article is meant to briefly detail this man’s amazing skills as a gunfighter.
Hookey lost his right hand and the first joints of three fingers on his left hand during a shootout in Oklahoma Territory on March 5, 1896, with U.S. Deputy Marshals who were hunting down a cold-blooded killer named “Red Buck” Waightman. Hookey himself was a cattle rustler at the time. Later, after being released from prison, he was fitted for a steel hook in place of his amputated hand, which gained him his nickname, “Hookey.” (This story is told in much more detail in my book.)
Before the shootout of 1896, Hookey was considered to be quick fingered and one of the fastest draw in the entire Wild West. This was a skill he maintained after his amputation, despite the fact that he wore a steel hook strapped to his right arm and he had partial fingers on his left hand. Hookey mastered drawing a pistol with his left hand and shooting a rifle with his right arm while pulling the trigger with his hook. Eventually, with this skill in place, Hookey became a bodyguard and bartender at Jim McCarty’s saloon near the Canadian River in Pottawatomie County. Hookey was hired by McCarty to protect him from outlaws who frequently visited his saloon. Certainly one of the best gunfighters of his time.