Two cables, and two wires will crank an engine.
First cable, battery negative to engine block.
Second cable, battery positive to starter solenoid.
Third wire, starter solenoid to a switch.
Fourth wire, the switch back to the small terminal on the starter.
A fully charged battery, and you can check compression.
Put a distributor in it, and you add a fifth wire from the battery positive to a switch.
Run a sixth wire from a switch to ignition coil positive.
Run a seventh wire from ignition coil negative the the distributor. (points type distributor)
I believe with a HEI distributor, the coil is inside the distributor, so you need only run the ignition switch wire to the distributor.
Pour a little gas down the carb, the engine should fire. If it fires, then deal with a cooling system, a radiator for further testing.
Maybe at this time, screw an oil pressure gauge into the block, and see if the engine has some oil pressure.
If the engine had decent compression, and started and ran briefly, without odd noises, I would put it in the truck.