Friday, October 5, 2012


I know, it's not '30s gangsters - but it is bullets and blood ... and it happened today, 120 years ago!!!!!!!

10/5/1892 - A badman Waterloo takes place in Coffeyville, Kansas.  Tricked out with new horses, saddles, clothes, and weapons, the Dalton Gang (31-year-old former U.S. Deputy Marshal and eldest brother Grat, 24-year-old leader of the band, crack shot, and former U.S. Deputy Marshal Bob, youngest brother, 21-year-old Emmett, and former cowboys turned outlaws Bill Doolin, Bill Powers, and Dick Broadwell) visits the town they grew up in as dirt poor farm children in an attempt to gain funds for an early retirement to Mexico, and by hitting two banks at once, to best the robbery record of their desperado uncles, the Younger Brothers.  

                                                              Bill Doolin

A major mistake, things go bad for the brothers and their gang early when Bill Doolin's lame horse forces him to drop out of the morning's robberies, the gang finds street repairmen have removed the hitching posts from in front of the bank so that the group must put up their steeds some distance away from the banks in an alley (soon to be forever known as "Death Alley"), and despite fake beards and moustaches, the Daltons are quickly recognized by storekeeper Alex McKenna, who immediately starts shouting, "The Daltons!  There go the Daltons," and iceman Cyrus Lee, who yells, " The Daltons are robbing the bank!"  It is 9:30 in the morning.  As the town reacts and starts to arm, Bob and Grat enter the First National Bank, while across the street, Grat, Powers, and Broadwell take on the Condon Bank. 

                                                               Condon Bank
                                                        Condon after the raid
                                         Original doors to the First National

In the First National, Bob and Emmett fill a grain sack with $21,000 and when bullets greet them as they start to leave the bank, change their exit plans and leave the bank by its back door, and begin a sprint back to their horses.  During their run, the brothers are confronted by four armed citizens that do not enjoy their encounter with the outlaws ... wielding his Winchester rifle with deadly accuracy, Bob kills store clerk Lucious Baldwin with a bullet in his chest, sends bootmakers George Cubine and Charles Brown to eternity with single shots, and then, noting that cashier Tom Ayres has left the First National and armed himself with a rifle from Isham's Hardware Store, puts a slug through his former playmate's left cheek.  Meanwhile, while Bob is shooting up the streets of Coffeyville, inside the Condon Bank, Grat has been duped by cashier Charles Ball into believing that the safe has a time lock and will not open until 9:45 ... so Grat waits and waits and waits as lead begins to crash into the bank ... not the brightest bulb of the gang, he finally comes to the conclusion that it has become too hot to wait any longer, and he and his partners scoop up $1,500, run out the front door, and head for the alley ... all are immediately wounded in the hail of bullets that greets their exit.  Bullets flying from outlaws and angry citizens in all directions,the entire gang finally arrives in the alley, where Bob and Bill Powers quickly have their horses shot out from under them.  Then, in a foolish but heroic move, former school teacher turned lawman, Town Marshal Charles Connelly steps into the alley to block the robbers exit ... a decision that costs him his life when Grat instantly puts a slug in his chest.  

                          Lucius M. Baldwin   George B. Cubine   Charles Brown   Charles T. Connelly
                             Baldwin, Cubine, Brown, and Marshal Connelly

Grat's triumph lasts only a brief second though ... exposed killing the marshal, livery stable owner and marksman John J. Kloehr steps out from behind a nearby fence and plugs Bob in the chest with a rifle bullet, then hits Grat in the neck with a fatal round.  With his death, Powers jumps on Grat's horse and prepares to spur away, but is hit by a bullet in the heart and is dead before he falls out of the saddle.  Broadwell manages to mount and leave the alley, but he is hit multiple times and will only manage to ride a few blocks before bleeding out and dying.           

                                                        John J. Kloehr

Emmett the last outlaw upright, still carrying the First National's money, manages to mount and start his flight to safety, but love of family overpowering, he turns back and attempts to lift Bob on to the back of his horse.  "It's no use Emmett," are Bob's last words and an omen for his little brother, for as soon as they leave the dying outlaw's lips, Emmett is brought down by a buckshot blast from both barrels of barber Carey Seaman's shotgun.  

                                                   Where the end took place

Robberies and gunfight over, all the loot except $22.02 is recovered, the four dead bandits are propped up for photographs and souvenir collecting (hats, still warm rifles and pistols, and bits of clothing ... and when it is discovered that by shaking Grat's hand a gurgle of blood can be caused to flow from his neck wound, hundreds of townspeople make it a point to say hello to the dead outlaw), and Emmett is taken to Slosson's Drugstore to have emergency surgery on his wounds performed by local Dr. W. H. Wells (the only reason he isn't lynched is that everyone in town believes he will soon die of the 18 fresh holes in his arm, back and shoulder, but nursed by his childhood sweetheart and eventual wife, Julia Johnson, he will recover to be sentenced to life in the Kansas State Penitentiary ... a sentence he will serve until his pardoning in 1907 ... straight and narrow from then on as a real estate agent, author, and actor, he will die without his boots on in Los Angeles in 1937 at the ripe old age of 66).  The toll for the morning's bloodbath, four outlaws and four citizens dead, three citizens wounded (along with Ayers, Charley Gump and T.A. Reynolds are also hit in the battle), three dead horses ... and the Dalton Gang is no more!   

                                  Bill Powers, Bob Dalton, Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell
                                 The Dalton Gang killed
                                              The dead gang and Emmett
                                                  The boys in their boxes

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