The Daltons are familiar names to those who are fans of Wild West stories. These notorious outlaws have been made famous by comic books, movies and TV shows, but how much do we really know about their true history? Let’s delve into the past to discover the fascinating facts behind the legends.
The Dalton gang was made up of four brothers: Bob, Grat, Bill and Emmett. They were born into a farming family in 1860, in the state of Missouri, United States. The Dalton brothers began their criminal careers as outlaws robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches in the late 19th century. They were known for their boldness and brutality.
Their first big affair took place in 1891, when they attacked a train in Oklahoma. They robbed the train and killed a prison guard, marking the beginning of their reputation as ruthless outlaws. However, it was not long before they were arrested and imprisoned.
The following year, 1892, the Dalton brothers managed to escape from prison, launching a series of bank and train robberies that terrorized the American Midwest. Their modus operandi was simple but effective: they broke into banks or trains, threatened employees and passengers with their weapons, and left with the money.
What contributed to the Daltons’ notoriety was their appearance in comic strips and vaudeville shows in the late 19th century. Their adventures were fictionalized and dramatized, helping to transform them into legends of the West. The Daltons have become the iconic villains of the popular imagination, facing vigilantes like Lucky Luke in the pages of comic books.
Yet behind the image of charismatic outlaws lurked a darker reality. The Dalton brothers committed numerous violent crimes, killing several people during their heists. Their reputation as “gentle bandits” was largely a myth.
In 1893, the Daltons undertook one of their most daring heists, attempting to rob two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas. However, this time their plan failed. The townspeople armed themselves and resisted the attack, leading to a bloody shootout. Bob, Grat and Bill Dalton were killed in this confrontation, while Emmett was seriously injured and captured.
The Daltons’ era as a gang was over, but their legend still lived on. The story of their heroic deaths at the hands of determined citizens cemented their status as legends of the West.
Emmett Dalton, the only survivor of the brothers, was sentenced to life in prison, but he was finally released in 1907 after serving 14 years of his sentence. After his release, he surprised many people by becoming a respected citizen of society, even writing a book about his years as an outlaw.
The Daltons left an indelible mark on the history of the American West. Their story has become a key part of Western mythology, and their name is still associated with the golden age of the West. Although they were fearsome criminals, their legacy has lived on through the books, films and shows that immortalized their exploits.
In conclusion, the true stories of the Daltons are nowhere near as romantic as the legends that surround them. These brothers were dangerous criminals who spread terror across the American Midwest for a brief period. However, their daring and bravery helped transform them into iconic figures of the American West, and their story continues to fascinate people around the world. The Daltons remain a powerful reminder of the tumultuous era of the American West.