On this day in 1892, the infamous Dalton Gang carried out their last robbery in Kansas. They tried to rob two banks in the town of Coffeyville. This was typical of the gang who were renowned for their audacity. However, they had underestimated the determination of the local citizens of Coffeyville.
Over an eighteen month period, the Dalton gang had committed a strong of armed robberies in Oklahoma, during which they killed several people. They had evaded capture and had frustrated the forces and law and order. However, Oklahoma was getting too ‘hot’ for them and they decided to try their luck in Kansas.
The gang rode into town and they appeared to be just another bunch of cowboys. They tied their horses in an alleyway near the two banks and they split into two groups. Two of the brothers headed for the First National Bank and the other two, headed for the Condon Bank. However, unknown to the Daltons they had been identified. One of the citizens recognized the Dalton’s, he had seen their pictures on wanted posters. He alerted the rest of the town to the fact that the Dalton Gang was in town. People began to arm themselves and waited for the sheriff. The Dalton’s had entered the bank and forced the employees at gunpoint to hand over money. The Daltons were helping themselves to bundles of dollars, but little did they realize that the people of Coffeyville were setting a trap for them. When the Dalton brothers walked out of the First National Bank , a hail of bullets forced them back into the bank and when they tried to leave by the back door, they came under another hail of bullets. In the gunfire, the Dalton brothers were hit and killed and died in the alleyway at the back of the bank.
In the Condon Bank an employee had managed to delay the bank robbers. As the gang members began to take the bundles of notes they were fired on in the bank. The townspeople broke the windows of the bank and fired at the Dalton brothers The robbers managed to escape out into the street but there they were met by another vicious hail of bullets.
When the shooting had stopped the townspeople had killed all the Dalton brothers and their accomplices except Emmett Dalton, who was seriously injured. However, four Coffeyville citizens died in the shootout and several more were injured. The ordinary citizens had ended the criminal career of one of the most notorious and dangerous criminal gangs in the Old West.
Emmett Dalton was tried and sentenced to life in prison. He served 14 years in prison and he eventually went to Hollywood and used his past reputation to secure himself a job as a screenwriter for western movies. He died in 1937 at the age of 66.