Monday, October 5, 2009

Dalton Raid Re-enactment

Every year on the Saturday closest to October 5, the town of Coffeyville, Kansas holds an event known as Dalton Defender Days. Some of the townspeople put on a re-enactment of the Dalton Gang's last raid. We took our kids years ago when they were little and AD and I thought it would be fun to go again this past weekend.

Saturday was a beautiful day and perfect for the event.

I snapped a total of 287 pictures - boy am I glad I have a digital camera! - and am going to try my best to tell the story matching it to a few of the photos I took. Note that there are variations on the story that you can find on the internet. That's understandable due to the passage of time and stories being handed down through families. Obviously there were also horses involved but they weren't part of the re-enactment this year. (There did use horses when we went years ago. Not sure why they don't do that now - maybe safety issues?)

On to the story -

The date was October 5, 1892. It was a Wednesday. Bob Dalton and his gang planned to rob not one, but two banks in the same town at the same time. Coffeyville, Kansas was the town they targeted. The banks were the C. M. Condon & Co. Bank and the First National Bank.

The Dalton Gang was made up of Bob Dalton, Grat Dalton, Emmett Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Power.

The town's streets were filled with citizens that were going about their business and paid no attention to the strangers as they rode in slow and quietly.

A little before 9:00am Bob and Emmett Dalton crossed the plaza

to enter the First National Bank.

Grat Dalton, Bill Power and Dick Broadwell entered the C. M. Condon & Co. Bank.

One of the townspeople walking past the bank saw what was happening inside and alerted others that the bank was being robbed.

The streets emptied quickly with people taking cover

wherever they could find it.

Some of the citizens quickly secured firearms from the two hardware stores in town and set about to defend the town.

The shoot out began

with the brave town defenders returning fire.

Bob and Emmett attempted to escape out the front door using three bankers as shields but as they appeared at the door the citizens started shooting at them.

Meanwhile inside the Condon Bank Grat, Broadwell and Power were coming under fire from the guns at Isham's. Grat was wounded as he left the bank and found cover behind an oil tank, from there he fired several wild shots. Power received mortal wounds and fell at the feet of his horse in the alley.

As the bank robbers ran for the alley and the safety of their horses, they came under a murderous gunfire from the townsfolk.

Some brave defenders lay on the ground wounded and some dying.

Emmett (in the white hat) who was carrying the money bag had reached the alley in one piece.

Emmett would later sustain wounds in the right arm, left hip, and groin.

Still the guns of defenders and robbers blasted away.

Even after Emmett sustained his injuries he went back for his brother Bob.

When he reached down for Bob, Carey Seamen unloaded both barrels of his shotgun into Emmett. Emmett then held up his uninjured hand and surrendered. He was taken to Dr. Well's office and given medical care.

The gun battle lasted less than fifteen minutes after the robbers had entered the banks. When it was all over eight men were dead and three were wounded.

The bodies of Bill Power, Bob Dalton,Grat Dalton and Dick Broadwell were laid out on the street for all to see.

Emmett Dalton had survived the raid even after receiving a total of 23 gunshot wounds. He was tried and given a life sentence in prison at Lansing, Kansas but was pardoned after fourteen years. He then moved to California and became a real estate agent, author and actor. He died at the age of sixty-six.

That's our history lesson for the day.

Class dismissed.


  1. Why dont you call me? I would LOVE to go see something like that! That was amazing story..Yes I would imagine the horses were left out for safety reasons...
    We have a whole bunch of bricks at our house that say Coffeyville on them...They were left here by the previous owners..
    You are an excellent photographer..I love all your pictures..

  2. OMG How cool is that? I'll have to remember this next October. Thanks!

  3. How entertaining and educational! You're a great story teller.