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October 5, 1892, Infamous Dalton Gang Attempts Last Armed Robbery - Today In Crime History

On this day, October 5, in the year 1892, the Dalton Gang attempted its final armed robbery, which ended in a deadly gun battle, killing most of the gang members.

The Dalton Gang included three brothers, Gratton "Grat" Dalton, Bob Dalton and Emmett Dalton, who actually specialized in train robberies.  Between May 1891 and July 1892, the gang robbed four different trains.

Bob Dalton apparently wanted to make sure his name would long be remembered in crime history.   He would, he claimed, "beat anything Jesse James ever did - rob two banks at once, in broad daylight."   On October 5, 1892, the three Dalton brothers, joined by outlaws Dick Broadwell and Bill Power, set out to accomplished this feat when they attempted to rob the C.M. Condon & Company's Bank and the First National Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas.  Since many Americans were aware of what the Dalton Gang looked like, they wore fake beards.  Despite their attempts to conceal their identify, at least one citizen recognized the gang members.

While the gang was busy trying to hold up the banks, several citizens armed themselves and prepared for a gun battle.  When the gang exited the banks, a shootout began.  The five armed gang members shot their way to an alley where their horses were waiting.  In the gun battle that ensued, all five men were shot, but not before killing several of the citizen vigilantes, many of whom had been armed for the fight by a local hardware store.

Emmett Dalton, the sole survivor, had been shot 23 times.   He was captured and given a life sentence, of which he served 14 years before being released.  Emmett Dalton returned to the site of the crime nearly 40 years later and offered these words of wisdom to would-be criminals: “The biggest fool on Earth is the one who thinks he can beat the law, that crime can be made to pay.  It never paid and it never will and that was the one big lesson of the Coffeyville raid.”

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