Wild-Bunch

The Wild Bunch, also known as the Doolin–Dalton Gang or the Oklahombres, was a gang of outlaws based in the Indian Territory that terrorized Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma Territory during the 1890s – robbing banks and stores, holding up trains, and killing lawmen. They were also known as The Oklahoma Long Riders, from the long dusters they wore.

The group is not to be confused with Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch.

Of all the outlaw gangs produced by the American Old West, none met a more violent end. Of its eleven members, only two would survive into the 20th century.

All eleven would eventually meet with a violent death, in gun battles with lawmen.

A version of the group was portrayed in Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 Western, “The Wild Bunch”, starring William Holden and Ernest Borgnine.

Video comes courtesy of YouTube:

That’s Hollywood.

This is history:

Notable Members

The gang consisted at various times of Bill Doolin, George “Bittercreek” Newcomb (aka “Slaughter Kid”), Charley Pierce, Oliver “Ol” Yantis, William Marion “Bill” Dalton, William “Tulsa Jack” Blake, Dan “Dynamite Dick” Clifton, Roy Daugherty (a.k.a. “Arkansas Tom Jones”), George “Red Buck” Waightman, Richard “Little Dick” West, and William F. “Little Bill” Raidler.

Two teenaged girls known as Little Britches and Cattle Annie also followed the gang, and informed the men about the location of law-enforcement officers whenever they were in pursuit of the criminals.

The Daltons

The Dalton Gang, also known as The Dalton Brothers, was a family of both lawmen and outlaws in the American Old West during 1890–1892. They specialized in bank and train robberies.

They were related to the Younger brothers, who rode with Jesse James, though they acted later, and independently of the James-Younger Gang.

The three Dalton brothers involved in the gang were Gratton “Grat” Dalton (born 1861), Bob Dalton (born 1869), and Emmett Dalton (born 1871).

Origins of the Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch had its origins following the Dalton Gang’s botched train robbery in Adair, Oklahoma Territory, on July 15, 1892, in which two guards and two townspeople (both doctors), were wounded. One of the doctors died the next day.

Bob Dalton told Doolin, Newcomb, and Pierce that he no longer needed them.

Doolin and his friends returned to their hideout in Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory. It was fortunate for them, because on October 5, the Dalton Gang would be wiped out in Coffeyville, Kansas.

Grat and Bob Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Power were killed. Emmett Dalton, however, received 23 gunshot wounds and survived.

There is some speculation that Bill Doolin was in an alleyway, acting as a lookout man.

In any event, he soon put together a new outfit.

Crime Spree

Doolin wasted no time.

On November 1, 1892, his new gang, the Wild Bunch, robbed the Ford County Bank at Spearville, Kansas, getting away with all the cash on hand, and over $1,500 in treasury notes.

From the postcard descriptions sent out, the Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, city marshal recognized Ol Yantis, the newest member of the gang. Shortly after, Yantis was cornered and killed in a shootout with the marshal’s posse.

On June 11, 1893, the Wild Bunch held up a Santa Fe train west of Cimarron, Kansas, and took $1,000 in silver from the California-New Mexico Express.

A sheriff’s posse from old Beaver County, Oklahoma Territory, caught up with the gang north of Fort Supply. The gang got away, but, in the ensuing gunfight, Doolin received a bullet in his left foot. Doolin was to suffer with the pain for the rest of his life, and it led indirectly to his capture.

Battle of Ingalls

On September 1, 1893, a posse organized by the new U.S. Marshal, Evett Dumas “E.D.” Nix, entered the outlaw town of Ingalls with the intent of capturing the gang.

In what would be remembered as the Battle of Ingalls, three of the fourteen lawmen carrying Deputy U.S. Marshals’ commissions would die, in the ensuing gunfight. Two town citizens would also die; one killed protecting the outlaws.

Of the outlaws, Newcomb was seriously wounded but escaped, and Arkansas Tom Jones, the killer of the three deputies and one citizen, was captured.

Resumption of Duties

After a short break, the gang continued its activities.

On January 3, 1894, Pierce and Waightman held up a store and post office at Clarkson, Oklahoma Territory.

On January 23, the gang robbed the Farmers Citizens Bank at Pawnee, Oklahoma Territory, and March 10, the Wild Bunch robbed the Santa Fe station at Woodward, Oklahoma Territory, of over $6,000.

On March 20, Nix sent a special posse known as the Three Guardsmen a directive to take care of the Wild Bunch. The directive stated in part, “I have selected you to do this work, placing explicit confidence in your abilities to cope with those desperadoes and bring them in – alive if possible – dead if necessary.”

On April 1, 1894, the gang attempted to rob the store of retired US Deputy Marshal W.H. Carr at Sacred Heart, Indian Territory. Carr, shot through the stomach, managed to shoot Newcomb in the shoulder, and the gang fled without getting anything.

On May 10, 1894, the Wild Bunch robbed the bank at Southwest City, Missouri, of $4,000, wounding several townspeople, and killing one.

On May 21, 1894, the jurors in Arkansas Tom’s trial found him only guilty of manslaughter in the killing of the three Deputy US Marshals. Frank Dale, the territorial judge hearing the case, returned to Guthrie, the territorial capitol, and told E.D. Nix, ” … you will instruct your deputies to bring them in dead.”

Elsewhere…

Bill Dalton, meanwhile, had left Doolin to form his own Dalton Gang.

On May 23, 1894, Dalton and his new gang robbed the First National Bank at Longview, Texas. This was the gang’s only job. Various posses would kill three of its members, and send the last one to prison, for life.

One Last Job

On April 3, 1895, the Wild Bunch – without Doolin – held up a Rock Island train at Dover, but were unable to open the safe with the $50,000 army payroll. So they robbed passengers of cash and jewelry.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Madsen and his posse took a special train to Dover, and picked up the trail at daybreak, surprising the gang around noon.

The marshals killed Blake, and scattered the gang.

This would be the last robbery by the Wild Bunch as a gang, although separately, its members kept up the robberies and killings for which they were known.

Doolin’s Demise – and Others

Bill Doolin’s death was as violent as the rest of his Wild Bunch. As with him, all their deaths were by gunshot.

U.S. Marshal Evett “E.D.” Nix had been appointed in 1893. He made his main priority the toppling of the Doolin Dalton Gang.

Nix appointed one hundred marshals to the task, insisting they hunt down all outlaws, but with a priority on this gang in particular.

Marshal Nix was staunchly supportive of his deputies and in the means they felt were necessary to bring down the gang, and with him as their defender politically, his deputy marshals systematically hunted down the gang members.

Ol Yantis was killed on November 29, 1892 at Orlando, Oklahoma Territory by Ford County, Kansas Sheriff Chalkey Beeson and Deputy US Marshal Tom Hueston.

Arkansas Tom Jones was captured on September 1, 1893, in Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory. He was pardoned in 1910.
On August 16, 1924, he was killed in Joplin, Missouri, by Joplin police detectives.

Bill Dalton was killed on June 8, 1894, near Elk, Indian Territory, by an Anadarko posse.

Tulsa Jack Blake was killed on April 4, 1895, near Ames, Oklahoma Territory, by Deputy U.S. Marshals Will Banks and Isaac Prater.

Bitter Creek Newcomb was killed on May 2, 1895, in Payne County, Oklahoma Territory, by the Dunn Brothers, who were bounty hunters.

Charley Pierce was killed on May 2, 1895, in Payne County, Oklahoma Territory – also by the Dunn brothers.

Little Bill Raidler was shot and captured on September 6, 1895, by Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Tilghman.
He was paroled in 1903 because of complications from wounds received when he was captured, and died in 1904.

Bill Doolin was captured on January 15, 1896, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas by Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Tilghman.
He escaped with Dynamite Dick Clifton but was killed on August 24, 1896, in Lawson, Oklahoma Territory, by a posse under Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas.

Red Buck Waightman was killed on March 4, 1896, near Arapaho, Oklahoma Territory, by a Custer County posse.

Dynamite Dick Clifton was captured in June, 1896, by Deputy U.S. Marshals from Texas.
He escaped with Bill Doolin, and was killed on November 7, 1897, near Checotah, Indian Territory, by Deputy U.S. Marshals under Deputy Marshal Chris Madsen.

Little Dick West was killed on April 8, 1898, in Logan County, Oklahoma Territory, by Deputy U.S. Marshals under Deputy Marshal Chris Madsen.

A violent end, to a violent group.

And the end of this tale.

I hope you’ll be back, for my next story.

Till then.

Peace.

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