Old West Lifestyle & Stories


Ma and Pa Dalton had ten sons.  Most of them grew up to be law-abiding citizens.   One of the brothers, Frank, was killed while serving as a deputy for “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker.   Following their brother’s example, Grat, Bob and Emmett worked as lawmen in the Oklahoma Territory.   But, they spent their spare time rustling cattle, and accepting bribes from whiskey smugglers.  Although they managed to escape prosecution, by 1890 they were discredited as lawmen.

Deciding it was time for the Daltons to engage in some serious crime, Bob and Grat headed for California where they met up with their brother Bill.   On February 6, 1891 Bob, Grat and Bill decided to rob a train.   A little north of Bakersfield, they managed to flag down a Southern Pacific train traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

          While Bill kept the passengers occupied by shooting over their heads, Bob and Grat asked the engineer to show them the location of the express car.   But the engineer refused, and he tried to escape.   One shot from a Dalton pistol stopped the engineer in his tracks.

Bob and Grat found the express car on their own.   They demanded the guard open the express car door.  But he refused.  And not only that, he started shooting at them from a small spy hole.

Totally frustrated, the Daltons rode away empty handed.   Now, after the fiasco of their first major attempt at outlawry, the average person would probably decide that maybe the outlaw trail was not for them.   But the Daltons weren’t average.   And they kept it up, until a year and a half later when they decided to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas, and the Dalton gang was wiped out.

I guess sometimes when a person fails they shouldn’t try try again.

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