Thursday, August 4, 2011



"The Last Ride Of The Dalton Gang"

Don Collier

From Wikipedia:
Frank Dalton (June 8, 1859 – November 27, 1887) was a Deputy US Marshal of the Old West under Judge Isaac Parker, for Oklahoma Territory, as well as the older brother to the members of the Dalton Gang, in addition to being the brother to William M. Dalton, once a member of California legislature, and later an outlaw and leader of the Doolin Dalton gang alongside Bill Doolin. Frank Dalton is not to be confused with J. Frank Dalton, who made many claims to be famous people, including his claim of being Frank Dalton, and later Jesse James.

Dalton became, without much effort, the success story of the Dalton family. He was commissioned as a Deputy US Marshal, serving under Judge Parker, and quickly developed a reputation as being a brave lawman. Based out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Dalton was involved in a number of shootouts and high risk arrests over a three year period. However, on November 27, 1887, he and Deputy J.R. Cole were on the trail of outlaw Dave Smith, wanted for horse theft. As they approached Smith's camp, Smith fired a shot from a rifle, hitting Dalton in the chest. Deputy Cole returned fire, killing Smith, but was then shot and wounded by a Smith cohort.

Cole was able to make his escape, however, believing Dalton was dead. Dalton, however, was still alive, and engaged the outlaws in a short gunbattle. One of Smith's cohorts was wounded, and a woman who was in the camp was killed during the crossfire. Frank Dalton was dead by the time Deputy Cole returned with a posse, having been killed with two additional rifle shots by outlaw Will Towerly. The outlaw wounded by Dalton never revealed his own name. He died shortly thereafter, but not before naming Towerly as Frank Dalton's murderer.

A newspaper of the time indicated Dalton had begged Towerly not to kill him, saying he was already dying. However that was a rumour, and there were no witnesses to the crime who ever made that statement. Towerly was killed one month later by Deputy William Moody and Deputy US Marshal Ed Stokley. Stokley was also killed during the gunfight.


1 comment:

Hugh said...

Always liked Don Collier--he used to do ads for Bubble Yum with Dub Taylor playing a sort of John Wayne type. It was a while before I knew who he was, but he had a good presence.