Doolin & Dalton, Angels and Outlaws
The original Outlaws
It is said that fate was with Bill Doolin this
day he was riding with the Daltons on the
dusty road to Coffeyville. Not far from the
town Doolin's horse pulled up lame and
Bill was forced to turn back, thus escaping
the rifles and six-shooters of the outraged
citizens, who shot the Daltons out of their
Legend aside, it was always known that
Bill Doolin had a large amount of common
sense, and this rather than a horse's lame
leg probably accounted for his turning
back on the Coffeyville road. Doolin was
no coward but also he was no fool and the
fantastic scheme of Grat and Emmett
Dalton to steal the doubtful glory that
belonged to the Jameses and Youngers
by robbing two banks at once didn't set
right with Doolin.
When he heard that news of how the
Daltons went out, Doolin saddled up and
rode back to Oklahoma to form what was
one of the last of the organized outlaw
bunch in the West. The Daltons rode for
only eighteen months, but Doolin
managed to rob and run for four long
Bill Tilghman captured Doolin at Eureka Springs, Arkansas,
where the outlaw was enjoying the springs. Tilghman went in
alone and took Doolin in a bath after a fierce struggle. It is no
legend that when he was packing Doolin's things he found a
small silver cup.  "That's for my baby boy, Bill," Doolin said with
the strange familiarity that existed between many of the
old-time outlaws and marshals.
I'll see that he gets it, Bill, Tilghman said, and put the cup in the
At Gutherie, five thousand people crowded about the station
fighting for a chance to see the pair. As crowds will do, they
ignored the brave lawman for the thief. They cheered Doolin
more than his captor.Doolin pleaded not guilty and was held
over for trial at the Guthrie federal jail. He escaped, freeing
thirty-seven other prisoners.
Forty years later it was learned that Doolin hid out at the New
Mexican ranch of Eugene Manlove Rhodes, where he saved
his famous host from being killed by a mad horse. He returned
to his wife and baby boy only to be killed by Heck Thomas
outside of Lawson, as he walked down a road in the moonlight
leading his horse and cradling a Winchester in one arm behind
came a wagon, driven by his wife.
The shotgun blast killed Doolin instantly. The body was put
across a horse and Heck Thomas led the horse and the dead
man back to Lawson, followed by the outlaw's weeping widow.
There is one last ironic touch; on the back of the wagon was a
chicken coop and a plow, mute symbols of the life Doolin, the
outlaw, had scorned so often, but had at last tried to embrace.

Doolin Dalton
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All Rights Reserved
US Copyright, 11/2006
Bill McKinney