The Dalton Gang

The Dalton Gang was a bunch of train robbers who grew up in Belton, Missouri. There were fifteen Dalton children, ten boys of which four became infamous for their train robberies in the Midwest and California. They were cousins to Cole Younger, who had his own gang, and were neighbors to the James brothers, another gang.

The four Daltons brothers of the Dalton Gang, were Grat, Bob, Bill and Emmett. All but Bill (Mason) wore badges before turning to the dark side. Grat was a U.S. Marshal, Bob served as a chief of police for the Osage Indians and Emmett was a deputy to both brothers. A brother, Frank, was a Deputy U.S. Marshal, when he was gunned down by moonshiners while attempting an arrest. Bill had come to California in 1884 when he was twenty years old. He had a farm in near Paso Robles and was the only Dalton to brother to raise a family.

The Daltons were originally accused of some of the robberies that were later blamed on Sontag and Evans. The railroad detectives had said "There has been nobody holding up trains in the San Joaquin but those Daltons." The Daltons knew Sontag and Evans and Grat Dalton had even worked with Chris Evans at the Granger's Union at Pixley and at Tipton.

After being arrested for the Alila (Earlimart) train robbery, Grat Dalton was convicted and was being held in the Visalia jail. Grat escaped from jail with two other men, on September 20, 1891. At first it was thought that the jailer helped in the escape, but later evidence showed just how the escape was accomplished. A bar from the cell had been cut free with a hacksaw blade and a broom handle darkened with soap and soot was used as a temporary replacement so it wouldn't be noticed.

In an interview, forty years later, Sheriff Gene Kay provided additional information. He was sure that Chris Evans was the one who aided in the escape. The horse that was hidden in the pear orchard for Grat belonged to Evans mother in law. Grat had some $2 bills that came from the Goshen train robbery, a robbery believed to have been committed by Evans and Sontag. Grat had sold a horse to Evans and Evans paid him with the bills. Evans and Dalton were friends from when they had worked together at the Granger's Union. Kay was sure that Evans furnished the hacksaw blades and positioned the ladder for escape, and hid the Winchester rifle and ammunition.

The other two men who had escaped were again apprehended, but Grat was still at large. It was discovered that he was holed up in a rocky hideout with another bad man on Dalton Mountain. Tulare County Sheriff Kay contacted Fresno County Sheriff Hensley met up at Centerville and, with about eight other men planned their capture of Grat Dalton. In a freezing rain, they eventually made it to the Judson Elwood ranch at the bottom of Dalton Mountain. (The Elwood ranch became the Pierson Dude Ranch and later, the Wonder Valley Ranch).

The lawmen surrounded the bandits but only Riley Dean was arrested. Grat dove for the brush and made it to the bottom of the mountain near the Elwood ranch where he stole a horse and made his get away. From here, he went east and never looked back.

The Dalton Gang came to an end in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1892 when attempting to rob two banks at one time. All but Emmett, who survived 22 bullet wounds were killed. He served time in the Kansas Penitentiary until pardoned. Emmett wrote two books about his days in the gang, When the Daltons Rode and Beyond the Law.

Here is a photo of the Dalton Gang after being killed at Coffeyville.

(l-r) Tom Evans, Bob Dalton, Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell
Emmett Dalton was wounded 22 times and is in the doctors office when his picture was taken. This picture has been pasted into the top right.

Notice the names on the signs above the dead men. Tim Evans should have been Tom Evans and Grot Dalton should have been Grat Dalton.

It is claimed by many that Tom Evans was the brother of Chris Evans. Tom also went by the names of William Todd, William Power and Bill Power.