Wild Bunch


Wild Bunch
Wild Bunch
Tulsa Jacks body.jpg
Deputy US Marshals William Banks (left) and Isaac S. Prater (right) killed William "Tulsa Jack" Blake (center) near Dover, Oklahoma Territory, 1895
Founded July 16, 1892
In Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory
Years active 1892-1895
Territory Indian Territory
Membership 11 members
Criminal activities Robbing banks and stores, holding up trains

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.[1] Of all the outlaw gangs produced by the American Old West, none met a more violent end than the Wild Bunch. Being formed in the last decade of the 19th century, of its eleven members, only two would survive into the 20th century. All eleven would meet with a violent death in gun-battles with lawmen.

Contents

Origins

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.

Doolin, in addition to having been a member of the Dalton Gang, had been a cowboy in Kansas and the Cherokee Outlet and held something of a Robin Hood image. He was well liked by many, and he and his gang received considerable aid in eluding the law (see Ingalls, Oklahoma).

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 the three, because on October 5, the Dalton Gang would be wiped out in Coffeyville, Kansas.

Career

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, 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.

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 to capture 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 as a result of the battle. 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.

After a short break the gang continued its activities. On January 3, 1894, Pierce and Waightman held up 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 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." [2]

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 only job by the gang. Various posses would kill three of the members and send the last one to life in prison.

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 its members kept up the robberies and killings for which they were known.

Demise

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 was 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. 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.

References

  1. ^ Wellman, 1961; 1986
  2. ^ Shirley, Gunfight at Ingalls, p.105: "Marshal ... I have reached the conclusion that the only good outlaw is a dead one. It will simplify our problem ... and probably save lives in the future [if] you will instruct your deputies to bring them in dead."
  3. ^ http://www.odmp.org/officer/6807-deputy-marshal-thomas-j.-hueston

Further reading

External links


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