William M. Dalton

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William Marion "Bill" Dalton
Dalton Bill-edit.png
William Marion Dalton

1866 (1866)
Cass County, Missouri, United States
DiedJune 8, 1894(1894-06-08) (aged 27–28)
Pooleville, Oklahoma, United States
Cause of deathGunshot wound
Resting placeTurlock Memorial Park
37°29′47″N 120°51′54″W / 37.49639°N 120.86500°W / 37.49639; -120.86500 (Bill Dalton Burial Site)
Other namesWilliam Marion Dalton
  • Bank & Train Robbery
  • Old West Outlaw
Spouse(s)Jane "Jennie" Bliven
  • Charles Coleman "Chubb" Dalton
  • Grace M. Dalton
  • James Lewis Dalton
  • Adelaine Lee Sullivan Younger
AllegianceWild Bunch
Criminal chargeBank robbery, train robbery

William Marion Dalton (1866–June 8, 1894), called Bill Dalton, was an American outlaw in the American Old West. He was the co-leader of the Wild Bunch gang and he was the brother of the founders of the Dalton Gang, Gratton, Bob and Emmett.

Early life & career[edit]

Dalton was born in Kansas. For a time, he was one of the two success stories of the Dalton family, for a time being a member of the California legislature. His older brother Frank Dalton was a highly respected Deputy US Marshal. However, by 1890 he was tired of politics, and joined his brothers in a train robbery outside Los Angeles, California. He and his brother Grat Dalton were captured, but later escaped. When his brothers were killed in the infamous 1892 raid on Coffeyville, Kansas, Dalton moved to Oklahoma, where he met Bill Doolin, and the two formed their own gang. They called the gang by two names, the Doolin Dalton Gang and the Oklahombres, but it became best known as the Wild Bunch.

Bill Dalton became obsessed with becoming more famous than his brothers, and he and Doolin went to great efforts to see that happen. For three years they committed bank robbery, stagecoach robbery, and train robbery in various places around Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Kansas. On September 1, 1893, they were trailed to Ingalls, Oklahoma and became involved in the Battle of Ingalls, during which he shot and killed Deputy US Marshal Lafeyette Shadley.[1] Bill Dalton decided to leave the Doolin Dalton gang and 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 June 8, 1894, a posse tracked Dalton to his home in Pooleville, Oklahoma. The posse was led by US Marshall Buck Garret of Ardmore in Indian Territory. Garrett along with James H. Mathers and 6 other deputies exchanged gunfire with Dalton. Deputies reported over 100 rounds being exchanged between the posse and Dalton. Eventually Dalton stopped responding and was found dead in the cabin with a gunshot wound to the head. His wife identified his body, and had him shipped back to California for burial.

In popular culture[edit]

The song "Doolin Dalton", a hit for the Eagles, was inspired by the gang. Furthermore, Desperado, the album on which the song "Doolin Dalton" appears, is considered a 'concept album' inspired by the antics of the various players from this era including a song called 'Bittercreek', a passing lyrical reference to a barmaid named 'Flo', and of course the iconic photo on the back cover of said album which features the members of the band lying face up, hands tied and appearing to be dead, much like the infamous historical picture of the Dalton Brothers 'lying dead in Coffeyville'.


  1. ^ "Deputy Marshal Lafayette "Lafe" Shadley". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved May 19, 2008.

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