Here Is The Most Insane, Unforgettable Kansas Bank Robbery

Since becoming a state in 1861, Kansas has seen its fair share of crime. However, one of the most notorious and memorable cases of them all may just be the infamous (and historic) Coffeyville bank robbery of 1892.

As the story goes, the Daltons (comprised of father, Lewis; mother, Adeline; sons Frank, Gratton, Bill, Bob, and Emmett; and a total of ten other children) were a well known and well respected family that originally settled in the Oklahoma Territory, later moving to Coffeyville, Kansas. Growing up, the oldest Dalton boys worked hard to abide by the law; so much so, in fact, that Frank, Grat, Bob, and Emmett all became “law men” who helped apprehend and arrest wrongdoers around their Oklahoma home. Sadly, the oldest Dalton, Frank, was shot and killed during a failed attempt at capturing a horse thief. However, the tragedy didn’t deter his younger brothers from staying with the often dangerous occupation.

But something else did.

After not receiving pay for their work, Emmett, Bob, and Grat grew tired of upholding the law and began taking things into their own hands… in the form of robbing, killing and drinking.

It wasn’t long after the brothers turned to the other side of the law that they formed their infamous “Dalton Gang,” which was known for holding up gambling houses, trains, and banks. Their most legendary crime, however, is the one that would go down in history as one of the most famous bank robberies in not just Kansas, but the entire country.

On October 5, 1892, the Dalton’s attempted a feat so great, it would “beat anything Jesse James ever did.” What was this exploit? To rob two Coffeyville banks at the same time. After adorning themselves in fake facial hair and unrecognizable clothing, the Gang (which also consisted of non-related Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers) split up, two of them taking the First National Bank, while the other three headed into the adjacent Condon Bank. Unfortunately for the brothers, a Coffeyville resident recognized the faces behind the beards and began spreading the word of a possible bank robbery. It wasn’t too long after when a majority of the townspeople, with guns in hand, stormed the street between the banks and awaited an inevitable shootout.

As hard as they fought, four of the five Dalton Gang members lost both the gunfight and their lives. Bob and Grat Dalton, Bill Power, and Dick Broadwell died on that fateful day, as well as four Coffeyville residents who participated in the gunfire. Brother Emmett obtained a whopping 23 gunshot wounds, but was able to walk off the streets of Coffeyville and into a jail cell in Lansing, where he spent the next 14 years.

Since the incident more than 120 years ago, the Gang and their story have lived on through books, movies, and television shows. You can see the sight of the both the old banks, street, and family memorabilia by visiting Coffeyville.

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