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Wild Bunch

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Title: Wild Bunch  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bill Doolin, George Newcomb, Bill Tilghman, Dalton Gang, Catron County, New Mexico
Collection: Cowboys, Gangs in Oklahoma, Outlaw Gangs in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Wild Bunch

Wild Bunch
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
Founding location Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory
Years active 1892-1895
Territory Indian Territory
Membership 11 members
Criminal activities Robbing banks and stores, holding up trains
Notable members
  • 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 "Arkansas Tom Jones" Daugherty
  • George "Red Buck" Waightman
  • Richard "Little Dick" West
  • William F. "Little Bill" Raidler

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.[1] They were also known as The Oklahoma Long Riders because of the long dusters that they wore.[2] Of all the outlaw gangs produced by the American Old West (the gang was formed in the last decade of the 19th century), none met a more violent end than the Wild Bunch. Only two of its eleven members survived into the 20th century, and all eleven met violent deaths in gun battles with lawmen.


  • Members 1
  • Origins 2
  • Career 3
  • Demise 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


The gang consisted at various times of , Richard "Little Dick" West, and Oliver "Ol" Yantis. Additionally, two teenaged girls followed the gang, known as Little Britches and Cattle Annie, and informed the men about the location of law enforcement officers whenever they were in pursuit of the criminals.[3][4]

Doolin had been a member of the Dalton Gang, as well as 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 from the general public in eluding the law (see Ingalls, Oklahoma).


The Wild Bunch was conceived following the Dalton Gang's botched train robbery in Adair, Oklahoma Territory, on July 15, 1892, during 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 was wiped out in Coffeyville, Kansas. Grat and Bob Dalton, Dick Broadwell, and Bill Power were killed; however, Emmett Dalton survived the incident, despite receiving 23 gunshot wounds. Speculation is that Bill Doolin was in an alleyway as a lookout man, which leads some to say that Bill Doolin was in fact still a member of the Gang.


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 gang's newest member. 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 was 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 the 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 Railway 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 in Oklahoma. 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 in Oklahoma, and told E.D. Nix, " ... you will instruct your deputies to bring them in dead." [5]

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

On December 19, 1894, Doolin was reportedly one of six men who attempted to rob the J.R. Pearce store at Texana, Oklahoma; they were driven off with less than $20.00 in merchandise.[6]

On April 3, 1895, the Wild Bunch, without Doolin, held up a Rock Island train at Dover, Oklahoma but were unable to open the safe containing 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.


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 that they hunt down all outlaws, but with a priority on this gang. Marshal Nix was staunchly supportive of his deputies and whatever they felt was necessary to bring down the gang. With him as their defender politically, his deputy marshals systematically hunted down the gang members.

In popular culture

The Wild Bunch was featured in an episode of the 1950s syndicated television series, Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis.

The gang was the inspiration for The Eagles album Desperado (1973) and the song "Doolin-Dalton" on that album.


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  5. ^ "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."
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Further reading

External links

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