During the last decades of the 19th century, photographing dead outlaws served several purposes: it showed the power of the law and it garnished the photographer an income when he sold the photographs. In 1907, the photographic postcard became popular, and many photographers republished their images as postcards. They were popular souvenirs of the Wild West. The celebrity status of the James brothers (Frank and Jesse) inspired other families to emulate their exploits. The Younger brothers (Cole, Bob, Jim, and John) rode with the James brothers’ gang. The James-Younger careers began with their service with notorious Confederate bushwhacker and guerrilla William Quantrill, of Quantrill’s Raiders. Their careers extended from 1868 to 1882.
The Dalton brothers (Bob, Emmett, Bill, and Grant) were cousins of the Younger brothers and grew up near Coffeyville, KS. The Jameses and Youngers were local heroes. In 1890, the Daltons decided to form their own gang. They were the last great bandit gang of the west. They specialised in train robbing but did it chivalrously, refusing to take money from women. In February 1891, they were caught robbing the Southern Pacific Train #17 in Alilia, CA. After escaping from jail they recruited some of the toughest, meanest, most unscrupulous gun men in the west. They robbed trains and express offices in Oklahoma and the surrounding area. At Adair, they killed and wounded several people.
In October 1893, they decided to return to Coffeyville and do something the James-Youngers never had - rob two banks at the same time. But it didn’t work. Despite the fact that they were false beards, they were quickly recognised. Townspeople spread the word the Daltons were in town. The Daltons wound up fighting people they knew: their schoolteachers, shopkeepers, bank clerks, and lawmen. At one o’clock, Bob, an expert shot, killed a bank clerk who had gone for his gun, then, running down a street, he next killed two of his childhood boot makers. He then killed a cashier from the First National Bank who had been chasing him. Then the livery stable owner surprised Bob and killed him with a shotgun blast. Marshall Charles Connelly, once Bob’s and Grant’s schoolteacher, killed Grant. Powell (alias Tim Evans) and Broadwell (alias Texas Jack) were killed by a volley fired by a group of men who had armed themselves at the town’s hardware store. Emmett was wounded in the same volley. He had been shot twenty times, but miraculously survived. Bill Dalton was killed with the Dollin gang in 1895. Emmett, released from prison in 1907, became a consultant in Hollywood and appeared in feature filmed. He died in 1937.