This episode features the history of the Dalton brothers, and it packs a lot of action and history into its 21 minutes. Bat Masteron, now a reporter and former sheriff of Dodge City, Kan., helps the viewer to learn more about Gratton (“Grat”), Emmett, Bob, and Bill. Bill served as a spy and didn’t become violently involved in any robbery.
For those who didn’t know it, the Dalton brothers started out on the right side of the law. Oldest brother Frank was a lawman, and his brothers were his deputies when Frank was shot and killed in the line of duty. This one event turned the brothers toward crime, and especially when they weren’t paid for their duty and couldn’t get the pay owed to deceased brother Frank.
The brothers turned to robbing trains. They knew it was a violent undertaking. One brother plots a robbery and asks, “Have you ever heard of killing two birds with one stone?” His brother Emmett replies, “I just hope we ain’t the birds!”
The brothers tire of the criminal life, and brother Bob, the ringleader, talks of one last job and possibly living afterwards on a hacienda in Mexico. When they ride into Coffeyville they make a mistake, which Emmett says was the mistake of attempting robbing a bank in their own hometown. When they see the hitching posts are removed in town, that raises the eyebrows of at least one brother. They won’t have their horses close by but would have to flee out of the rear of the bank. We learn that new sidewalks were planned to be built which is why the hitching posts were temporarily removed.
The robbery leads to a big shoot-out with several people, both innocent and criminals, dying. However, brother Emmett lives to tell the tale to Bat Masterson. Marshal Conley was killed during the bank heist, as well as others, and Emmett comments, “I think about those men every day of my life. I think about them more than my own brothers (who died).” Emmett was only 21 when the plotted robbery took place, and he survived his own wound and was eventually released from prison. Amazingly, he went on to write and star in several Western films during the silent era. He encouraged young fans to always obey the law.
The episode has earned our Dove seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take
This fast-paced episode is sure to be enjoyed by family members who love history and the old West.