The Day Coffeyville Bled - The Dalton Johnson Gang

Chapter I - Coffeyville

         ďNever surrender! Die game!Ē were the words that echoed through the old manís brain as the engine to his motorcar coughed to a stop. The keys hanging from the ignition switch jiggled and banged on the metal dashboard as the rocking of the vehicle subsided. He reached across the front seat for the wooden cane he used for balance in these last years and grimaced with a slight searing pain in his left elbow caused by that simple stretching motion. The driverís door would not open easily, but with a hard enough shove, it finally gave way. He stepped from the interior of the vehicle, placing both feet steadily on the pavement. He had parked his car in the pre-designated space, which placed both he and the vehicle at right angles to and in front of the objects of his concern.
         His felt hat had been set and cocked just so before he drove out of the hotelís parking lot. The Kansas morning sun did not break the narrow shadow on his forehead to invade his grey eyes.
         Today was May 9, 1931. The place was Coffeyville, Kansas, and Emmett Dalton was about to relive all that that had carried him from one end of humanity to the other. He was here on a mission, albeit a private and personal endeavor, nonetheless important in its cause. He had come to this town some thirty-nine years after he and his brothers spilled blood for what they believed would become known as the greatest feat in history. That was then, and this was now.
         The Dalton Gang, as they were known, had designs on robbing two banks simultaneously. However, their plans had faltered from the beginning. In fact, from the very instant they stepped foot into town, a series of particular minute details began to fall apart. Before they could readjust and recover, they would pay the price of a culmination of coincidences. Yet, being led by the one person they were guided to believe in, there was no reason to comprehend the folly of their actions until the burned and smoking gunpowder began to clear the air and the bodies of the dead could be counted. It was then and only then that the abrupt end of the Dalton Gang had come and the beginning of another saga in western history was being written.
         Today, however, was different. There were no angry mobs challenging his right to live. There were no rifle-toting citizens ready to do him in at the slightest provocation. There was no more blood streaming down his back. The pain he suffered then only lingered in his mind, save the open sore in his right arm, which for almost four decades had continued to...(click here for more chapter previews)

Mark S. Pannill
P. O. Box 372
Waxahachie, Texas 75168

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