The Dalton Gang & some local history [Archive] - Varmints Den

: The Dalton Gang & some local history

John in CA.
01-20-2007, 09:58 PM
In the spring of 1891 The Dalton brothers came to California, and robbed a train. When running from the law , they pointed their horses toward the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley, east of Fresno, and holed up on the side of this 3,511 ft. peak now named in their memory Dalton Mountain.

Private cattle ranches border up to the mountains base, but the mountain itself, as well as the western half of the base, are included in property that I currently have access to hunt. Recently I took a hike partway up an old trail carved on the surface of the west side, to look around. This picture was from about 900 ft. or 1/4 the way up, which is all I had time for that afternoon. The path is steep, rough and slow going most of the way. The view from the top would be breathtaking!

I also found this bobcat or cougar cave. Apparently, the Daltons weren't the only varmints to use this piece of rock as a hideout. The area reaked with the odor of cat urine. There were surprisingly quite a few flat spots, or small plateus, that go unnoticed when looking up from the base. Possibly I was standing on one that the Daltons had camped on 113 years ago. Back then, there was plenty of deer in this area, and trout in the nearby and -then undammed- Kings River. A man with good outdoor skills could survive a long time here, if needed.

The Dalton gang met their fate in Coffeyville, Kansas on October 5th, 1892 while attempting to rob two banks at the same time. Historians claim they were trying to etch their names in the history books as having done something Jesse James never did.

So, while they are long gone, 'their' mountain in Fresno county is probably very much the same as it was over a century ago.

01-20-2007, 10:51 PM
Neat,Pretty, open country, Good rifle country,Pretty hard to sneak up on somebody there on horseback.
Mike F.

Jim in Idaho
01-21-2007, 12:34 AM
John, did you know?.......The only brother to survive the raid they made on their own hometown of, as you said, Coffeyville KS, later became a screenwriter in Hollywood. Apparently, the major wound he recieved in his shoulder, during the gunbattle, never completely healed, and supporated the remainder of his life. IIRC, he lived into his early 70's.

Dr. Bubba
01-21-2007, 12:45 AM
I bet the wheels are turning on setting up for some cat calling. :)

Remind me to tell you some Wildbunch stories sometime.

Thanks for sharing,

01-21-2007, 09:57 AM
Everyone was always trying to outdo JESSE JAMES...I named my youngest son after old Jesse. (Is that Redneck enough for y'all Yankees?)

01-21-2007, 06:27 PM
I have been there with the kids and that is very unusual to see with all the surrounding flatness of central California.

01-22-2007, 06:06 PM
Spent a handful of weekends in college at the Dalton House in Coffeyville, Kansas-the local honky tonk named after the Dalton Gang. That mountain sure does look better than the Dalton House ever did.

01-22-2007, 09:10 PM
Good read and EXCELLENT photos again John!!! Thanks for the little history lesson.

01-25-2007, 12:02 PM
Thanks John,
Neat post and nice photos. I like reading post with a historical perspective. I wonder what our history will be 100 plus years from now.

John in CA.
01-25-2007, 12:48 PM
Gary, just in these last few years, Ive taken more of an interest in history , geology, and topography of the areas I spend so much time hunting. You never know what you will discover.

Thanks all for the kind words

01-25-2007, 04:29 PM
Gary, just in these last few years, Ive taken more of an interest in history , geology, and topography of the areas I spend so much time hunting. You never know what you will discover.

Thanks all for the kind words

Kudos, John. I hunt in El Dorado cty, and i've researched my hunting grounds. So much history. Narrow guage logging railroads, mining camps, old buildings, the Carson & Mormon Emigrant Trail. Good learning.

I came across a guy on ebay that deals in USGS topo maps from the 1950's. I bought several of them and have found all kinds of old foundations, roadbeds, mines, etc..

Anyways. Good reading. CA history is the greatest.

01-25-2007, 07:47 PM
If you ever get this far east, I'll take you to Coffeeville, the Condon Bank is still standing, there is a museum and brass markers on the streets where the Daltons and the townspeople fell. Two or three of the Daltons and one of the gang members are buried in the cemetary and the hitching rail they used is part of a marker. Great history in this part of the country. The Daltons were cousins of Frank and Jesse James.

Molon Labe