On May, 23 1894, famed outlaw Bill Dalton and three gang members, Jim Wallace and brothers Jim and Judd Nite, rode into Longview and robbed the First National Bank.
What ensued was one the Old West's biggest shootouts with some 200 shots fired by outlaws and townspeople who responded to the holdup.
In the downtown gunfight at Fredonia and Bank streets, residents George Buckingham and Charles Learned died in the battle. Wounded in the fight were: citizens Walter McQueen, T.J. Summers and City Marshal Matt Muckleroy. The marshal's life was saved when an outlaw's bullet struck a coin purse in his shirt pocket. Although seriously injured, Muckleroy eventually recovered.
When bandit Jim Wallace was killed by a citizen, Bill Dalton decided it was time to hightail it out of town. Dalton and the Nite brothers escaped with some $2,000 in bank notes and coins. Two weeks later, Dalton - America's best-known bandit in 1894 - was tracked down at a cabin in Oklahoma's Arbuckle Mountains and killed by a posse. Judd Nite later was killed in a Central Texas shootout; his brother Jim Nite was captured and sent to prison for his role in the Longview robbery.
In 1994, during the centennial year of the bank robbery, the Gregg County Historical Museum held its first Dalton Days event. That year, the museum formally dedicated its permanent Bill Dalton Bank Robbery exhibit; featuring photos, text, weapons, and even the 100 year old holdup note from the robbery. Appropriately, the Museum exhibit is housed in a former bank vault.
Since 1994, the Gregg County Historical Museum has continued to sponsor and host its Dalton Days celebration which features Wild West shows, blacksmith demonstrations, children's activities, concessions, and the famous Dalton Gang bank robbery re-enactment. It's a great event for the whole family as well as any history enthusiast. Stop by the museum and see the Dalton Days display.