Bill Doolin was born in Arkansas and migrated west in 1881. He worked as a cowboy, joined the Dalton Gang and participated in three train robberies with them. After the Dalton Gang was wiped out by the citizens of Coffeyville, Kansas, Bill formed his own gang which included Bill Dalton (brother of the famous gang members). After a number of successful robberies, the peace officers Bill Tilghman, Heck Thomas and Chris Madsen were tracking him down. He was captured in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on January 15, 1896 by Bill Tilghman and brought back to Guthrie, Oklahoma. On July 5, 1896, he escaped. Heck Thomas with fellow officers found Bill and he died after receiving multiple shotgun blasts.
Bill was a cool, collective and some say dangerous man, but he stopped one of his gang members from shooting Bill Tilghman saying something to the effect that Bill was too good a man to shoot in the back.
If you have the Eagles album Desperado, the song Doolin-Dalton briefly describes his life and his meeting Bill Dalton. The lyrics are ...'till Bill Doolin met Bill Dalton....."
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Drawing by Richard Florence
Books About Bill Doolin
Bill Doolin: Outlaw O.T. by Colonel Bailey C. Hanes
This book remains the definitive (and only) biography of Bill Doolin. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, this book can be found in reprints.