The Doolin-Dalton Gang and the Legacy of Ingalls


Nestled just nine miles east of Stillwater, Oklahoma, lies the ghost town of Ingalls—a place that whispers tales of the Wild West and outlaw legends. Although Ingalls may no longer appear on state highway maps, its legacy remains vivid, echoing the daring escapades of the notorious Doolin-Dalton Gang and their ties to this small, historical community.

          Murray's Saloon in Ingalls

Murray's Saloon in Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory


The Doolin-Dalton Gang: Outlaws of the Oklahoma Territory

The Doolin-Dalton Gang, also known as the Wild Bunch or the Oklahombres, carved their names into the annals of American outlaw history during the 1890s. Formed from the remnants of the infamous Dalton Gang, this group was led by Bill Doolin and Bill Dalton and included notorious figures such as George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, Charlie Pierce, and "Tulsa Jack" Blake. Known for their audacious bank and train robberies across Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and the Oklahoma Territory, the gang became legendary for their long dusters and relentless pursuit of wealth at the expense of lawmen and wealthy institutions.

One of the gang's favorite hideouts was Ingalls, Oklahoma. This small town offered sanctuary to the outlaws, who were welcomed for their free-spending ways and their efforts to maintain peace within their hideaway. The gang's presence in Ingalls came to a dramatic head on September 1, 1893, in what would become known as the Battle of Ingalls.


The Battle of Ingalls

On that fateful morning, a posse of U.S. Marshals, led by Marshal Evett Dumas "E.D." Nix, descended upon Ingalls to capture the notorious outlaws. Despite being warned by a local boy, the gang members chose to remain in the town, engaging in a poker game at the Ransom Saloon. The ensuing gunfight was fierce and chaotic. George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb was wounded but managed to escape, while "Arkansas Tom" Jones, firing from his second-story hotel room, killed U.S. Deputy Marshal Thomas Hueston before being captured.

The clash left a mark on the town and its people—innocent bystander Young Simmons lost his life, and others, including the saloon bartender who allied with the outlaws, were injured or imprisoned. Although the gang won this battle, their victory was short-lived. Within a few years, all the outlaws involved had met violent deaths, most at the hands of lawmen.

       Bill Doolin   

Bill Doolin
     Dalton Brothers Bob, Bill and Grat
Dalton Brothers Bob, Bill and Grat


The Eagles' Song: "Doolin-Dalton"

The legacy of the Doolin-Dalton Gang extended beyond historical records into popular culture, immortalized by the rock band The Eagles in their song "Doolin-Dalton." Written by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, and J.D. Souther, this song became the opening track of the Eagles' second album, "Desperado." The album's Old West theme resonated with the tales of these outlaws, capturing the rugged and rebellious spirit of the frontier days.

The song narrates the saga of the gang, focusing on their transition from the Dalton Gang to the formation of the Doolin-Dalton Gang, highlighting their desire for revenge and their inevitable demise. "Doolin-Dalton" stands as a testament to the enduring fascination with the dramatic stories of the Wild West.

Back cover art from The Eagles Desperado album

Members of The Eagles and songwriters of their Doolin-Dalton song pose on the set of the music video.


     Eagles Doolin-Dalton Music Video Still

From The Eagles music video of Doolin-Dalton


Visiting Ingalls Today

Today, Ingalls is mostly a ghost town, its once-thriving community reduced to a few remaining households, deserted buildings and stone foundations. For those exploring Stillwater and its surroundings, a visit to Ingalls offers a tangible connection to the past—a glimpse into the rugged life of outlaws and the relentless pursuit of justice by lawmen. Visitors will find an interesting historical marker about the Doolin-Dalton Gang and the Ingalls Gunfight on Highway 51 about 6 miles east of the Payne County Expo Center.

Ingalls, though quiet and unassuming now, remains a significant piece of Oklahoma's history. It serves as a reminder of the tumultuous times of the Wild West and the infamous and colorful characters who shaped it. Just a short drive from Stillwater, the remnants of Ingalls beckon history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike to step back in time and experience the echoes of a bygone era.

So, whether you're a history buff, a fan of The Eagles, or simply looking for an intriguing place to visit near Stillwater, Ingalls offers a unique opportunity to step back in time. Explore the area, reflect on the legendary gunfight, and immerse yourself in the stories of the Doolin-Dalton Gang—a chapter of the Wild West that continues to captivate the imagination.

     Replica of the old Ingalls Hotel

Old Ingalls Hotel replica



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